How healthy are you? It's written all over your face! Find out what your face is telling you about your well-being.
What Your Eyes Tell You
Optometrist Dr. Elise Brisco joins The Doctors to explain three common eye symptoms that could signify serious medical conditions.
• Dark under-eye circles may mean more than lack of sleep.
This common condition is often due to irritation from a runaway eyelash, pollen or cosmetics.
"If your eyes are persistently red, it could mean that they are being irritated or infected by makeup," Dr. Brisco says. "Every six months, you should change your eyeliner or mascara. And also, don't share makeup with your friends. Don't keep your makeup in your pocket, purse or car because heat can destroy the preservatives that keep bacteria from growing in the mascara."
Dr. Brisco also advises against overusing eye drops to keep eyes white, as doing so can mask underlying health problems.
If your eyes are red for longer than three days, or redness is confined to one area, this may indicate a severe infection. Be sure to consult your doctor about these symptoms.
Also known as pink eye, this common, highly contagious condition affects 10 percent of school-aged children. The main symptom of pink eye is an over-abundance of morning eye mucus that returns after wiping it away, as well as some redness. Be sure to examine symptoms carefully so as not to confuse it with normal morning eye discharge, also known as rheum.
"It's really contagious. If I see one child in my practice, usually several of their classmates will get it, then their parents get it, and even their pets," Dr. Brisco says. "If you suspect that your child has an eye infection, keep [him or her] home from school."
Tips For Avoiding Pink Eye:
• Teach children not to wipe their eyes after wiping their noses.
• Wear goggles while swimming, in case the pool is contaminated.
• Take doctor-prescribed antibiotic drops for the full seven days.
"A nice warm compress will ease the swelling and help get rid of that mucus," pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says.
E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork also advises against using contact lenses if you have an eye infection, as it can worsen symptoms, prolong the healing process and re-infect the eyes.
White Ring Around the Iris
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that builds up in the blood stream, including the blood vessels that surround the eyes. A white ring around each iris, the colored part of the eye, can indicate cholesterol deposits, which may mean high cholesterol levels in the body. If you have excessive cholesterol, it can be lowered through diet, exercise and medications if necessary. If the white ring is only in one eye, this could mean an arterial blockage and may be a sign of an impending stroke.
"Whenever I see this ring around the eye, I tell the patient to get a physical exam and get [his or her] cholesterol checked," Dr. Bresco says. "This is a warning sign that there is a health problem."
Plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon explains that the blood vessels in the nose are hypersensitive. Nosebleeds can occur due to a rich blood supply in the superficial mucus membranes, making them highly susceptible to drying out and bleeding. As we age, our blood vessels become more rigid and sensitive to dryness, making nosebleeds more frequent as we mature. Overusing nasal sprays can irritate the mucosa and thin it to the point of bleeding. To treat dryness in the nose, use non-medicated saline nasal spray or petroleum jelly.
Frequent nosebleeds can also signify serious health conditions including leukemia, lymphoma, problems with clotting, hypertension and high blood pressure, so be sure to consult your doctor if you're experiencing an abnormal rate of nosebleeds.
Tips for Stopping a Bloody Nose
When suffering from a bloody nose, do not hold your head back. Lean forward, pinch your nose and hold it for at least five minutes to stop the bleeding.
• Does your child suffer from frequent nosebleeds?
Avoid Common First-Aid Mistakes
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• Save a life with an AED.
• Learn how to fashion an emergency tourniquet.
• The Doctors emergency tips.