Are your fingernails healthy, or sending you a health warning? Fingernails and disease don’t go together in most minds.…but they should. Your fingernails can give you valuable health warnings and signal the presence of serious disease. Take a good long look at your nails. Hold a hand level with your nose about a foot out from your face and scrutinize each one.
Look at the curves, dips, ridges, and grooves. Check out how thick or thin they are and if your nails are chipped or broken. Make a note of the color of the nail itself, the skin under it, and the skin around the nail.
Check your memory – have your nails always looked like this? Changes to your fingernails and disease onset are linked, so note any new developments. With this fresh view, compare what you see with this list of eight potential fingernail health warnings.
1. Split nails
Split nails aren’t just occasionally chipped or shut in doors. Instead, these nails seem to flake away in layers. Don’t blame frequent handwashing or nail polish for everything, especially since:
Split nails result from folic acid, Vitamin C, and protein deficienciesSplit nails combined with a pitted nail bed (base) can signal psoriasis, which begins in nails 10% of the time according to WebMDSplit nails may result from chronic malnutrition.
2. Clubbed nails
If you have plump skin that seems to swell around the nail, or if your nails seem to have puffed around your fingers, they are said to be “clubbed”. Clubbed nails can mean:
Lung disease, especially if you already have trouble breathing, Inflammatory bowel disease, Liver disease
3. Thick nails
Thickened nails that are otherwise normal can signal lung disease, Thick and rough-textured nails can signal a fungal infection, Thick and separated nails may mean thyroid disease or psoriasis, Unusual thickness may also be a symptom of a circulation problem
4. Discolored nails
A healthy fingernail should be pink with a touch of pinkish white (moons) near the base. If your nails are a dull color or streaked with other colors, you may have a serious hidden health problem.
Green nails are a sign of bacterial infection, Red streaks in your nail bed are a warning of a heart valve infection, Blueish nails signal low oxygen levels in your blood, Dull nails mean a vitamin deficiency, White nails may signal liver disease, such as hepatitis, Dark stripes at the top (Terry’s nails) are associated with aging and congestive heart failure
Nails should have smooth surfaces with almost imperceptible lines. Obvious ridge lines are a signal that something is up with your body. Some of the most common conditions associated with heavy ridge lines are:
Iron deficiency, Inflammatory arthritis Lupus (for red lines at the base of your nails)
Don’t just buff away your ridges – hear their warning!
6.Concave (Spoon) nails
Spoon fingernails signal a number of internal issues. To be considered full spoons, nails will be soft and curve up, forming a dip that is often big enough to hold water. Spoon nails signal:
Iron deficiency (usually from anemia)Hemachromatosis, a liver disorder where your body absorbs too much iron, Heart disease, Hypothyroidism
Your fingernail and health challenges go hand in hand – for many people, clearing up their health issue results in their spoon nails returning back to normal.
7. Pitted nails
Small dips or holes in your nails can be a result of banging up your hands – or they could be a sign that you need to look more closely at your health. Nail pitting can signal: Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair lossZ, inc deficiency (when the pit seems to form a line across the middle of your nail)
8. Dry, brittle nails
You don’t need lotion or cuticle oil. If your nails are dry and brittle, you should check your hormone levels and bacterial health.
Thyroid disease leads to brittle, dry fingernails that crack and split easily. Fungus can make nails dry or even crumbly.
Your fingernails won’t be the only signs of these diseases, but they can provide confirmation or motivation to seek medical care.
Don’t ignore your hands or the health warnings they send. Fingernails and disease are more closely related than you think – check your nails often to protect your health!