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What Do Nails Say About Your Health

Horizontal Grooves Or Gaps

5 Things Your Nails Can Say About Your Health

Do you have a nail that shows one or more depressed bands or gaps that stretch horizontally around the nail? That describes Beau’s lines, which are the most common nail problem associated with systemic disease. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell which disease caused it just from the nail. These unsightly lines may form in response to extreme cold, nail trauma, heart attack, or many other extreme stresses like syphilis, mumps, and pneumonia.

The Problem: Dry Cracked Or Brittle Nails

This issue is a common one, and there are a few possible causes. “Soft, brittle nails can occur from dryness on the nail plate,” says Dr. Jaliman. “This could be from swimming, overuse of nail polish remover, frequent dishwashing without gloves, or just from living in a low-humidity environment.” Other possible causes include chemicals or aging. However, if brittle nails are an ongoing problem, speak to your doctor: sometimes hypothyroidism causes this side effect, too.

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To soothe cracked nails, try slathering them with a super-moisturizing lotion. Like your skin, nails are absorbent, and lotion can prevent them from drying out in the future. Dr. Jaliman recommends choosing a product that contains hyaluronic acid, glycerin or Shea butter . If that doesn’t help, you can also try taking biotin, an over-the-counter nutritional supplement that promotes healthy nail growth.

What Do Healthy Lunulae Look Like

Healthy lunulae are usually a whitish color and take up a small portion of the bottom of your nail. Theyre usually most visible on your thumb.

You may notice that they appear smaller on your pointer finger, gradually shrinking in size until you reach your pinkie where they may be barely visible.

Sometimes, the appearance of your lunula or overall nail can be a sign of an underlying condition.


Here are some of the most common reasons for abnormal lunulae:

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S Of What Your Nails Say About Your Health

A mom of two with a background in journalism, I took health into my own hands and started researching to find answers to my own health struggles. My research turned into a blog that turned into an amazing community .When I’m not reading medical journals, creating new recipes, you can find me somewhere outside in the sun or undertaking some DIY remodeling project that inevitably takes twice as long as it was supposed to.

Did you know that your nails can be so much more than just a platform for nail art? They can tell a lot about your health condition if you just pay more attention to the changes that might occur.

For instance, the ordinary nail thickening or discoloration can indicate a certain health issue connected with your kidneys, liver, heart, blood, lungs, etc.

The shape, color, texture, and even the growth rate of your nails can act as a window into your body. The growth rate depends on your diet, health condition, medications, and the aging process.

So, if you notice any discoloration, swelling, or changes in thickness or shape, its best to consult a dermatologist. Even though it might not be anything serious, its best to check in order to prevent an underlying health condition from worsening. Diabetics are one example of people who can notice nail problems.

Here are ten nail symptoms and the potential meaning behind them.

Weak Brittle Or Splitting Nails


Brittle nails will bend and break easily and also start to split.

What it means about your health?

Weak nails can be a sign of ageing or long-term exposure to water or chemicals, such as nail varnish.

What to do about it?

Have a breather for a week from nail polish in between manicures, advises Louise Jones, founder of L Beauty Therapy.

“And use some CND Solar oil to put on every evening before you go to bed, this way it won’t wash off. It contains almond oil, which is rich in vitamins A, B and E.”

Take biotin to strengthen the nails and use rubber gloves when you’re washing up.

Philippa Lowe, dermatologist from the Cranley clinic says certain diseases can lead to nail changes and that brittle nails are an indicator of an over active thyroid disease. If brittle nails persist, take a visit to your GP.

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The Problem: Yellow Nails

“This can happen naturally with age,” says Dr. Anthony. “But it’s also sometimes due to nail lacquers or acrylic nails.” If you often wear acrylic nails or paint your nails and are having this problem, try taking a break from the salon and give nails a chance to recover. Another possible cause: smoking, which can stain nails and give them a yellowish hue.

You’re Having Heart Problems

If your nails are blue and it’s not because of bold polish choice you made, then you might want to get your ticker checked out. As dermatologist Katherine R. Garrity, MD, explained for Aurora Health Care, blue nails can indicate heart problems, as well as lung issues, bacterial infections, and Wilson’s disease . And for things your ticker can tell you about your health, check out 30 Warning Signs Your Heart Is Trying to Send You.

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What Do Fingernails Say About Your Health

Spring has officially arrived! For many of us our fingers and toes have not seen the light of day for months and we are eager to ditch the winter boots for flip flops.

Before heading to the nail salon, take a good look at your nails, as your nails can be an indicator of your overall health. Paying attention to your nail health is important as a wide variety of diseases can be detected by looking at the changes in your nails.

Nail abnormalities are problems with the color, shape, texture, or thickness of the fingernails or toenails.

If you are in overall good health, your fingernails tend to be smooth, semi-transparent, intact, somewhat curved, a slightly pink color with a possible white lunela little moon.

A few normal changes in the nail bed are to be expected due to aging.

