6 Things Your Tongue Says About Your Health
It might come as a surprise to some people that the appearance of our tongues can be indicators of our overall health. The best time to examine your tongue to get the most accurate reading is right after waking up in the morning, before brushing your teeth, sipping any water, or eating anything at all.
With this in mind, here are 6 health conditions to watch out for that can be revealed through your tongue:
1- Pink tongue
According to 1MD, if your tongue is pink with no abnormalities of shape or size, and has no damage to it, then your health, overall, is quite good. In such cases, even a light white coating is nothing to be concerned about.
2- Red tongue
If your tongue is red, appears inflamed in size, and has some surface abnormalities, then that is a sign that you may be dealing with an inflammatory disorder or have an infectious disease. According to Healthline, a red tongue that is inflamed may also indicate that you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, celiac disease, or anemia. Regardless, if your tongue is red and inflamed, then you should seek medical attention.
3- Bright-red tongue
As mentioned, a red, inflamed tongue may indicate an infectious disease. But, if your tongue is bright-red, enlarged, or even has the appearance of a strawberry, then likely something more serious is coming into play; it may indicate a serious inflammatory blood disease called Kawasaki disease, or an indicator of scarlet fever.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, another common cause of a bright-red tongue is heart disease and high blood pressure. If your tongue has this appearance, you should have your blood pressure checked and have your doctor schedule an electrocardiogram (EKG).
4- Yellow tongue
Sometimes, a yellow tongue is not indicative of anything; according to The Mayo Clinic, it could simply be due to a build-up of dead cells on the papillae that gives it a yellow appearance.
However, if you do have a yellow tongue, you shouldn’t assume that the issue is as harmless as that, and you should pay attention to other possible symptoms like fatigue, excessive gas, and frequent nausea or queasiness, as a yellow tongue can be an indication of jaundice, which means your liver or gallbladder is not functioning properly. You may also have other serious digestive problems, and this needs to be examined by a doctor—especially if the yellow color sticks around, and you start having other symptoms of liver or digestive illness.
5- Purple tongue
If you’ve just eaten a purple popsicle or candy, then having a purple tongue is expected. However, if you examine your tongue first thing in the morning and it looks like that, then it’s a worrisome sign of having blood circulation problems or vitamin B12 deficiency. Even if there are no other symptoms, a purple tongue, or purple spots, is reason enough to see a doctor.
According to Healthline, a purple coloring may be due to the fact that your blood is not supplying enough oxygen to all of the cells of the body, which may indicate lung or heart problems, and it should be examined right away. The longer this issue is neglected, though, the graver the consequences may be over time, as your body is being deprived of oxygen.
6- Blue tongue
Just like having a purple tongue, a blue tongue is also a clear indication of oxygen deficiency, possibly due to lung or heart problems. The difference is that the blue color is usually tied to adrenal gland problems, which according to Austin Publishing Group, means a serious adrenal inefficiency—also known as Addison’s disease, where not enough of the adrenal hormones, aldosterone and cortisol, are produced.