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What Do Your Nails Say About Your Health

Top 10 Things Your Nails Say About Your Health

What do Your Nails say About Your Health & Nutrition? – Dr.Berg

One of the most requested manicure services is artificial nails, but not for Lee Redmond — as of early 2012, she hadn’t cut her fingernails since 1979. Her right thumbnail alone measures 2 feet, 11 inches , and in total, her nails reach 28 feet, 4.5 inches .

For most of us, our nails are hardly world-record worthy, although they still have an important role to play: They protect tissues, scratch itches and act as windows to our overall well-being. They also offer warning signs of malnutrition, infection and serious disease.

Nails are layers of keratin, a protein that’s also found in our skin and hair, and are made up of six parts. The nail plate is the hard, protective piece and the most visible part. The skin around the nail plate is called the nail folds, and the nail bed is the skin underneath the nail plate. The whitish crescent moon at the nail base, under the nail plate, is called the lunula, and the tissue overlapping the nail at the base is the cuticle.

Your nail grows from the matrix, an area under the protective cuticle at the base of the nail bed. Fingernails grow 2 to 3 millimeters every month and toenails about 1 millimeter, but growth is faster in the summer months and on your dominant hand .

Trimmed or long, polished or plain, one thing’s for sure — healthy nails mean a healthy you.


  • Infection
  • Dark Lines Beneath The Nail

    There are a number of reasons for the appearance of a linear brown or black streak extending from the cuticle to the tip of the nail. Since it is not possible to visualize the source of the color since it resides in the nail matrix below the nail fold, it is frequently a cause for anxiety in the patients and their doctors. A biopsy may be necessary to rule out skin cancer.

    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.

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    What Do Renal Failure Nails Look Like

    Half-and-half nails, absence of lunula, and splinter hemorrhage are the most frequent nail alterations in patients with chronic renal failure. Half-and-half nails, or Lindsays nails, are characterized by a red, pink, or brown discoloration of the distal nail bed occupying 20%-60% of the nail length.

    You Don’t Have Nail Fungus

    What do your Nails Say about your Health (6)

    Taking good care of your nails and cuticles isn’t just important so that they’ll look good, but it’s also important because nails that are too long can tear and cause injuries, among other things.

    “Nail health is important because if we do not address these issues early on, the damage to the main matrix can result in permanent nail damage,” Ilyas said. “The most common nail concern tends to be nail fungus. Even though we have some treatments for this, many people do not realize that if the fungus damages your nail matrix, even if you treat the fungus the nail may stay permanently thickened and difficult to manage.”

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    Extremely Soft Or Brittle Nails

    Seeing a nail break down the middle is worse than heartbreak. Not only does it inflict unbearable pain, it also distorts the appearance of the nail in general.

    Rough or brittle nails are often caused because of the repeated wetting followed by drying of the nails. On the other hand, the nails become extremely soft when it is exposed to heavy chemicals.

    Even though they might not mean a lot about your health, it is likely that the consistent soft and brittle nails could indicate a possible nutrient deficiency, especially that of calcium.

    When To See A Doctor

    Nail abnormalities can be a sign of different conditions that need medical attention and treatment.

    Many nail abnormalities are harmless while some are signs of health conditions.

    They are usually not the first signs but one of many symptoms, so people should pay attention to all of their body cues rather than just their nails.

    Consult a doctor if you are worried about any of the following symptoms of nail abnormalities:

    • changes in nail shape, such as curling or clubbing
    • discoloration, such as dark or white streaks, or other changes in color
    • changes in thickness, such as thinning or thickening of nails
    • brittle nails
    • nails that are separating from the skin

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    Deep Horizontal Ridged Nails

    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.

    What Does Your Fingernail Tell You About Your Health

    5 Things Your Nails Can Say About Your Health

    It could be anything, ranging from the white spots to the bumps, the possibilities are quite extensive.

    That aside, knowing these beforehand can help you get a better understanding of the precautions or the steps that you need to take to avoid the issue from getting out of hand.

    Let us take a look at few of them.