  • Fingernails can become thicker, ridged, more brittle or darker in older people.
  • Leukonychia, or little white spots on your nails, are also common and usually nothing to worry about.
  • Fingernails that are yellow or whitish, thickened and crumbling or splitting could be afflicted with a fungal infection which can be treated by your doctor.
  • Pain or swelling around or underneath the fingernail could be nothing more than the aftermath of a hangnail. See your doctor if it doesnt clear up in a couple of days, or if there are several fingers affected.

How to keep your fingernails healthy:

In closing, nails are not all about glitter and polish. Your nails provide clues to your overall health.

Cracked Or Brittle Nails

What Your Nails Say About Your Health

In most cases, dry, cracked, and brittle nails are related to lifestyle factors. For example, frequent use of nail polish remover, spending more time with your hands underwater , living in a low humidity region, and exposure to chemicals .

Splitting and cracking can also indicate hypothyroidism or fungal infection. On the other hand, brittle nails can be caused by a lack of vitamin A, vitamin B biotin, or vitamin C.

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Side Effect Of Medications

Some medications and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapies, can cause your nails to develop hapalonychia. The drugs used to treat cancer are particularly strong and may stop the growth of your nails temporarily. This can cause horizontal lines, called Beaus lines, to develop on your nails.

Puffy Nail Fold Infection

The skin around the edge of your nail, known as the nail fold, can be damaged by many things. When it gets puffy and swollen, doctors call it paronychia, which can be either chronic or acute. Acute paronychia usually develops from an infection. But if your nail bed is chronically puffy, you probably have a chemical irritation.

There are other reasons for puffy nail beds, too. People whose hands are frequently soaking in waterdishwashers, food handlers, and swimmers, to name a fewmay get it. People with diabetes are more vulnerable to it too, as are those who take certain HIV medications.

Prevention and Treatment

Your treatment options depend on how you developed this condition. Puffy nail beds may respond to certain pills or steroid creams. To know which one to use, consult your doctor. If you want to get rid of paronychia and stay rid of it, consider avoiding water and harsh chemicals on your hands. See if you can use waterproof rubber gloves, for instance. Avoid putting your fingers in your mouth . And when you wash your hands, follow up with a moisturizing lotion.

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If Your Nails Are Pale Or Very White

The color of your nails is the first thing you notice when you check them over. Do they have a strange yellow tinge to them? Are they a bit paler than normal? Well, that can mean a handful of different things. For example, mainly white nails can mean possible liver problems, such as hepatitis, low protein stores in the body, kidney failure, or in rare cases, heart disease or diabetes.

If your nails are pale, that can be an indicator of anemia, meaning a lack of healthy red blood cells. This can cause fatigue and dizziness, among other things. Other possible causes of pale nails are similar to white nails, as it can mean congestive heart failure, liver issues , and malnutrition. If you find your nails paler than usual, you should take a look at your diet, and see if you get enough iron.

Deep Horizontal Ridged Nails

What Your Fingernails Say About Your Health # ...

Also known as Beau lines, these are deep horizontal lines or grooves going across the nail.

What it means about your health?

Horizontal ridged nails can be a sign that your diet is lacking in zinc. Illness, injury and cold temperatures, especially if you have Raynaud’s disease, can cause nail grooves to form at the base of the nails.

What to do about it?

Zinc is a mineral that’s required by the body. You should be able to obtain all the zinc you need in your daily diet. Good sources are milk, eggs, cheese, nuts and pulses, shellfish, wholegrains and meat.

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How Do I Keep My Nails Healthy

Our bodies are smart so when were low in vitamins and minerals, our nails and hair will show it, explains Norris.

Eating a variety of whole foods fruits, vegetables, whole grains will usually get you all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your nails need.

You can also take a multivitamin, but Norris advises against a one-a-day tablets: Its difficult for our bodies to digest large compressed tablets.

Instead, she suggests looking for a product that comes in soft-gel capsules. Why? Capsules are typically made from gelatin. According to Norris, its much easier for our bodies to break down gelatin to get to the vitamins and minerals within the product.

You can also try biotin and horsetail supplements. If you do go the biotin route, Norris advises to discontinue use 2 weeks prior to having any lab work done since it may interfere with results.

Black Or Purple Toenails

If one or more of your nails appears blackened or purplish in color, this was probably due to trauma or some other type of micro-injury causing bleeding under your nail. Stubbing your toe, running long distances, wearing tight shoes, or even shoes that are too big can cause these nail changes. These types of injuries may or may not be painful. If they are severely painful, that could be an indication of a broken toe. Often these color changes improve on their own as the new nail grows out. In cases where there is excessive bleeding under the nail, the nail may loosen to the point where it falls off. If nails become darker without any noticeable injury, it could also be a symptom of B-12 deficiency, anemia, bacterial infection, or in rare cases even cancer. It is always advised to have a medical professional examine any nail changes to rule out any underlying health conditions.

