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What Nails Can Tell You About Your Health

Keep Reading For The Signs To Watch Out For And What They Mean

5 Things Your Nails Can Say About Your Health

It’s not nail art: “Patches of white, known as leukonychia, can mean a number of things,” says Dr. Petre. “Either a fungal infection, allergic reaction, a nail injury, vitamin deficiency, or systematic disease.” Sounds scary, but Dr. Petre says most cases are not serious and don’t require treatment. Most often, the flecks mean you need more calcium and vitamin C in your diet. “If the spots are related to an injury, however, they’ll disappear as the nail grows out,” she adds.

Just note that if the discolorations are coupled with symptoms of an infection, you may need to seek medical attention, says Dr. Petre.

If your nails are anything besides a healthy shade of pink with white tips, that could also mean a vitamin deficiency. Look for discoloration, a flat-looking shade, or streaks you know didn’t come from your polish. “It typically means you’re missing certain essential nutrients,” Dr. Petre says. She recommends taking biotin to promote healthy cell growth and filling your plate with foods rich in vitamin B: eggs, tuna, wheat germ, whole grains, and salmon, to name a few.

It’s really annoying when your nails easily crack or split. “This is referred to as brittle,” says Dr. Petre. “It can be a sign of low thyroid, also called hypothyroidism.” She recommends adding foods like avocados and potatoes to your menu because they’re excellent sources of tyrosinean amino acid that helps restore the thyroid.

The Problem: White Spots

Many people believe that white spots on nails indicate a calcium deficiency, but this isn’t typically the case: “Usually, those white spots are not very significant,” Dr. Anthony says. “They’re often the result of minor trauma, such as if you whack your finger against something, and aren’t generally to do with calcium.”

The Problem: Severely Bitten Nails

Nail-biting is a common habit, but if it’s excessivesay, constant biting or picking at the skin around the nailsit could be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder. “Sometimes psychiatric medicine is required to treat OCD-related nail biting,” says Dr. Jaliman. “A bitter-tasting compound that’s polished onto the nails can help, too.”

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What Can Your Fingernails Tell You About Your Health

Unless faced with a physical injury, most people dont visit their primary care doctors about fingernail problems. But physicians often check patients fingernails because your nails can offer clues about potential health issues.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, your nails can provide a window to your systemic health. Problems with the lungs, liver and heart often show early symptoms in the fingernails. Not all nail discoloration, disfigurement or detachment indicates a serious health problem. Physical injuries, chronic nail picking, and some minor infections can also affect the appearance of your nails.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are seven fingernail problems that should warrant attention from your primary care physician:

Yellow Nail Syndrome

A yellowish discoloration of the nails accompanied by thickening nails and slowed nail growth may be symptomatic of respiratory disease or lymphedema, a swelling of the hands. Nails affected by yellow nail syndrome may also lack cuticles or become detached from the nail bed. Fungal infection can also lead to yellowed nails.

Nail Pitting

Small depressions or pits in the nails are common among people who have psoriasis, which is characterized by scaly patches of skin. Nail pitting may also be associated with connective tissue disorders and alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that also results in hair loss.

Nail Clubbing

Spoon Nails

Terrys Nails

Beaus Lines

Loose or Detached Nails

Your Thyroid Isn’t Functioning Properly

10 Pictures of What Your Nails Say about Your Health

Your dry, brittle nails may not be your favorite thing to look at, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. According to the American Academy of Dermatology , “thick, dry, and brittle with visible ridges” can be a sign of thyroid disease. So, before you focus on your aesthetic problem, be sure to rule out this serious health issue.

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Straight Horizontal Lines From Cuticle To Tip

The appearance of the straight horizontal lines from the cuticle to the tip is quite often noticed in some.

Experts and researchers suggest that the appearance of the same can depict the presence of moles or even cancerous melanomas.

If you find your nails changing colour around the lines and ridges and turning into something like deep brownish shade, it is better that you see a dermatologist for the same.

If you witness brown lines running down and into the cuticle of the finger, it is better that you get the same checked out by a professional.

Nail Problem: Discolouration Of The Nail

1. Yellow

Characteristics & appearance

The healthiest colour for nails to be is pinkish with a white lunula. Sometimes when yellow discolouration occurs, the nail plate thickens, and growth tends to slow down. This is often referred to as yellow nail syndrome. The cuticle may also detach from the nail bed.