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    You Have Athlete’s Foot

    Athlete’s foot actually refers to two conditions: foot fungus and fungal toenail infections. The latter, which is most often picked up when walking barefoot in a communal area like a locker room, is characterized by ragged, yellow toenails.

    Dermatologist Pamela Ng, MD, explained to the Mayo Clinic that in patients with immunodeficiencies, these fungal infections can cause “breakdown of the skin and lead to conditions like cellulitis or foot ulcers.”

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    Healthy Diet For Healthy Nails

    Most people in the U.S. are not getting the adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals needed for optimal function of their body. So, lack of nutrients can lead to many health disorders, including nail, skin, and hair problems.

    Your nails need protein from healthy sources like free-range eggs, whey protein, and grass-fed meat. Moreover, your nails need vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in berries, leafy greens, and whole foods.

    Vitamin B7, biotin, is one of them. Besides strengthening your nails and hair, this vitamin helps in metabolizing carbs, fats, and amino acids. Also, it helps build keratin which creates nails. Some great sources of Biotin are egg yolks from organic, free range eggs.

    Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids from an animal source are also recommended, as opposed to omega-6 fats. The latter can cause inflammation which leads to heart disease, depression, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, 1:1 would be the perfect ratio for omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, most Americans consume 20 to 50 times more omega-6 fats than omega-3s, mostly from vegetable oils.

    Soft or brittle nails can indicate distorted omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Thats why you need to avoid vegetable oils and consume more omega-3 fatty acids from an animal source like sardines, krill oil, or anchovies.

    Things Your Nails Say About Your Health

    86 best images about Nails on Pinterest

    Our nails have an important role in our lives. They protect tissues, scratch itches and also they act as windows to our general state of health. The shape, texture, and color of your natural nails indicate warning signs of malnutrition, infection and serious diseases. While some of the nail symptoms are innocuous, others can be indicative of serious health problems.

    Even your nails growth rate may give indications about your overall well-being. If your nails are healthy, they must grow on average 3.5 millimeters a month. However, this can be affected by your nutritional status, medications, trauma, chronic disease, and the aging process itself.

    There are several nail symptoms that you might experience in your lifetime and here are what they mean for your overall well-being.

    1. Yellow Nails

    Nails can become yellowish with age or because of using acrylic nails or nail polish for a long time. If you frequently paint your fingernails with nail polish, you can realize that your nails tend to have a yellowish color after you have removed the nail polish. However, if this yellowish hue remains over a period of days or after using a bleaching remedy such as rubbing your nails with lemon juice, the discoloration can have a more serious cause like diabetes. Diabetes can cause yellowing of both the skin and nails, but it can be seen mostly in nails .

    2. Dry, Cracked or Brittle Nails
    3. White Spots
    4. Clubbing
    5. Horizontal Ridges
    6. Vertical Ridges
    7. Separation from the Nail Bed

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    /8dark Lines Present Under The Nails

    There are a number of reasons for the presence of a dark brown/black streak under the nail. It is not possible to visualize the source of the pigment in the nail, therefore a biopsy is carried out to ensure it isnt the symptom of skin cancer.

    Changes in colours and the health of the nails are only a small symptom for underlying health conditions, however, they must not be ignored. If you observe any of the above changes in your nails, consult a doctor about it.

    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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    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.

    No Half Moons On Your Nails

    What Your Nails Say About Your Health

    Some people may not have the rounded curve at the base of their fingernails. The word fingernail moons have come from the Latin word lunula, which means little moons. If these curves are not present or have suddenly disappeared, it could be a sign of malnutrition, depression, and anaemia.

    If you experience symptoms like dizziness, anxiety, sudden weight loss or gain, unusual cravings, and lightheadedness, you should see a doctor.

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    When Your Nails Change Their Colour

    Yellow nails are pretty common and can be caused due to a fungal infection or from a reaction of one of the products youre using. Try natural products like tea tree oil or Vitamin E to help fight infections. If the colour change persists, it may be a sign of a serious issue and it is best to consult your doctor before opting for any supplements.

