How Family Photos Can Reveal Serious Illnesses You Didn't Know You Had (PHOTOS)

taking a photoIt doesn't take much to inspire me to whip out a camera and start snapping photos of my loved ones. There is no need for a special occasion or a big holiday to capture fun family memories. But I recently learned that they can be so much more than that. Those cherished images can actually help your doctors diagnose a serious illness. Check out what to look for:


Image via NathanReed/Flickr

  • White Spot in the Eye


    Image via orangeacid/Flickr

    A camera flash can actually reveal a tumor in your eye. That is what one mother learned after snapping a pic of her toddler that showed a white glint in the middle of his pupil. While most people thought it was caused by the light, she had a nagging suspicion it was something serious. So during her son's eye exam, she showed the ophthalmologist, who immediately suspected something. Turned out he had retinoblastoma, an eye cancer that is most common in children under age 5. Her son underwent surgery and has fortunately been cancer free since.

  • Moon Face


    Image via CalaverasKT/Flickr

    Putting on weight in your face, accompanied by reddened skin and excessive sweating, can signify Cushing's syndrome, a condition in which the pituitary gland at the base of the brain produces too much adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). That, in turn, causes the kidneys to make too much cortisol, which can lead to weight gain around the mid-section and legs and the face to become puffy and red. It also causes high blood pressure.

  • Baby With Purple Skin


    Image via SurFeRGirl30/Flickr

    Sometimes a picture is more revealing than the naked eye. One couple didn't notice how much their 6-week-old infant was covered in blotchy, purple spots until after a photo session. His hands and feet looked blue too. After a visit with the doctor, they learned that the oxygen levels in his blood were too low. They ultimately figured out that it was caused by a heart valve that hadn't developed properly.

  • Puffy Jaw or Jowls


    Image via ojbyrne/Flickr

    A puffy jaw area can be a sign someone is bulimic. Excessive vomiting can damage the salivary glands and cause them to swell.

  • Bulging Eyes


    Image via Sarah G/Flickr

    If you've ever felt that your eyes were growing or getting bigger, don't brush it off as being in your imagination. It's unusual, but not unheard of, and it could be a sign of an overactive thyroid, which can sometimes affect the eye, or Graves' disease, an autoimmune disease that can cause the eye muscles to swell.

  • Beer Belly


    Image via markhillary/Flickr

    That protruding tummy area may just be due to age and too many brews. It's also a sign of kidney failure. For people who have kidney disease, the organ can expand up to four times its normal size, giving you the appearance of being pregnant even though you are not.

eating disorders general health illness medical tests

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