Hairless Feet or Toes
While our culture encourages women to get rid of every last hair not on their head, hairless feet or toes are actually a red flag for vascular disease, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks! Ordinarily, of course, your legs have hair. Beneath the skin, hair follicles are kept alive by the blood flowing through your veins and arteries. When you gain weight, over time, your cholesterol level rises and plaque builds up in arteries, clogging them up and cutting off blood flow. As a result, all the little blood vessels under the skin die off, killing hair follicles. If you notice shiny, hairless skin around your feet, it may indicate plaque buildup, which could eventually lead to a deadly heart condition.

Fortunately, you can often stop or even reverse the build-up of plaque in your arteries with proper diet and exercise. Be sure to consult with your doctor.

Bumped Toes
While you're down checking your feet for hair, linger an extra moment to check your toes; toes that bump upward at the tips could indicate lung cancer. Known as "digital clubbing," if you notice an elevated bump between your toe's knuckle and nail, it means oxygen isn't getting delivered properly throughout your body, and could indicate disease of the lung or the heart. Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you notice this.

Hearing Loss
Many of us assume hearing loss is an inevitable part of life, but it's actually the number-one red flag you're aging too fast, and can be a sign of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease. As you probably know, the brain has multiple "centers" that control different bodily functions: One part controls sight, another part controls smell, another stores memory, one controls hearing, and so on. One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease is the formation of plaques on the brain, located between nerve cells. These plaques cause neurons in the brain to stop functioning properly, making it unable to send all the signals it wants. As a result, your various brain centers begin to shut down. Thus the hearing center's ceasing to function may be directly linked to the formation of the plaques associated with Alzheimer's. To make matters worse, as hearing ability decreases, our ability to function in daily life decreases as well, contributing to further mental decline.

While doctors don't have a cure for Alzheimer's just yet, you can start protecting your hearing right now by taking 300 mg of magnesium a day. According to a recent study, oral magnesium treatment has been shown to reduce the incidence of temporary and permanent noise-induced hearing loss. Studies have also shown the benefits of keeping an active brain through reading or doing crossword puzzles or brain games. Break out an interesting book or finish that Sudoku puzzle. Your brain's health could depend on it.

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