Many chronic diseases and health issues don’t just affect a particular part of your body. Sometimes, the affected organ can spread the damage to the rest of your body, inside and out. Certain conditions don’t directly cause harm but call for lifestyle changes that’ll also affect your entire body. And lastly, certain types of medications can also cause a change in your appearance.
Basically, everything that happens inside your body reflects on the outside. Give your body bad food, and it’ll retain toxins that can ruin your skin. On the contrary, give it good food, and you’ll constantly glow.
But in some cases, the physical changes you experience don’t result from your unhealthy habits. So without further ado, here are some health conditions that can alter your physical appearance:
1. Oral Health Issues
The health of your mouth can affect the health of your whole body. The mouth-to-body connection explains the series of effects that can result from a seemingly minor mouth problem. For example, bacteria can build up inside your mouth if you don’t brush your teeth twice a day. That bacteria will then make your gums susceptible to infection. And if infection occurs, inflammation will follow. Left untreated, the inflammation can eat away at your gums and the bone structure that holds your teeth together. This condition is called periodontitis, a.k.a. severe gum disease.
Periodontitis can alter your appearance if you have a high risk for diabetes. Inflammation in the mouth can weaken your body’s ability to control blood sugar, which is the problem of diabetic people. And if you’re already required to undergo insulin therapy, you might gain weight as a side effect.
The most common oral health issue that affects physical appearance is, of course, misaligned teeth. But it doesn’t just result in an imperfect smile. Misaligned teeth, especially crowded ones, also affect your jaws, causing a noticeably asymmetrical face. Luckily, it’s nothing braces can’t fix. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of wearing metal in your mouth, invisible braces are a good alternative.
2. Skin Disorders
Without a doubt, skin disorders will cause the most obvious change in your physical appearance. Common skin disorders include acne, hives, cold sores, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.
Acne is usually associated with hormonal fluctuations teens experience, but adults can have acne, too. It can grow on different parts of your body, and severe cases require dermatological treatment.
Hives are itchy raised welts that emerge due to an allergic reaction. There are also chronic hives, which appear for no identifiable cause. They last on the body between six weeks and several months or years.
Cold sores often appear near the mouth and lips, causing a tingling or burning sensation before developing into a red, fluid-filled blister. It may be accompanied by mild, flu-like symptoms.
Rosacea affects the face and is a chronic skin condition that comes and goes. Spicy food, sunlight exposure, alcoholic beverages, stress, and intestinal bacteria can trigger it, causing facial flushing with red bumps and dry patches.
Eczema is also red skin patches but is itchy, greasy, and scaly. The affected area can also lose hair.
Psoriasis, lastly, are also scaly but with more defined patches that look almost silver. It typically appears on the elbows, scalp, knees, and lower back, causing itch or no pain.
There are also more severe skin disorders, such as skin cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, causes red patches that can swell into a bump that bleeds and doesn’t easily heal. Melanoma, another type of skin cancer, is more serious and can start from a malignant mole, which will grow bigger over time.
Any cancer can alter your physical appearance, both because of the illness itself and the treatment. Chemotherapy can cause hair loss, scarring, swelling, and functional impairment, affecting your body image.
4. Learning Disabilities
Surprisingly, learning disabilities can also affect your appearance. Research found that people with a learning disability are more likely to become obese. Hence, dance and movement therapies are encouraged among people with this condition to increase body awareness and well-being. The research still needs more development, though.
5. Mental Health Disorders
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders also reflect on your physical appearance. Since poor mental health can encourage unhealthy habits, such as sleep deprivation, smoking, drugs, and alcohol, your body may take the toll of those activities and lose its glow. Worse, it can suffer the adverse effects of those habits and lead to a more serious disease.
Beauty on the outside is fed by good inner health. So if you treasure your physical appearance, start by taking care of your organs. Nothing grand is required; consume a well-balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly. Practicing those three habits every day will boost your health and beauty in a way no amount of cosmetic enhancements can.