Before diving into a deeper discussion of all the clues our eyes give us, I wanted to issue a call to action. ⏰Do you have an ophthalmologist (MD) or doctor of Optometry (OD) that you see annually? Remember that the application of knowledge is not only power… it is also where wisdom is born. As is the case with regular lab work (which we will discuss at some point!), having professional insight into the health of your sight organs 👀provides invaluable clues to help you manage the rest of your body, thereby perhaps avoiding consequences later in life. When you go to your appointments, do not be shy about asking questions and taking notes! Additionally, any abrupt changes in the eyes should warrant an ASAP trip to your eye professional. If you have a relationship with yours, they will be more likely to see you quickly in cases of urgent need.
Secondly, be aware that any💊 medication 💊that affects neurological function may also affect vision and cause changes throughout the eye, including the cornea, optic nerve, lens, macula and retina. Some of these changes may be gradual or nearly instant and some may be temporary while others can lead to permanent vision impairment. I won’t be able to list all the medications because there are so many! If you suspect a medication may be partially responsible for an eye disturbance, do some digging and then talk to your doctor.
With that…. Let’s start unpacking more clues!
👀The appearance of slightly bulging eyes is a significant clue for a possible overactive thyroid that is also called Graves disease. Frequently, this disorder is ignited by exposure to environmental toxins in the home, workplace or in the water. Latent viruses such as Epstein Barr have also been implicated in playing a role in developing a chronically inflamed thyroid (leading to either hyper or hypo thyroid manifestation).
👀Another easy to spot clue from the peepers is a gray or whitish ring that is clearly visible around the cornea. The cornea is the lens that covers the “colored” part of the eyeball. Evidence of this ring usually indicates unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels and is a marker for increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
👀Droopy eyelids (ptosis) may be a be a genetic issue, especially if present at birth.
Eyelids that become droopy are the clue for this discussion. Medical conditions that can lead to droopy eyelids include:
👉Injury/trauma to head or eye
👉Decreased blood flow to either the eye or the area of the brain controlling the eye (a droopy eye may be an early stroke sign)
👉Diabetes. Remember that diabetes quietly becomes a vascular disease if not controlled.
👉Headache syndromes. (a visible manifestation of the headache)
👉Myasthenia gravis. A droopy eyelid is often the first symptom of this autoimmune disease that is most commonly seen in people over the age of 50. It may be accompanied by occasional double vision, a hoarse voice, or weakness in the arms and legs.
👀Optic neuropathy simply means damage, disease, or dysfunction of the optic nerve. It may be caused by toxin exposure, infection, an autoimmune disorder, chronic inflammation, trauma, glaucoma, insufficient blood flow to the optic nerve, or use of certain medications including those used for erectile dysfunction and amiodarone, a medication used to control heart rhythm. Symptoms of optic neuropathy include pain in the face or eye socket, pain inside the eye, loss of peripheral vision, or sudden or gradual vision loss. Ophthalmologists and OD’s can detect inflammation of the optic nerve on routine eye exams. #makeanannualeyeappointment
👀Eyes that are painful, red and sensitive to light gives a vast set of possibilities. Given how “screen focused” our culture is, know that computer eye syndrome is a real thing! Give yourself regular breaks from screen time, and use blue light filter glasses when you are spending hours at a time in front of a computer or phone screen. Unmanaged, this can lead to eye strain or dry eyes. Wearing contact lenses for too long may have a similar effect.
👀If screens are not your eyes source of issue, other causes may need to be investigated. Chronic redness in the sclera (the white part of the eye) is linked to systemic inflammation throughout the entire body, and indicate a possible autoimmune disorder (ex: RA, psoriasis, or ankylosing spondylitis). If light sensitivity is accompanied by “halos” around light sources, get checked for glaucoma!
👀If your eyes sting, burn, or feel “gritty”, chances are, you are experiencing dry eyes. In fact, we have all probably had brief episodes of dry eyes after riding a bike, spent too much time in front of a computer, lived in an area with dry winter heat, or been on a plane for many hours in low humidity recirculated air. Chronic dry eyes have been linked to an autoimmune disorder called Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid disorders, Vitamin A deficiency, or taking certain medications known to cause dry eyes as a side effect. 💊Antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, beta blockers (heart/blood pressure), certain antibiotics, ibuprofen, birth control pills, and meds for bladder control💊 are some of the more common culprits.
👀Rapid onset eye inflammation / sensitivity is often a clue indicating infection or inflammation.
