How to know if you’re unhealthy

There are many warning signs of unhealthiness, and we’re not just referring to the extra effort it takes to button up those jeans or how the 10-minute walk from the MRT has you panting. 

Instead, there are deeper problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye – unless you go for regular health check-ups, you might not know that there’s something wrong with your body. Here are eight tell-tale warning signs that are your body’s way of telling you that you’re not in the pink of health: 

1. Your tongue is unusually red or cracked 

Overly red tongue
And it’s not from eating those colourful Skittles you bought either

Your tongue should look pinkish and be covered in small white bumps, but when your tongue takes on a purplish tinge, you might be experiencing poor blood circulation. On the other hand, a bright red tongue suggests a vitamin B-12 deficiency

If you also spot deep cracks on your tongue, then it might be a sign of an underlying chronic condition such as malnutrition or other vitamin deficiencies. In cases like this, consider TCM for treatment, when having a red or cracked tongue indicates heatiness coupled with a lack of fluids. 

2. There’s constant ringing in your ears and it’s not the fire alarm 

Ringing in ears

Whether you’re stuffing earplugs in your ears or blasting your music loudly, there’s a constant ringing sensation in your ears. There’s a medical term for this condition – tinnitus. Some people experience it as a deafening ringing, while others find it more similar to a muted buzzing. 

According to TCM, tinnitus is linked to a weak kidney and liver function. Ringing in the ears can also be a warning sign for high cholesterol, high blood pressure or even worse, a tumour. 

3. You get pins and needles even if you haven’t been sitting down long 

Pins and needles

Sometimes we end up sitting in an awkward yet somehow weirdly comfortable position, only to suffer the onset of painful pins and needles once we untangle ourselves from said position. 

As common as it seems, it’s still a cause for concern. Numbness in your palms and feet might point to poor blood circulation or degeneration of the neck or lower back vertebrae. It could also be linked to a dysfunctional nervous system as part of a larger problem, so don’t ignore the tingling feeling if it’s occurring more often than it should. 

4. You’re not wearing lipstick but your lips are bright red 

Red lips

“You’re getting heaty!” – my mum would proclaim if my lips are unusually red, and I’d be nagged to down more water or a bottle of “cooling” herbal tea. Bad breath and an odd craving for cold drinks are additional signs of “heatiness”, which in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) might point to the liver not dispelling “heat” effectively. 

But if your lips are overly pale, then that’s another concern too. And no, a simple lipstick will not be able to solve the root of the problem. Pale lips are an indication of insufficient qi (vital energy) or blood in TCM, which can often lead to symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, dizziness, and cold limbs.

5. Your hands and feet are constantly freezing

Cold hands

In Singapore, you don’t exactly expect your hands and feet to get cold – but they certainly do in 18°C aircon weather. Even when walking out to buy lunch under the sweltering sun, our hands feel are cold to the touch, with a mild tingling sensation. This might seem more common in women due to excess yin energy, which may cause an overload of coldness and low energy. 

To help this, you can drink more ginger tea for general wellbeing or even treat yourself to a warm foot bath. 

6. The white parts of your eyes are tinged yellow 

Yellow eyes

Your eyes are dry or red from staring at all your tech screens for far too long, be it for work or when you’re bingeing on Netflix dramas. But when the whites of your eyes are tinged with a yellow cast, that’s when things go beyond eye strain and other common eye problems. 

In TCM, the yellow tinge in your eyes is closely associated with an abnormal liver and gallbladder – dampness and heatiness can also aggravate this condition. In order to expel the excess heat and dampness, one can choose to drink “cooling” herbal drinks made from Chinese barley and aloe vera. 

7. Your nails are taking on an unsightly colour and no manicure can help 


The more manicures we go for and the more nail polish we leave on our cuticles, the unhealthier our nails might become. But sometimes, the problem goes beyond frequent nail parlour visits. If your nails show an abnormal colour that doesn’t seem to go away, then it might be time to sit down with your doctor.

Both white or pale nails indicate blood deficiency, while pale purplish nails may be a sign of yang deficiency in the body, so you might feel lethargic and sluggish. Observe your nails for discolouration or changes to the shape as these might be symptoms of internal health issues. 

8. Your skin is no longer in the “pink of health”

I’m not referring to a bad joke about our Asian skin tone – it’s obvious we all have different skin tones. But when our skin takes on an unhealthy yellowish colour, it could point to an internal problem with our liver or spleen, or even a sign of jaundice. 

Pale, bluish skin can mean poor blood circulation or anaemia as there is not enough oxygen and red blood cells in your blood. 

Strengthen your body with health supplements from Science Arts

Ginkgo Biloba tree
A Ginkgo Biloba tree – its seeds have various health benefits as it improves circulation and PMs symptoms
Image credit: @kats_eyes_66

Even if some of these signs may seem mild, they should not be taken lightly. Our bodies are susceptible to many changes in our lifetimes and many illnesses cannot be seen or detected with the naked eye. Other than routine health check-ups, it doesn’t hurt to fortify your body with nutrients and herbs – to help strengthen yourself against possible illnesses. 

One way to do this is with TCM & health supplements from Science Arts. Whether it’s herbal products or massage oils, they’ve got a large range of quality products. This includes the likes of Ginkgo Biloba ($27) to help improve blood circulation and maintain brain function, and Bai Feng Wan Paoshen Chongcao ($46.80) which helps regulate menstruation and general fatigue. 


Besides health supplements, Science Arts also provides TCM services like acupuncture and Tui Na therapy. If you want to find out more about your health condition, you can also go down for consultations with licensed TCM physicians.

Find out more about Science Arts’ TCM health supplements here

This post was brought to you by Science Arts.
Photography by Clement Sim. 

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