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Health Conditions Associated With Nail Separation

The following conditions can cause nail separation:

Onycholysis In this condition, the nail starts to lift up so that its no longer completely attached, and you’re likely to see white discoloration, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Common causes include trauma, infection, and psoriasis.

Onychomadesis This is a temporary, acute cessation of nail growth that causes the nail to separate from the bed, Gracen explains. It can appear in one nail due to trauma, but is also seen in children following hand, foot, and mouth disease, as well as with immune diseases, psoriasis, and lichen planus, she says.

Changes In Nail Shape And Texture

What Your Nails Say About Your Health

Pitted nails

An abnormal nail shape and nail surface can also signal a health issue. For example, nails that are dimpled or pitted like somebody took a pen and just pressed it in and it made an imprint, Flowers says can point to psoriasis, a chronic skin disease. Psoriasis can also cause the nails to loosen and separate from the nail bed, as can thyroid disease.

Nails that are dimpled or pitted can point to psoriasis.

Spoon nails

Soft nails that look almost as if the center of the nail bed has been scooped out can be a sign of an iron issue either your body isn’t getting enough or it’s storing too much, a condition known as hemochromatosis, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Clubbed nails

A nail that curves around an enlarged fingertip, known as clubbing, may suggest cardiovascular and pulmonary problems. It can also occur alongside gastrointestinal problems.

Clubbed nails may suggest cardiovascular and pulmonary problems.

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What Are Beaus Lines

Most people dont pay much attention to their fingernails on a regular basis. Yet our fingernails are a big help to us in our everyday lives: They help us grip, scratch, separate things, and much more.

You might also be surprised to learn that the appearance of your fingernails can help you better understand you health. And in some cases, our nails may pinpoint specific health problems.

One common nail deformation often indicating health trouble is Beaus lines. Sometimes people mistakenly call these ridges forming across the nail bows lines, or bow lines.

Beaus lines occur when nail growth is interrupted at the nail matrix the place where your nail emerges from your finger.

Usually the cause of Beaus lines is injury or severe illness, but in some cases, environmental factors may be to blame. In order to treat Beaus lines, you must treat the underlying medical condition that caused them.

Beaus lines can develop as a result of injuries, illnesses, or environmental factors such as:

  • picking at the nails or cuticles
  • getting an infection around the edge of the nail
  • getting a manicure

The appearance of Beaus lines may offer insight into their cause. More than one line on one of your nails is usually a sign of repeated external injury to the nail matrix or an infection.

However, if you have more than one nail with Beaus lines, the cause is likely a systemic illness, prolonged exposure to certain environmental factors, or chronic disease.

The Texture Of Your Nails

  • Brittle, split nails are usually linked to hypothyroidism, a condition when your thyroid works too slowly. Dry and crumbly nails also may indicate a deficiency in vitamins A, C, and the vitamin B7 also known as biotin. Another possible reason for this nail problem is the overuse of nail polish remover.
  • Vertical ridges are usually a normal sign of aging, just like wrinkles on your face. But if they become more prominent at a young age, this may mean that you suffer from vitamin B12 or a magnesium deficiency.
  • Horizontal ridges are typically the result of direct trauma to your nail. However, if you see them on more than one nail at a time, they may also be a sign of a serious illness with a high fever such as scarlet fever or pneumonia.
  • Nail pitting may indicate skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. It may also be an early sign of connective tissue disorders including inflammatory arthritis, a disease that affects your joints.
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    Your Nails Are Growing With A Downward Curve

    If your nails are curving down and have a noticeable rounded edgekind of like upside down spoonsthis could be a sign of a condition called clubbing, according to Mount Sinai. Clubbing can even make the tips of your fingers appear swollen or reddened. Your nail beds might feel soft and it can seem like your nails arent firmly attached to the bed.

    Clubbing is typically caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood, so it can happen with many different heart or lung diseases. Lung cancer is the most common cause, but congenital heart problems or infections of the heart or lung can also give nails this clubbed appearance. It may also be a sign of IBD or another inflammatory problem in the G.I. tract, like celiac disease.

    Other Types Of Horizontal Ridges On Nails

    Nail Problems â What Does Your Nail Appearance Say About ...

    There are several kinds of disorders affecting the nails, and more specifically causing lines similar to Beaus lines to form.

    A black line on the nails is known as a splinter hemorrhage. It can be caused by local trauma, such as getting your finger stuck in a door, or a medical illness like endocarditis or psoriasis.

    Another kind of line, which can be black or brown, is known as melanonychia. This condition may be the harmless coloration of your nail. It could be the sign of a health issue, such as trauma or infection.

    Terrys nails is a condition causing nails to be all white with a small line of pink or brown at the end. They commonly affect people with liver disease.

    Nails that look half light and half dark are called Lindsays nails. These are linked to liver disease.

    White spots on the nails are known as leukonychia. Its a common harmless issue caused by injury to the nail matrix, frequent manicures, or use of acrylic nails.

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