👀Blurred vision is another clue to take seriously. While the clue may be manifesting as an inconvenient or annoying visual impairment, dangerously high blood pressure or high blood sugar are causing problems quietly elsewhere in the body. An estimated 73% of diabetic patients have bouts of blurred vision. High blood sugar causes the lens within the eye to swell, causing the blurring. Certain medications may also contribute to blurred vision:
💊Alendronate (for osteoporosis/ osteopenia)
💊COX-2 inhibitors such as Celebrex and Mobic (for pain and inflammation)
💊Acetaminophen, ranitidine (stomach acid), and lovastatin (cholesterol) are just three very common medications that also carry warnings about their potential to blur vision.
👀Red itchy “allergy” eyes may indeed be allergy related. However, the same symptoms also occur in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Approximately 1.3 million Americans have this autoimmune disorder. The immune system begins attacking body tissue, and its focus is generally tissue heavily laden in collagen. The sclera (the white part of the eye) and the cornea are made up almost entirely of collagen, and the inflammation there mimics allergen exposure.
👀An eye twitch can be ever so bothersome, yet it’s an important clue too. Check yourself…. They are generally related to fatigue or stress. It may be time to rest and recover! Chronic eye twitching should signal a visit to a health professional as it can be an early sign of a neurological disorder.
👀Yellowed eyes are a sign that the liver is struggling… a classic sign of jaundice. This is another ASAP health professional moment.
👀“Floaters” are gray or black specks, strings or cobwebs that appear in vision. If you suddenly notice floaters, contact your eye specialist immediately. Certain medications are known to cause floaters. 💊, diphenhydramine (antihistamine), diltiazem (blood pressure), amitriptyline (mood), and alprazolam(anxiety)💊 are among those known to cause this.
As I write, I’m reminded again of the impact that chronic toxin exposure has on our bodies… all the way up to our eyeballs! The liver and other detoxifying organs do their level best to keep us healthy, but they are not miracle workers. We have to claim ownership and do our part by avoiding toxins wherever possible by making a conscious effort to exercise, drink plenty of clean water, get plenty of sleep, manage our stress, and eat healthy clean food. So much medication 💊(a class of toxins all its own) may be avoided by caring for ourselves this way.
What conscious decisions did you make today that decreased your toxin load?🙌 I chose to use YL body care products in the shower this morning and YL Cinnafresh deodorant before I put my clothes👖👕 on. I brushed my teeth with fluoride free YL Thieves Aromabright toothpaste, and bypassed an impending headache by using peppermint 🌿on the roof of my mouth. I finished out my time in the bathroom by avoiding some of the worst toxins☠️ in our homes….. standard American cosmetics. The Savvy Minerals makeup line is not only gorgeous and long lasting, it is liver friendly too!
You are worth taking care of!
Thanks for making it easy Young Living!
The Colon: Trouble Down Under Part I
We’ve arrived at the end of the digestive tract. 😍 The amazing and infinitely special colon is really where my own health “awakening” began about 20 years ago. Connecting clues that lead to the true status of your colon may very well also reveal a great deal about overall physical and emotional health.
As Hippocrates said (paraphrased!)….. “If your colon ain’t happy, neither will you be.”
It’s true. 60-70 million people in the USA have digestive disorders that most often originate from colon dysfunction.
👩⚕️What if you also were to add in the 43.8 million who visit the doctor annually for emotional health or sleep pattern issues whose root cause is digestive dysfunction?
👩⚕️……. Or the 30 million who have chronic inflammation of bones and joints as a side symptom of colon inflammation?
👩⚕️…….. Or the 50+ million (and growing!) who suffer from an autoimmune disease thanks to a leaky gut?
Those numbers are staggering. Roughly HALF of the population in the USA has an official diagnosis (dysfunction) whose root cause could be traced back to gut dysfunction.
And friends…… this doesn’t even include the people who don’t poop WELL 2-3 times a day, regularly…….because they consider it “normal” for them. #toxinoverload
I’ve just given you an ENORMOUS pile 💩 of health clues you can use with those statistics alone. If you aren’t pooping, bigger things lay on the horizon (if they haven’t already begun expressing themselves subtly).
Here at the tail end of the alimentary canal, we need to go back to the beginning……. all the way back to babyhood….. because that’s where your health story began!
EARLY YEARS GUT HEALTH QUIZ
Give yourself one point for answering each one of these questions “yes”. This might be a good time to phone your mama if you aren’t sure of your answers!
1.I was a preemie
2.I was born C-section
3.I was formula fed
4.I had reflux pretty badly as a baby
5.I was a sickly little kid and was on 3 or more rounds of antibiotics and supportive medication before I started kindergarten.
6.I grew up on fast food, processed packaged food, and can’t recall eating that many fruits and veggies.
7.I missed school fairly regularly in elementary school due to illness.
