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10 Lip Symptoms To Warn You Of Health Problems

Laughing girl with a butterfly on his nose.


We love our lips for happy smiles, loving kisses and much more. But our lips can also tell us when something might be wrong with our health.

Here are ten ways in which our lips can speak to us

1. Blue lips or blue fingernails can be one of the symptoms of an asthma attack along with: severe wheezing when breathing both in and out; coughing with asthma that won't stop; very rapid breathing; chest pain or pressure; tightened neck and chest muscles; difficulty talking; feelings of anxiety or panic; pale, sweaty face; or worsening symptoms despite the use of medications. An asthma attack is a sudden worsening of asthma symptoms caused by the tightening of muscles around your airways (a bronchospasm). During this attack, the lining of the airways also becomes swollen or inflamed when thicker mucus is produced leading to difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and even some difficulty in performing normal daily tasks.

2. Burning lips can be a sign of depression. With all the sensory equipment in the brain, the lips can become overly sensitive when there is a psychological imbalance.

3. Chapped lips (when they are persistently sore and chapped) can be an indication of an allergy. This can swell the lips slightly, which causes the skin to crack and peel. The cause of such an allergy can vary from person to person. For example, the irritant could be anything lipstick, peanuts or even the gloves that your dentist uses on your 6 monthly visits. You will need to get to the bottom of what is causing the allergy and if necessary, this can be determined from an allergy test.

4. Cold sores are usually a sign of a weakened immune system when the herpes virus (which will lie dormant in your system) is reactivated. The virus is very contagious and once you have it in your system, it will remain there for life. You may need to make lifestyle changes to boost your immune system, while treating the cold sore itself.

5. Cracked lips can be a sign of different conditions. When they appear at the side of the mouth they can sometimes be due to anemia and a shortage of iron in the body. In addition, cracks can also be a sign of diabetes. The high level of blood glucose which accompanies the diabetes encourages the growth of candida, a yeast-like infection which typically attacks the thin dermis at the corners of the mouth. Cracked lips can also be a sign that your diet is low in the B vitamins.

6. Pale lips, or lips that take on a bluish tone instead of healthy deep pink, can be a sign of heart conditions and lung problems as these can both affect the amount of oxygen being carried in the blood so that the level drops, leading to a change in the color of the lips. Pale pink lips are another common side effect of anemia and a possible shortage of iron in the body.

7. Pale, dusky or blue lips can be an early warning symptom of the presence of meningitis or septicaemia in children. Often these conditions have non-specific symptoms such as just feeling or looking generally unwell. Along with the color of the lips, other symptoms may include having a high temperature, being more tired than usual, feeling sick, severe leg pains which can even prevent a child from standing or walking; and cold hands or feet even when they have a high temperature.

8. Red aura around the lips is another symptom of an allergy especially in the case of a high consumption of sodas or an allergy to the benzoic acid content of toothpaste.

9. Swollen lips can be a strong indicator of poor health. Although swollen lips are sometimes caused by Crohn's disease (which normally causes swelling in the bowel but can inflame the lymph ducts at any point in the body), swollen lips can be an indication of a food sensitivity.

10. Scaly, crusted lips are sometimes known as lick eczema. The skin on the lips can be come dryer than other skin areas because they contain fewer sebaceous glands. If children or adults lick their lips excessively they dry out the few oils that are present, leaving the tissue and area around the mouth dry and vulnerable to infections. Discourage any licking and keep the area moist with a frequent application of Vaseline or your own natural jelly.

Look after this vulnerable area of your skin – the lips – by drinking plenty of water to moisturize them from the inside while keeping them well lubricated at all times including at bedtime.



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