What could this problem indicate?
  • Natural aging process
  • Staining of nail lacquers and acrylic applications
  • Staining from nicotine
  • Staining from hair colouring chemicals and dyes
  • Injury to the nail bed
  • Infection fungal or bacterial
  • Side-effect from certain medications like antibiotics, anti-malarial drugs and some used for chemotherapy treatment
  • Melanoma
  • Yellow nail syndrome can also sometimes be an indicator of chronic bronchitis and other respiratory diseases, or lymphedema
  • Discolouration can also occur in people with lung disease, psoriasis, diabetes or thyroid dysfunction.
Should you seek a medical consultation?

Discolouration due to aging or staining isnt normally problematic. Giving the nails a break from nail applications can help them to recover and return to their normal, healthy colour.

Injury, side-effects, medical condition or infection causes which result in considerable discomfort should be assessed by a medical doctor. Aside from yellow discolouration, other signs of a fungal infection include nails which thicken and begin to crumble.

Infections and melanoma will require medical treatment as soon as possible.

2. White spots

Characteristics & appearance

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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.

Healthy Diet For Healthy Nails

Fingernails can tell about health

Most people in the U.S. are not getting the adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals needed for the optimal function of their bodies. 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 a 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.

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Nail Problem: Ingrown Nails

The large toe is particularly prone to ingrown nails, which can be quite painful.

What could this problem indicate?
  • Nail injury
  • A naturally sharp curving nail nails which grow sharply into the sides, digging into the adjacent skin.
  • Trimming nails incorrectly
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight and press onto the toes
Should you seek a medical consultation?

If the ingrown nail is very painful, a podiatrist will be able to assist. If severe, the ingrown section of the nail can be removed while under light sedation to help alleviate pain during the short procedure.

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.

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When Nail Changes Are Harmless And When To See A Professional

Your nails say a lot about your health, so dont ignore abnormalities. While many nail changes are nothing to worry about, you wont know this until you get checked out by a doctor.

Any changes to the nail that don’t resolve in a few weeks and don’t have an inciting cause should be evaluated by a physician, warns Anderson. Additionally, any pain, swelling, or redness should be evaluated right away.

Nail Texture Changes Linked To Health Conditions

7 Things Your Nails Can Tell You About Your Health

Apart from the odd bump or small lines, nails are normally fairly smooth. But a texture change can occur when theres a problem elsewhere in the body. The following conditions can cause nail texture changes:

Beaus Lines Beau’s lines are indentations in the nails that run across the nail, according to the Mayo Clinic. Conditions associated with Beau’s lines include diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, as well as scarlet fever, measles, mumps, and pneumonia. Beau’s lines can also be a sign of zinc deficiency.

Pitting Small, pinpoint depressions can appear in the nails when theres a problem in nail plate layering. These depressions can be shallow or deep, and are more common on fingernails than toenails, Anderson says. Pitting is seen in approximately 68 percent of people with psoriasis and nail changes, according to an article published in 2017 in the journal Reumatologia. Pitting can also appear with alopecia areata, eczema, and the autoimmune disease lichen planus.

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Helpful Tips For Nail Care

Besides eating a proper diet, proper nail care requires protecting your nails from excessive exposure to chemicals or water.

For instance, minimize the use of polish remover, nail polish, and artificial nails, as well as use cotton-lined rubber gloves when washing the dishes.

Also, you can gently buff your nails to make them nice and smooth without using nail polish. Whats more, simple buffing will boost the circulation in your nails which will make them stronger.

You can use manicure scissors or clippers to keep your nails trimmed short which will make them stronger.

In addition, you can rub some coconut oil on them for extra benefit. The bad habit of picking at your cuticles will damage the nail bed and cause damage to the live tissue, so you might try quitting it.

Ultimately, dont cover your unusual and unpleasant nail symptoms with manicures or artificial nails. Instead, visit a holistic health care provider to determine the root cause of your nail problem.

What Your Nails Can Tell You About Your Health

Check out your nails: Is the first thing you notice that they need a color refresh or trim? But what do you see if you strip off the polish?

If you take a closer look at your bare nails, certain symptomslike small spots or ridgesreflect what’s going on in your body. You could say that your nails are a sort of litmus test for your health.