8.I spent most of my time indoors growing up
9. I had lots of allergies as a kid (and perhaps still do!)
10. I didn’t receive any probiotics or probiotic based foods on a regular basis that I can recall.
For each “yes”, the odds of living with a colon in need of TLC as an adult rises.
You see, we have roughly 3-4 lbs of bacteria within us, the largest portion found within the colon. Literally, our bacteria outnumber us cellularly 10:1. They are the “voting majority” in our bodies, and have the ability to perform many functions, including turning our body’s genetic expression on and off. It is extraordinarily important that the good bacteria be there to help us fight off unhealthy over-colonization of “bad” bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeasts. Over- colonization of the “bad guys” will eventually affect the body and mind in a negative way if not controlled.
Research has shown conclusively that the colonized bacteria we have in our guts by the age of 2 years strongly influences our health for the rest of our lives.
Things happen, and as babies, we obviously have no control over our own lives, but just knowing the answers to the above questions may help piece together why you may have struggled in other areas of your life both physically and emotionally. Thankfully, there are things we can do to support and help our guts heal!
This conversation will be continued….. but for now…. Do you poop daily? 💩If you do not….. This is the biggest clue of all clues!
*Important tools I strongly encourage for supporting a healthy gut are Young Living’s probiotic Life 9 and YL’s digestive enzyme line ( Essentialzyme, Essentialzymes-4, Detoxzyme, or Allerzyme) to consistently incorporate into daily life.
*Other tools to consider incorporating to improve bowel regularity: Young Living’s Cleansing Trio Kit (an economical way to get ICP, Comfortone, and Essentialzyme). Plenty of filtered water daily, healthy food choices, and exercise!…. The more you move the more your intestines will move too!
*If you have a youngster who struggles with pooping or who has had early childhood experiences like the quiz questions above…. Young Living’s MightyPro probiotics and Mightyzyme chewable digestive enzymes for kiddos are formulated for a time such as this!
👅Geographic tongue (erythema migrans) is a benign condition easily confused with lichen planus (an autoimmune disorder). A geographic tongue will be pink to reddish in color with slightly depressed lesions with irregular white or yellow borders. Geographic tongue usually has hereditary and environmental components (epigenetics!)….. meaning that environmental factors may intensify genetic expression.
Some of the more common environmental factors contributing to magnifying geographic tongue characteristics are endocrine disruptors (including birth control pills). Common endocrine disruptors include BPA (found in plastics), Phthalates (found in most mainstream beauty and skin care products), perchlorate (commonly found in tap water), PFC’s (used in nonstick cookware and fast food containers), and organophosphate pesticides.
Reading labels is a royal pain in the tushie, and all of these environmental toxins are not so nicely found everywhere despite having been banned in many other countries. Even if you are not predisposed to a geographic tongue, endocrine disruptors wreak havoc within all of us, and vigilance is needed. Scientists have pointed to all of these toxins as being key players in the more than 50% decline in fertility (for both men and women) in the USA in the last 30 years.
I am so thankful that Young Living has a full line of skin and body care products for both men and women, as well as gorgeous makeup (#SavvyMinerals) that is safe and free of hidden dangerous chemicals. I could stand on this toxic soapbox for hours, but let’s return to the tongue!
Geographic tongue is often a clue indicating a disposition towards psoriasis, reactive arthritis, allergies, and type I diabetes. That is not to say someone with a geographic tongue will definitely acquire one or more of these dis-ease states. Rather, it’s important to be aware of the possibility and do “all the things” to minimize the chance of acquiring a chronic autoimmune condition. Chronic stress can also magnify the characteristics of a geographic tongue.
👅A fissured tongue is notable for its deep furrows and cracks. Genetics and environmental factors also play a role. Tobacco use, and iron or B12 deficiency are common influencers of a fissured tongue. This particular tongue characteristic is also often seen in patients with psoriasis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and other autoimmune disorders.
👅A swollen, inflamed tongue is sometimes seen in celiac disease (an autoimmune intolerance to gluten).
Did you notice a trend? Many of today’s tongue clues are tied to autoimmune disorders which ultimately are connected to gut health and environmental toxin exposure and it’s so very important to recognize clues and be proactive instead of reactive!
👅A “scalloped” tongue (ridges or teeth marks on the sides of the tongue) is indicative of fluid retention.
👅Tingling of the tongue may be a symptom of hypoglycemia.
👅 Tongue strength also reveals important clues! Is a person able to stick out his/her tongue, and if so, does it tremble? Remember, the tongue is a strong and very vascular bundle of muscles, much like the heart. Scientists have found that a quivering or trembling tongue is often indicative of a neurological disorder. A tongue quiver may also appear both before a stroke and as an aftermath of a vascular event.
