Things Your Nails Can Tell You About Your Health
Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but nails can offer an important glimpse into your overall health. It turns out, having strong, healthy nails isn’t just good news for your manicureunpleasant nail symptoms could also indicate bigger health problems. We spoke with John Anthony, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist and author of Skin Rulesabout the nail symptoms you shouldn’t ignore .
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.
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.
The problem: Clubbing
The problem: White spots
The problem: Horizontal ridges
The problem: Vertical ridges
The Texture Of Your Nails
Healthy Diet For Healthy Nails
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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Dry Brittle Nails And Thick Nails
Brittle nails usually appear very thin, and they peel or break easily. While thick nails can be so hard they become troublesome to clip.
Brittle nails can be due simply to aging, which causes drier skin and nails. But they also may be from washing your hands a lot, overusing nail polish, or iron deficiency .3Sometimes, they may also be a sign of thyroid problems.4
Thick nail plates are also often related to aging and are caused by slow nail growth. Other things that may cause you to have thick nails are fungal infections and dry skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Thick nails often appear yellow in color, especially where a nail fungus is involved.5
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.
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
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Symptom: Brown Vertical Stripe On The Nail
This may be a sign of melanoma. While you may think the deadliest type of skin cancer always shows up as a mole or dark spot, it can actually start in the nail.
Only about 1 percent of all melanomas in Caucasians occur in the nail, but if youre African-American, 20 percent of melanomas start there, Rich said.
In more advanced cases, it can spread on to the cuticle area or the skin around the nail. Thats an ominous sign its means its growing and spreading, she noted.
Hormones and certain medications can also make pigmented bands in the nails, but be especially watchful for nail cancer symptoms, such as a brown or dark stripe that goes from the cuticle out to the free edge of the nail, especially one thats getting wider.
If you have brown fingernails and the discoloration is round, as opposed to linear, it could be another condition. For example, brown spots on nails, especially if they’re pitted, could be a sign of nail psoriasis.
Course of action: Get any brown pigmentation on your nail checked out by a dermatologist.
When Your Nails Change Their Texture
Known as Onychoschizia, rough and easily-breakable nails are the most commonly reported nail problems, especially in women. They are caused by frequent wetting and drying of your fingernails. It can also be caused due to an iron deficiency or hypothyroidism. Wear protective gloves while washing utensils or cooking, and apply hand lotions.
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Nails That Are Discolored
Healthy fingernails are often pinkish-beige in hue. Anyvariation in this color, whether yellow, blue, violet, or white, might indicatevarious health conditions. Your dermatologist will examine your fingernaildiscoloration and rule out any underlying issues. If the discoloration isyellow, it might be caused by a fungal infection, eczema, diabetes, or thyroidproblems. Blue nails are frequently associated with poor circulation and lowoxygen levels. Similarly, pale, white nails may indicate anemia, liver andheart illness, or insufficient nutrition.
What A Normal Nail Looks Like
Lets be clear: were here to educate, not to help you self-diagnose. But, before we can talk about nail health warning signs, we need to establish whats normal and expected. Our nails are made up of layers of a protein called keratin the same substance found in our hair and our skins outermost layer. The visible part of your nails is actually dead, which is why cutting them doesnt hurt.
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Inflammation In The Nail Fold
If you notice sudden inflammation, orredness and swelling, of fingers or toes in the nail fold, it could beparonychia. This is most commonly caused by bacteria and will be red, warm andtender. Youll need antibiotics and sometimes incision and drainage. Please dontdrain these at home it usually leads to bigger problems as the risk ofinfection is much higher.
Chronic paronychia is seenmore often in dishwashers, housekeepers and swimmers. Think about folks who arechronically using chemicals or frequently submerged in water.
When Must I Make An Appointment With A Dermatologist To Discuss My Nails
If left untreated, nail disease can be challenging to treat.Early detection and treatment yield the most outstanding results. If youobserve any unexpected or uncomfortable changes in your nails, consult the Best dermatologist in Dubai for anassessment and, if required, therapy.
A dermatologist is an expert in the diagnosis and medical,surgical, and cosmetic treatment of skin, hair, and nail problems.
Let’s go through six nail irregularities that you and thedermatologist should be on the lookout for so you will get the care you want.
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If Your Nail Texture Is Rippled Or Pitted
Changes in nail texture, such as ridges, nail clubbing, meaning the tips of your nails are enlarged or curling towards your fingers, or rippling, it can all point to certain health conditions. Common causes of rippled or nail pitting, where there are small depressions on the surface of your nails, can be a sign of skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema, and is frequently associated with individuals with certain hair loss and arthritis.