“Nail imperfections may not look severe, but they can indicate a vitamin deficiency or even serious health problems,” says Luiza Petre, MD, a cardiologist and nutrition expert. So even though many women rush to the salon as soon as their mani chips, taking the time to examine your bare nails can help ensure you’re on top of your nutrition and health regimen.

“Nail imperfections may not look severe, but they can indicate a vitamin deficiency.”

The best thing to do if you notice something unusual? Eat a balanced diet. “By eating a diet filled with protein, vitamins, and minerals, you’ll make your nails stronger, longer, and healthier from the inside out,” says Dr. Petre.

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Stick To Proper Nail Hygiene

You can avoid a lot of nail issuesfrayed cuticles, snagging, and brittlenesswith a little attention. Being diligent about your nail hygiene is a lot like skin care: Sure, your skin is affected by what’s going inside, but tending to the outside goes a very long way. Regularly hydrate them with cuticle oils, keep them trimmed and filed , and hydrate the skin around it. “It’s important to care for the entire nail area so that your nails stay healthy in general,” says Barr.

Nail Problem: Bitten Nails

What Your Nails Are Saying About Your Health
Characteristics & appearance

Biting of the nails is predominantly associated with habit. Such habits are sometimes linked with anxiety related medical conditions. Individuals with a biting habit are sometimes prone to picking at the nails, as well as the skin fold surrounding the nail.

Nail biting is reasonably common during childhood, which typically peaks during teenage years. For some the habit may resolve on its own as a person enters adulthood. For others, the habit may continue, often as a result of another underlying issue requiring medical intervention.

What could this problem indicate?
  • Habitual behaviour
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Should you seek a medical consultation?

Those with nail biting and picking habits which are associated with anxious behaviour can benefit from medical intervention. Medications can be prescribed for diagnosed anxiety-associated conditions, which can in turn help to alleviate the behavioural habit.

A habit that does not necessarily present any other clinical symptoms of a disorder can sometimes be addressed with the use of nail varnishes or polishes containing bitter compounds that are off-putting to a biter. Habitual biters can benefit from regular manicures keeping nails well-trimmed and short.

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Nail Color Changes Tied To Health Conditions

A change in nail color might not mean anything, but certain changes may be linked to the following conditions:

Leukonychia Also known as white nail syndrome, leukonychia can develop when theres a defect in how the nail grows, explains Ashley Anderson, DO, a family medicine doctor with Dignity Health Medical Foundation in Davis, California. The nail will have white patches or lines, which often dont reach the edge of the nail, or the entire nail will go white, she adds. These changes can be due to microtrauma of the nail, especially after a manicure or with artificial nails, or indicate leprosy, cirrhosis, or typhoid fever, warns the Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center .

Terrys Nails The nail will look mostly white and grainy with a pink or red strip at the top. This change is found in about 80 percent of people with cirrhosis, according to an article published in the journal American Family Physician. It can also develop in people with congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Half-and-Half Nails, or Lindsays Nails Half-and-half nails feature red, pink, or brown bands occupying 20 to 60 percent of the nail bed, according to an article published in April 2015 in The New England Journal of Medicine. The condition is associated with chronic kidney disease.

Yellowing Of The Fingernails

That sudden yellow tinge on your fingernail that you have been experiencing could be because of an underlying health issue that you probably didnt even pay attention to.

Fungal infections are very common with fingernails in the feet, and if you are experiencing the same, it is time that you take things seriously.

Leaving it to heal on its own can make the nail bed retract, further causing pain and inflammation.

Aside from that, yellow nails can be a result of the nail lacquers you have been using. Not just that, the same can also be because of the smoking habits which tend to stain the nails yellow.

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What Your Nails Say About Your Health

Your nails can reveal clues about how healthy you are. Learn what a change in nail color, shape, or texture says about your overall health.

You probably trim your fingernails on a regular basis, but whens the last time you really took a closer look at your nails?

Your nails can reveal a lot about your general state of health, so its important to recognize the signs of healthy nails, as well as abnormalities that could indicate a medical problem.

Not sure whats normal and whats not? Here are some clues to help you determine what healthy nails look like, and when there could be a problem, according to the Mayo Clinic.


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