    What Is Nail Bed Cancer

    Some fingernail or toenail changes may be a harbinger of a condition called subungual melanoma, commonly known as nail bed cancer, a rare occurrence that accounts for less than 4 percent of all malignant melanomas. Subungual means beneath the nail. Since theres little public awareness about the disease or its symptoms, it often goes undiagnosed until advanced stages of the disease, says Samuel Ejadi, MD, Chief of Medical Oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® , Phoenix.

    Unlike most other melanomas, nail bed cancer does not appear to be related to sun exposure, but may be caused by trauma or injury. A hallmark sign of subungual melanoma is darkening under the nail, tracking backward beyond the cuticle and into the skin around the nail. Dark, vertical streaks may also point to subungual melanoma.

    Less than 10 percent of melanomas occur on hands and feet, including the fingers, Dr. Ejadi says. Sometimes people see a dark color under the nail, and it may be misdiagnosed as a fungus, bleeding or some other benign issue. Another problem is that some melanomas, including under the nail, are flesh-colored and may be mistaken for a wart.

    If left untreated, subungual melanoma may be life-threatening.

    Regular skin checks by a dermatologist are important, particularly if you see anything abnormal under the nail, Dr. Ejadi says.

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    You Have A Skin Infection

    Are your nail folds looking a little too puffy and red? If so, you may have an infection that needs treating. “The most common cause of nail fold inflammation is a skin infection from bacteria, viruses, or yeast,” according to Garrity. And for other things to look out for on your outer layer, check out 7 Signs Your Skin Is Trying to Tell You You Have Coronavirus.

    What Vitamin Deficiency Causes Vertical Lines In Fingernails

    5 Things Your Nails Can Say About Your Health

    Our nails naturally develop slight vertical ridges as we age. However, severe and raised ridges can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia. Nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin B12 or keratin can result in fingernail ridges. Hormonal changes can also cause ridges to appear.

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    List Of Nail Abnormalities: Causes And Symptoms

    Vertical ridges and brittle patches can develop due to aging or minor injuries. Other abnormalities, such as discoloration, spots, and nail separation, may develop as a result of infections, injuries, or some medications.

    In many cases, the skin condition known as psoriasis causes nail abnormalities. An estimated 50 percent of people with psoriasis may have nail psoriasis.

    Otherwise, trauma to the nail may lead to abnormalities that can result in discoloration, spots, or changes to the nail.

    Changes in or around the fingernails and toenails can have many other causes, which we discuss below:

    Nail abnormalities can be a sign of different conditions that need medical attention and treatment.

    Many nail abnormalities are harmless while some are signs of health conditions.

    They are usually not the first signs but one of many symptoms, so people should pay attention to all of their body cues rather than just their nails.

    Consult a doctor if you are worried about any of the following symptoms of nail abnormalities:

    • changes in nail shape, such as curling or clubbing
    • discoloration, such as dark or white streaks, or other changes in color
    • changes in thickness, such as thinning or thickening of nails
    • brittle nails

    Cracked Or Split Nails

    Dry, brittle nails often crack or split, which is related to thyroid disease. Due to fungal infection, it is more likely to rupture or split with a yellowish tint.

    Often, the cause remains undiscovered, partly because there are too many potential causes. Brittle nails may be caused by drugs, nail injuries or many diseases or nutritional deficiencies.

    When nails become brittle, the name dermatologists use may depend on how they split. When the nail starts to split horizontally, this condition is called onychomycosis. However, when they split along the direction of nail growth, this is called a leaky nail.

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    Your Kidneys Aren’t Working Properly

    If your nails appear to be half red, pink, or brown, you could be having a problem with your kidneys. In a 2009 write-up of a chronic kidney disease case in the Canadian Medical Journal Association, doctors note that “half-and-half nail is an occasional but specific clinical finding in chronic renal failure.” As the doctors describe it, this condition is when 20 to 60 percent of the nail is “red, pink or brown the rest of the nail has a dull, whitish, ground-glass appearance.”

    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 will usually get you all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your nails need. A simple fix is to start taking a quality multivitamin, but Norris advises against a one-a-day type: Its difficult for our bodies to digest large compressed tablets. When taking these products, we dont actually break it down effectively so we miss out on the vitamins and minerals that are within it.

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

    Opt for popular choices:

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