The 11 Signals Your Nails are Giving You About Your Health
Many people put a lot of effort into keeping their nails
perfectly trimmed, cleaned and manicured. If the nails aren't
perfect, the solution is often to cover them up with fake
nails or polish. But ignoring such signs and viewing them
as only an aesthetic problem could be dangerous to your health.
Like your skin, your nails are excellent indicators of what's
going on inside your body. If your nails are healthy (smooth
and pink with a slightly curved surface), your body is probably
pretty healthy too. But if your nails are discolored, brittle
or otherwise appear unhealthy, it may be because of an underlying
"The nails can be windows to a patient's overall health,
and while the nail itself is dead tissue, the areas under
the cuticle and beneath the nail are alive," said dermatologist
Richard K. Scher, M.D., professor of clinical dermatology
at Columbia University in New York City.
Here are 11 signals your nails may be giving you about your
||1. Yellow Nail Syndrome: This may cause a yellow
or greenish color to your nails, thickening of the nail,
slowed nail growth, a lack of a cuticle and the nail may
detach partially from the nail bed. This condition often
signals a respiratory disease.
||2. Pitting: "If you see pits on the nails,
it could be a sign that you are about to develop, or that
you already have, psoriasis," said Dr. Amit Pandya,
a dermatologist at the University of Texas Southwest Medical
Center in Dallas. The small depressions on the nail could
also be a sign of chronic dermatitis of your fingers or
||3. Clubbing: This condition describes when the
nails curve around your fingertips, which are usually
enlarged. It's caused by low oxygen levels in the blood
and may indicate lung disease.
||4. Spoon Nails: If your nails look scooped out,
like a spoon, it could be a sign of iron-deficiency anemia.
||5. Terry's Nails: In this condition the nails
look opaque with a dark band at the tip. This can be due
to aging or a more serious illness including cancer, congestive
heart failure, diabetes or liver disease.
|| 6. Beau's Lines: These horizontal indentations
across your nails could be a sign of malnutrition. They
also may appear after serious injury or illness like a
heart attack interrupts the growth of your nail.
||7. Nail Separating From Nail Bed: When your nail
becomes loose and separates from the nail bed, it could
be related to injury, thyroid disease, fungal disease,
drug reactions, reactions to acrylic nails or nail hardeners
||8. Brown or Black Colored Streak: This could
be a sign of a melanoma under the nail. "Subungal
melanoma should be suspected whenever a nail streak appears
without known injury to the nail, the nail discoloration
does not gradually disappear as would a bruise or the
size of the nail streak increases over time," said
||9. Vertical Nail Ridges: These are fairly common
and may worsen with age. They do not signal any serious
||10. White, Crumbly Nails: This is often due to
a fungal infection.
||11. Small White Spots: These are very common
and usually recurring. They're caused by injury to the
base of the nail and are not a cause of concern. The spots
will grow out as your nail grows.
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