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If You Notice This on Your Body, Test Your Blood, Say Doctors

Pay attention to these five things on your body, an expert says.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

Our bodies are incredibly powerful and can be very communicative, but only if we choose to listen. Often we ignore or overlook the signs of a problem. Not paying attention to what our bodies tell us can be dangerous—and sometimes deadly. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, Ph.D., a professor of public health at New Mexico State University, who explains why you should have your blood checked if you notice certain things on your body. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Change in Skin Color

Jaundice patient with yellowish discoloration of skin in comparison with Normal Skin color.
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"Color of skin is key," says Dr. Khubchandani. "If there is a major change in skin color, this could be indicative of a disease. For example, in jaundice, the skin turns yellow in all parts of the body, and such a color change needs blood testing. Other diseases showing changes in skin color can range from infectious to autoimmune diseases to life-threatening conditions like poisoning."

2

Skin Irritations

Woman Scratching an itch
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"Infections can cause a variety of changes in the body that are both visible on the skin and not visible," says Dr. Khubchandani. "For example, change in skin color accompanied by itching, irritation, pain, redness, or scaling can be signs of fungal, bacterial, or viral infection (like herpes or cellulitis). A blood test is often the most common diagnostic test ordered." 

3

Abnormal Growths

Girl with birthmarks on the neck
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"While the color of skin remains a key indicator of diseases and the need for a blood test, there are other signs in the body and skin that may need a blood test," says Dr. Khubchandani. "These could include abnormal growths in the skin (e.g. moles, warts, cysts, tags, lumps, etc.). A blood test is needed to ensure that these are not cancerous growths, what blood cells look like, or if there are other problems occurring simultaneously. As skin cancer is among the most common types of cancer, such growths should be assessed carefully."

4

Excessive Sweating

woman suffering from heat stroke
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"Certain other signs such as excessive sweat, moist or dry skin, pigmentation, or noticeable changes in skin texture/elasticity may require a blood test as these changes could be indicative of a wide variety of diseases, such as infection, thyroid disorders, heart disease, or hormonal disorders," says Dr. Khubchandani.

5

Swelling

Pitting edema on patient leg primary sign of heart disease or heart failure and this case edema from drug allergy, diclofenac oral drug, side effects of drugs
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"Last but not least, swelling in any part of the body should be considered seriously," says Dr. Khubchandani. "Swelling could indicate a variety of problems ranging from acute injuries to animal bites to chronic diseases and many of these conditions need blood tests to rule out distinct conditions or syndromes. Swelling of legs and arms for example could be due to kidney damage, liver failure, or heart disease."

He adds: "Certain swellings are medical emergencies as well. One such prevalent problem related to swelling in the body is edema. In edema, the blood that filters out of the vascular system does not get back into the vascular system, and the fluid is trapped in body tissues. This is often a very visible swelling in the legs, arms, ankles, feet, or face. It is a normal occurrence in pregnancy but otherwise, it could indicate serious problems if it is widespread and accompanied by symptoms such as difficulty breathing and chest pain (e.g. heart failure, liver cirrhosis, or chronic renal failure)."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more
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