Are dry lips a sign of a major health problem?
Most of the time dry lips are just that -- lips that have lost moisture because of dehydration, too much wind or too much sun. Occasionally, however, dry lips may signal a more serious condition. When a health problem exists, dry or cracked lips could be one of many symptoms.
For example, if dry lips are accompanied by a fever, red eyes and tongue, swollen lymph nodes, and swollen, red skin on your hands and feet, they could be an early symptom of Kawasaki disease [source: Mayo Clinic]. This disease is most common in young children between the ages of 2 and 5, but doctors aren't quite sure what causes it. Even though children typically see a full recovery, heart problems can result.
Dry, cracked lips have also been associated with a deficiency of certain B vitamins. For example, although it is not a typical symptom, cracked lips (especially at the corners) can sometimes signal a folic acid deficiency [source: WebMD]. They also can be a symptom of a riboflavin (vitamin B2) deficiency. Those at risk for this condition include people who are elderly or have a chronic illness or alcohol dependence. A riboflavin deficiency can typically be remedied with a balanced, healthy diet or a vitamin supplement [source: Mayo Clinic].
For more information about dry lips , read Dry Lips: Fast Facts.
Only a medical professional can determine whether dry lips are a symptom of an underlying health condition. Being aware of dry lips that won't heal and additional symptoms is important. Often catching a serious ailment early on can be beneficial in the healing process. Consult your doctor if you are concerned about your dry lips.
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