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Physical Traits Give Clues About Your Health Risks

There are many things we can do to enhance our health and prevent illness. Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, limiting your alcohol intake, and reducing your stress can add years to your life. Who knew that your appearance and physical characteristics such as finger length and your sense of smell could let you know what health risks you might be prone to? Check out the list below from Prevention magazine.

  • Finger length: For women, if your index finger is shorter than your ring finger, then it means you have double the risk of osteoarthritis of the knee. If yours is longer or even with your ring finger, you're in the clear, but if it's not, do exercises to strengthen your knees, such as squats and lunges. Arthritis and finger length are both related to low levels of estrogen, so that's why the two are connected.
  • Arm length: Extend your arms in T-position out to the sides and measure the distance form fingertip to fingertip. If the distance is less than 60 inches, you're at a higher risk for Alzheimer's. So do activities that stimulate your brain and your body. Take a painting class, learn to play a musical instrument, play chess, or take dance lessons.

There's more, so keep reading.

  • Small calves: Women with calves that measure less than 13 inches around have a higher risk of stroke. One thing you can do is drink green tea daily.
  • Length of legs: Women with short legs have a higher risk of developing liver disease, so if you're concerned, limit your alcohol consumption.
  • Wrinkle in your ear: If you have a linear wrinkle in your ear lobe, which starts on the back of your ear lobe and runs across, then you have an increased risk for a heart attack, bypass surgery, or cardiac death. So do all you can to take care of your ticker by doing cardio regularly, getting your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked by your doctor, eating foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Sense of smell: If you can't identify foods by their smell, you have five times the risk of being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the next four years. So protect your brain by getting enough omega-3s.

I'm not sure about the science behind these physical forecasters of long term health, but it is interesting. According to this list, what are you at risk for? Share in the comments section below.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I wonder how many of these "studies" are really just correlations that have absolutely no real merit? I'm also petite and have short legs/arms. Guess I'm screwed...even though all the short people in my family have never had liver disease. My grandpa, our only family member who had Alzheimer's, was very tall so I guess that theory is out the window.
esweet esweet 7 years I'm 5'1 and agree with all the petite ladies that just posted - basically I'm screwed?
syako syako 7 years
60 inches is 5 feet.
Allytta Allytta 7 years
60 inches in very small distance, even small people have longer arms than that. so relax short ladies :D jeez.
Allytta Allytta 7 years
also crooked fingers mean you have down syndrome or other mental disability gene in you (i can't remember for sure, they thought us that in our gene engineering class)
jgulli3 jgulli3 7 years
I feel like this is all fake
Chrstne Chrstne 7 years
I don't think this is very true. All the short, skinny people of the world are pretty much as good as diseased according to this.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I think this is just one of those silly statistical studies that enters a bunch of different data and tries to make a correlation when there's no evidence of a cause/effect relationship. I'm sorry - I have a bad sense of smell but I'm not going to get Parkinsons in the next 4 years. I have not been able to smell barely anything in the past decade and that's due to allergies. It's not an indicator that I'm more at risk for parkinson.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
zeze zeze 7 years
Question: about the estrogen and index finger link: does more estrogen lead shorter index or less estrogen lead to smaller index? Anyone know?
imLissy imLissy 7 years
I'm 5', so ... I'm screwed?
poissondujour poissondujour 7 years
It seems pretty alarmist to me... According to this, I'm at risk for just about everything. I'm pretty suspicious of articles that rely on statistical correlations like this.
TAjunkie TAjunkie 7 years
This list seems a bit ridiculous. Any petite woman is at risk of developing Alzheimer's, stroke, and/or liver disease? Really? At 5'2" I'm one of the taller women in my family, so it looks like we're all SOL. I'm not really sure I understand the ear lobe thing, and according to the last bit of info I'm long overdue for Parkinson's disease. I've had a lousy sense of smell my whole life.
zeze zeze 7 years
My index is a lot shorter than my ring...and I have terriblw knees...I can't make it through 20 squats. And it's not based on height, my sister doesn't have this and she is shorter than me.
thedingo thedingo 7 years
At which angle is it supposed to be measured? Straight on, my left index finger is shorter than my ring, but the opposite is true of my right, and dominant, hand. So which would it be for me? Also, I already have bad knees, torn meniscus', two surgeries, tendonitis...
2muchtv 2muchtv 7 years
According to this, I'm at risk for osteoarthritis (I knew this already, my mom has it), Alzheimer's (not really, I eat turmeric everyday), stroke (although I already know this, family history), and liver disease (sux being short). Even if this is all pseudoscience, it at least brings awareness that there's something we can do NOW, with a healthy lifestyle, to prevent many of these conditions.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
"I thought the distance from arm to arm is actually your height. Is that not true? I seem to remember that from something..." Yes, I read that somewhere, too. I think it relates to the Golden Ratio. Anyways, this article is interesting.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
I would like to see some sort of scientific study....
kimmieb124 kimmieb124 7 years
I don't know the science behind this stuff, but my index finger is slightly shorter than my ring finger and I've already major problems with my knees in spite of strength training for years.
syako syako 7 years
Don't forget small calves! :P That's what I was thinking weffie, why don't they just say that?
petites-mains petites-mains 7 years
Short arms, short legs, small I guess us petite women are pretty much screwed, huh?
weffie weffie 7 years
Syako, I've heard that too & it's true for me... so basically, if you're under 5' tall you're at a higher risk?
sheena sheena 7 years
I wonder what proof there is to this? Prevention Magazine doesn't sound very evidence based (just like Time)...
syako syako 7 years
Wow, random. My index finger is shorter than my ring finger. I do have a question though, I thought the distance from arm to arm is actually your height. Is that not true? I seem to remember that from something...
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