Are Your Nails Trying To Tell You Something?

01 Feb 2020

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It doesn’t matter whether you groom your nails regularly, paint them carefully, pick and bite your cuticles, or get regular manicures. Your nails aren’t just decorative appendages that are meant to look pretty. They actually have a lot to say about your health if you knew how to listen to them. Every little detail can give you clues about your health, whether they are lined, cracked, discolored, chipped, or brittle. If you take the time to pay more attention to your nails, there’s no way you’ll miss the signs. So, here’s a simple guide to what you may find and an easy way to interpret and understand what your nails are trying to tell you! [1]

Brittle & Weak Nails: Frail nails are among the most commonly reported problems and are often indicative of nutritional deficiencies. Taking multivitamin supplements can help strengthen the nails. Like your skin, the nails also need moisture and should not be exposed to harsh chemicals or repeated wet and dry conditions.

Pale Or White Nails: Healthy fingernails are generally a pale shade of pink and don’t break easily. Pale nails can be a sign of anemia, which is basically an iron deficiency. This means that your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells and therefore the organs don’t receive the requisite oxygen. Consuming foods rich in iron such as green leafy vegetables can help correct this deficiency. In rare cases, pale nails can also indicate more serious conditions like congestive heart failure or liver disease.

Spoon Nails: Nails that curve upward at the edges are described as spoon nails. Usually, this condition is a sign of iron-deficiency anemia and can be treated with iron supplements and dietary changes. However, this warning sign is also observed in conditions like heart disease or hypothyroidism.

Yellow Nails: Pronounced yellowing of the nails is usually indicative of a fungal infection. Tea tree oil is an easy way to combat this infection, but you can also use OTC antifungal creams and should keep the nails dry. Yellowing nails could also be a sign of the overuse of nail polish, so take a break from painting your nails for a while.

Horizontal Ridges: While vertical ridges come with age, deep horizontal grooves in nails are indicative of psoriasis, uncontrolled diabetes, circulatory diseases, or severe zinc deficiency. Also known as Beau’s Lines, these indentations can also be caused due to direct trauma or injury to the nails. Since this condition is indicative of other health problems, identifying the underlying cause is important for its treatment.

Clubbed Nails: This describes the condition wherein the tips of the fingers get larger and the nails curve around the fingertips rather than growing straight past the fingers. This is generally indicative of lung disease, as well as inflammatory bowel disease and liver disease. Although the clubbing in itself does not cause any health problems, you should consult your doctor if you notice the warning sign as it’s important to diagnose the underlying cause.

Pitted Nails: This is when you have pits or dents on your nails. This is often a sign of psoriasis, a skin disease that causes patches of skin that are itchy, sore, and often have silvery scales. Health problems like connective tissue disorders or alopecia areata can also cause pitting of the nails. If the pitting is mild, you may not require any treatment, but it’s best to visit your doctor and find out for sure.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17763607

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