Nail clubbing, which usually occurs over years, is caused by a variety of diseases, like liver, thyroid, or heart, and can also be a sign of HIV/AIDS, so that is certainly a change to pay attention to! As for ridges on your nails, if they are running parallel to your fingers, it is usually normal. But if you notice ridges running across your nails, it can mean diabetes, or be caused by older illnesses and exposure to certain medicines.
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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.
What Your Nails Say About Your Health
In this article:
People usually dont pay much attention to their nails, not realizing that the condition of their nails can give insights about the inner workings of their body.
Having strong, smooth, spotless nails with a pink nail bed is considered a sign of good health, whereas any untoward changes in nail growth, color, consistency, and appearance can be a result of localized or deeper systemic conditions.
Thus, your nail health reflects your inner health and can alert you to the onset of various diseases that may occur silently without any other symptoms. It is important that you visit a dermatologist or physician if you notice anything odd about your nails to rule out any underlying health concerns.
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What Your Nails Can Tell You About Your Health: 8 Signs + Care Tips
The beauty industry tends to think of our outward-facing parts as purely a means for aesthetics. But these things also can give us pretty apt indicators of something else happening in the body . For example, increased hair shedding can be a sign of vitamin deficiencies or stress skin sallowness can be a sign you didn’t get enough sleep breakouts can mean your body is dealing with chronic inflammation from dietary choices. The list goes on, really.
Your nails are a particularly interesting case study of this: Nail aesthetics can come with a host of underlying meanings and just general insights on the nails themselves. Here, we break it down with a few remedies and fixes:
A Few Other Conditions To Keep An Eye On
- Nail pitting where ice-pick-like dents appear on the nail can be a symptom of tissue disorders, alopecia areata or psoriasis.
- Beaus lines differ slightly from nail pitting, and cause a dented line across the whole nail. Beaus lines can be caused by uncontrolled diabetes or even a lack of zinc in your diet.
- Puffiness in the skin around the base of the nail can signify lupus or infection.
Because there are many factors to consider, including injury, disease or reaction to medication, its important to see your doctor to get a proper diagnosis regarding any changes to your nails.
And while were on the topic, Ill leave you with some interesting nail facts from the Canadian Dermatology Association: Nails grow faster in summer than winter, absorb more water than your skin and wont grow any faster if you eat or apply gelatin. Now you know!
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Long Dark Vertical Lines
Called longitudinal melanonychia, this is a very common normal variant in darker skin pigments. The normal variant usually starts in the age range of 20s to 30s and in darker-skinned people. However, if these lines appear after age 60, then this is a major red flag and needs to be evaluated for possible melanoma . Even in younger people, this benign condition can be difficult to distinguish from melanoma and should be evaluated by a dermatologist.
Subungual melanoma is a form of skincancer under your fingernail. It accounts for half of melanomas in dark-skinnedpatients and if there is any concern, you should talk to your doctor. They maywant to do a biopsy, which means taking a small sample and sending it to be lookedat under the microscope by a pathologist.
Other red flags that can follow withmelanoma: if you have discoloration of the nail and the underlying skin anddisrupted nail growth, then this needs a biopsy to evaluate for melanoma.
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.
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Inflamed Nails Or Nailbeds
Most people have irritated nailbeds regularly. When the skinaround your nail becomes inflamed somehow, this might cause nail issues. Theproblem might be as simple as a hangnail or a mild illness. On the other hand,swollen nails might indicate more significant issues relating toconnective-tissue disorders . Your dermatologist can assess theseverity of the edoema and if additional treatment is necessary.
Why Your Nails Are Such An Important Indicator Of Health
You may not know this, but by looking at your nails, you can tell a lot about how healthy you are. Slight changes in your nails can be an indicator for a number of health issues. It can be a tool to see if you are low on iron, are having liver issues, or even if you might have certain issues in the future. Because of this, it is very important that you pay attention to that state of your nails. If you notice any changes, such as discoloration, a visit to your doctor can tell you whether its of any concern. As a start, here are a few nail traits and what they can mean for your overall health.
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Nail Abnormalities: What Do Nail Ridges Spoon Nails And Other Issues Signify
A nail abnormality may also appear as a change in texture or shape. These nail changes commonly show up as: 13
Nail Ridges These tiny, raised, vertical ridges are very common with aging and you could think of them as wrinkles on your nails. Just like wrinkles they are caused by a lack of moisture in the skin and nails. They may stop your nails from looking shiny and smooth, but theyre generally harmless.
Nail Pitting Tiny dents in the nail that are often associated with certain skin issues.
Spoon Nails Here, the nail dips down in the middle and may look like a spoon. These nails are thin and often related to dietary concerns like iron deficiency .
Nail Clubbing Club nails curve downward. The fingertips or the nail fold may look swollen or feel spongy. Clubbed nails may be genetic but can also relate to more serious conditions.