You may not look in your nails very often, but did you know that nails can tell you a lot about your health? Did you know that there are hundreds of medical conditions and diseases that can cause nail changes? A history of recent health and physiological problems can be seen on the nails, and it has been used as a diagnostic tool since ancient times.
Sometimes it can be a fungal infection or injury. But nails can sometimes indicate a more serious underlying problem, such as a problem in the liver, lungs or heart.
Half a month at the base of your nails
When they are healthy, they have a pink color, and the months near the nails are light pink to white. According to Dr. L. Reed, ND, half a month at the base of the nail is an indicator of good thyroid health. Each nail that lacks half a month indicates a weaker thyroid. A weak thyroid gland can lead to mood swings, depression, hair loosing as well as other symptoms.
Healthy nails are smooth, without edges, lines or stains. But what happens if you see that they have changed color, shape, texture, thickness or any other unusual growth pattern, and you don’t know the reason for that? Well, maybe it’s time to see your doctor.
Here you will learn how to read the signs on them and discover the secrets that tell you about your overall health:
Brittle or brittle nails
A brittle or fragile nail can be the result of aging or prolonged exposure to detergents or nail polish. But sometimes can indicate a fungal nail infection, Lichen planus (a condition that forms an itchy rash on the skin or in the mouth), thyroid disease or psoriasis. In rare cases, it can also be an indicator of reactive arthritis, which is a painful form of inflammatory arthritis.
Nail color change
Yellow color can be caused by long-term use of nail polish, but they can indicate a fungal nail infection or psoriasis. It can also indicate several other illnesses, such as: jaundice due to liver problems, sinus infection, thyroid problem, lung infection and lymphedema (fluid retention that usually occurs) in the arms or legs).
Green-black color – indicate a bacterial infection that usually occurs under loose nails.
Bluish or purple nails may indicate a lack of oxygen.
Gray nails – can be caused by certain medications.
Brown nails – may indicate thyroid disease or malnutrition. Nails that are half white at the bottom, and at the same time brown near the tips, can be a sign of kidney failure, AIDS or appear after chemotherapy.
White nails – can be a sign of aging, fungal nail infection or iron deficiency (anemia), as well as other diseases, such as:
- cirrhosis (scarring of the liver),
- kidney or heart failure,
- malnutrition or
- after chemotherapy
There are several reasons for thick nails, but they are most often caused by a fungal nail infection. But they can also occur due to psoriasis and reactive arthritis (a painful form of inflammatory arthritis). Yellowish, thickened, slow-growing nails can also indicate lung disease.
When they become loose and can separate from the nail, it can indicate an injury or infection, as well as thyroid disease, psoriasis, poor circulation or an allergic reaction to the medicine.
Spoon-shaped nails (koilonychia)
When the fingernails twist inward and they cramps, it can indicate iron deficiency (anemia), hemachromatosis (a condition of the liver that results in iron overgrowth), Raynaud’s disease (which affects blood flow to the fingers and toes), heart disease and hypothyroidism.
Pitting or dents on the nails
Pitting or small depression may indicate psoriasis, eczema,(1) reactive arthritis and alopecia areata (hair loss due to autoimmune disease).
Grooves across the fingernails (Beau’s lines)
If you notice deep lines or grooves crossing through them, it may be the result of chemotherapy, previous injury, exposure to cold temperatures, Rainaud’s disease affecting blood supply to the fingers and toes, diabetes, vascular disease, zinc deficiency and diseases associated with high body temperature.
Grooves across the fingernails (Beau’s lines)
Then the fingertips and nails curl unusually around the fingertips. It may be harmless due to increased blood flow to the fingertips and may move in families, but if it occurs suddenly, it may indicate low blood oxygen levels which may indicate lung disease as well as other diseases such as heart disease, inflammatory diseases bowel (IBD), liver disease and AIDS.
In this case, the lines run parallel to the base of the nail. Do not confuse with white spots or streaks that are normal, but when there are parallel white lines across the nail, it is a sign of low levels of protein in the blood, which can be a consequence of malnutrition or liver disease.
Dark streaks running down the nails
This is common among blacks and is normal in most cases. However, it can sometimes indicate skin cancer that affects the nail, and is called subungual melanoma. Generally, this type of cancer affects only one nail.
Red or brown small streaks under the nails
These are usually bloodlines caused by small damaged blood vessels and are called spotting. There is no need to worry about that, but if many nails are affected, it can indicate another underlying disease.
Don’t ignore them and the health signs they indicate. Take a closer look at your nails to take care of your health. Your nails and your general health are closely linked and offer you a glimpse into your health.