👅As you look at your tongue for any tips or clues, make note of any unusual lumps, discoloration, or localized swelling or sores that do not go away, and contact your favorite health provider should you find something suspicious!
Caring for your tongue is similar to caring for your teeth. A fluoride free toothpaste (have you tried Young Living’s Thieves toothpaste?), oil pulling, and using a copper tongue scraper are all healthy ways to keep your tongue happy!
I’m not going to lie, sometimes looking for clues can get a wee bit uncomfortable.
Nobody likes to be told they have bad breath, and this is a clue that will likely require some help from someone who loves you. Kinda like scratching your own back… not easy!….. neither is smelling your own breath! So grab a partner should you be inclined, and let’s talk about odiferous exhalations.
There are roughly 10 major causes of halitosis. Gums, mints, and mouthwashes will only do so much good if you don’t address the root of the clue! Of course, some foods can leave malingering odors in the pie-hole and are not of concern. It’s the chronic bad breath that will be leaving you notable clues.
*Rotten or Decaying odors: This is most commonly caused by gingivitis, a rotten tooth, or medications that cause dry mouth. Dry mouth sets the stage for bacterial invasion, which of course, ultimately leads to tooth decay and plaque-induced gingivitis. There are over 400 medications that are known to cause dry mouth. This is but one reason to work really hard not to need medication in my opinion. Oral health and hygiene goes a LONG way to preventing other dis-ease states in the body (we will chat more about that topic another day). If you are not already using Thieves toothpaste and Thieves mouthwash, I encourage you to add it to your next order! Both are highly effective means for neutralizing odor caused by bad breath bacteria and help fight plaque induced gingivitis.
*A sweet / fruity odor: Officially, this is called ketoacidosis, and some people say it this type of breath also smells like acetone (nail polish remover). An odor like this often indicates an imminent health crisis if related to a diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) event. The body is burning fat instead of glucose at a high rate. It’s not harmful for the body to burn fat, as long as blood ketone levels do not rise too high in the process. Occasionally, people who engage in a “keto diet” may develop keto breath on the short term. In this instance, it’s not dangerous, but keep your Thieves mints or lozenges handy!
*Sour Acidic: This odor is most often related to reflux. Contrary to common thought, reflux is not often the result of too much acid in the stomach (oftentimes, the opposite is true!). If the very important process of enzymatic & acidic digestion is not occurring in an efficient manner, reflux may result. Essentialzyme caplets might well become your new BFF, should you choose to give them a try!
*Metallic: This is often a taste as much as a smell. An H. Pylori infection (which can be paired with reflux sometimes too) or certain medications are the most common contributors. Medications that have been found to leave the breath smelling/tasting metallic include some antibiotics, chemo meds, lithium, some arthritis meds, metformin, and some blood pressure meds.
*Faintly mothball like: Chronic allergies, sinus infections, and post nasal drip are the common contributors to this one. Yuck, right? Ya’ll have access to all the healthy tools to make this one go away! Not sure where to start? Ask a seasoned oily pro about their favorite diffuser recipes or DIY nasal spray recipe! Nobody’s got time to run around smelling like mothballs!
*Moldy-Musty: Also called “fetor hepaticus”…this is a symptom of liver disease.
*Significant morning breath: Everyone has some sort of dragon breath in the morning, but this is the difference between dragon and gecko breath. People who sleep with their mouth open ultimately wake up with a dry mouth which is prime real estate for bacteria colonization. Pair this with certain sleep medications (or any of the other 399 meds) that cause dry mouth, and tooth decay will often soon follow (refer to point #1!)
*Fishy-ammonia: This particular odor is typically related to kidney disease.
*Sour milk: Typically, this odor will be transient following the consumption of dairy products. It is indicative of lactose intolerance.
*Dirty Diapers: Gross, right? An estimated 10% of the adult population is prone to an odd little thing called tonsil stones. A tonsil stone is a semi solid “stone-like” build up of debris that gets lodged in the folds of the tonsils…… kind of like acne of the tonsils! Tonsil stones don’t generally lead to health complications, but they DO cause gross breath. Other tonsil stone clues may include: (no fever), sore throat, tonsil swelling, and ear pain of unknown origin. Tonsil stones are caused by chronic sinus issues or inadequate dental hygiene. Thankfully there are natural ways to dislodge them and prevent them! Gargling daily (hello Thieves mouthwash!), Oil pulling, staying well hydrated, and consuming probiotics daily are all helpful tools to avoid the dreaded dirty diaper breath!
If you’re like me, you just went and brushed your teeth and gargled with #alltheThieves oral care products after reading this! Truly tho, these are important health clues and identifying a trending of clues may give you the time to nip a problem before it has a strong foothold.