What Your Hands Could Be Telling You About Your Lung Health

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

Traditional respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, shortness of breath, or chest discomfort, are frequently present in lung disorders. Yet, according to experts, your lungs may impact other organs in your body as well, some of which you may not realize.

For example, your hands may reveal surprising signs about your pulmonary health. Read on to learn about additional subtle symptoms to watch out for, as well as how your hands can signal trouble with your lungs.

1.Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a kind of autoimmune condition that results in inflammation in the joints. RA sufferers frequently have stiffness, pain, and swelling in their wrist and hand, as well as other body parts such as the eyes, lungs and heart.


There are no definite factors that cause RA, but scientists have identified a few genes that may be responsible for the disorder.

According to experts, having rheumatoid arthritis increases your risk of certain lung disorders. Interstitial lung disease, lung nodules, pleural disease, and minor airway restriction are the most prevalent lung disorders linked to rheumatoid arthritis, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis and experience any unexpected breathing difficulties, contact your physician promptly, Mayo Clinic specialists recommend.

Treatment may be focused on the rheumatoid arthritis. In some situations, the immune system is suppressed with medicine or fluid around the lungs is removed via surgery. If you are over 65 years of age, have asthma, or respiratory problems caused by smoking, your doctor may also consider lung function tests.

2.Finger clubbing

When the tip of a finger swells as a result of extra soft tissue beneath the nail beds, it is referred to as finger clubbing. Most finger clubbing cases are linked to lung cancer, according to Mount Sinai. Other lung disorders, such as persistent lung infections and interstitial lung disease, may also induce clubbing.

Infectious endocarditis (an infection of the heart muscle lining), liver illness, or an overactive thyroid are rare non-lung causes that may be responsible. Bring it to your doctor’s attention if you notice your fingers have become rounded and bulbous at the tips, or if your fingernails have changed shape.


3. Blue nail beds

Pulmonary hypertension occurs when blood pressure increases in the lungs’ arteries because of the narrowing of blood vessels. Some patients who experience pulmonary hypertension develop heart failure as the right ventricle of the heart weakens under the strain of elevated blood pressure.

When blood pressure in the lungs’ arteries rises due to narrowed blood vessels, pulmonary hypertension occurs. The right ventricle of the heart weakens under the strain high blood pressure. Some patients with pulmonary hypertension may progress to heart failure.

Your likelihood of pulmonary hypertension can be assessed by looking for a blue tint in the nail beds, according to the Cleveland Clinic. This discoloration is linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and may develop as a consequence of decreased oxygen in the bloodstream if pulmonary hypertension worsens.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a type of lung disease that causes airflow limitation. As COPD worsens, the air sacs in the lungs may over-expand and eventually break down. This can lead to a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream and an increased risk for developing complications such as pulmonary hypertension that could be life-threatening.

4.Poor grip strength

Cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, exhaustion, and chest tightness are just a few of the symptoms that can occur with COPD. Meanwhile, some doctors believe you may detect another sign in your hands: reduced grip strength.

Around 72% of individuals with COPD experience this symptom, while 28% do not, according to a 2021 research published in the BMC Pulmonary Medicine journal.


Within a year of the study’s start, those with decreased grip strength were 3 times more likely to seek treatment for their COPD symptoms in the emergency room than those with normal grip strength. This implies that as COPD progresses, grip strength in many patients decreases.

5.Pain and swelling

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease triggered by unknown causes. The lymph nodes become enlarged and persistently enlarged, so they look like a mass under the skin. Patients with sarcoidosis may also experience a characteristic set of arthritis-like symptoms that worsen if untreated.

In sarcoidosis, microscopic clusters of inflammatory cells (granulomas) develop in any region of your body, particularly the lungs and lymph nodes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Dry coughing, shortness of breath, and feeling tired are among the most common symptoms.

Sarcoidosis affects different parts of the body besides the lungs. It is linked to the development of cysts in the hands, feet, and other bone regions of the body, which may cause discomfort and swelling. If you experience any of the following or similar symptoms, speak with your doctor.