Take the hint

Give yourself a good once-over-notice any quirks? Your body may be warning you of illness.
Health1 Takethehint

Clue: Earlobe Creases

It could mean: Heart disease

Back in 1991, a study in The American Journal of Medicine found that participants with a diagonal crease in at least one earlobe were more likely to die from heart disease than those whose earlobes did not bear creases. The report caught national attention at the time, but studies reported since then have produced mixed results.

One possible explanation for the link is a lack of elastin, which con- tributes to hardening of the arteries, but the connection may simply be due to the fact that earlobe creases are more common later in life, says Andres Mesa, M.D., a cardiologist at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston. "Whenever you age you're prone to have more hypertension, hyperlipidemia and other complications," he adds.

What to do: Get regular checkups. "Earlobe creases can serve as a reminder that you're getting older and you should pay more attention to heart-disease risk factors," says Dr. Mesa.

Clue: Dark Under-Eye Circles

It could mean: Allergies

"When you have significant hay fever you experience a change in blood flow to the nose and sinuses," says James Li, M.D., allergist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "As the blood expands in some of the veins in the face, it can appear as a
dark or bluish tint under the eyes."

What to do: If your dark circles are accompanied by other hay-fever symptoms (sneezing, coughing, congestion), consider purchasing an over-the-counter antihistamine or seeing your doctor for an allergy test.

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