Sherry A. Phillips

Suspense Author

What Your Nails Say About Your Health

You know that old saying, “I know so-and-so like the back of my hand?” How many of us actually look at the backs of our hands? Or, for that matter, our fingernails?

There was a time in my life when I changed the color of my nails to match whatever clothes I was wearing that day. Later, I opted for the French Manicure look, then the pale pink. Now, with three kids, various animals and a hectic life I’m lucky to get my nails painted at all.

This makes me notice the natural state of my nails more often and I ran across this great article which informs what your nails say about your overall health. Nails can show signs of infectious disease, malnutrition and other chronic diseases. From My Health List:

Your nails and hair are made up the same material. Nails are formed with a special type of protein called keratin, the same protein you will find in hair and skin. You can divide your nails in 6 parts; the hard protective part is called the nail plate, the skin around it is called nail folds, and the skin underneath the nail plate is called nail bed. At the base of the nail plate you will find a crescent moon-shaped structure called lunula. The tissue that overlaps the nail base is called cuticle.

Every month your finger nail grows from 2 to 3mm and your toe nails grow up to 1 mm. The nails grow out from the area under the cuticle called matrix.

As mentioned before your nail health reflects your physical health. Following are some of the health issues that can be detected by your nails:

Cardiovascular Problems: There are certain changes in the nails that can help to indicate cardiovascular diseases. Splinter hemorrhages is one such condition in which thin reddish brown lines appear on the nail bed, it indicates vasculitis or heart valve infection. These splinters are actually blood lines.
What Your Nails Say about Your Health

Nails can indicate certain illness or instability within the body

Clubbing is another condition in which the nails get soft, becomes round and wide and appears to be floating above the nail bed. This condition is caused by congenital heart abnormalities.

Pale blue or yellow tinge of nails and spoon nails also indicate cardiovascular disease.

Stress and Anxiety: 50% of the kids and teenagers in the US are nail-biters. Nail biting indicates conditions like stress, anxiety and boredom. You can avoid biting your nails by stress management techniques and by applying something bitter to the nails, like aloe vera juice.

Diabetes: Associated with the regular ageing, yellow-colored nails can be connected to illnesses, as well. Individuals clinically identified as having diabetic issues often have the use of yellow-colored nails. The yellowish color is usually more popular on the nails of you.

Diabetes can cause the skin and nails to get pale. The nails get pale when glucose connects with the collagen protein present in the nails. If you have yellow nails with other symptoms like increased urination and thirst then you should go for a diabetes checkup.

Thyroid Disorders: The thyroid disorders are usually detected with the help of unusual gain or loss in weight. Doctors also link changes in the appearance of nails with thyroid problems.

Onycholysis or Plummer’s nail is a condition in which the tips or sides of the finger nails or toe nails get separated from the nail bed. This condition takes place in hyperthyroidism and most often the nails of the ring finger or little finger are affected. Plummer’s nail can further lead to fungal or bacterial infections so it would be wise to consult a doctor so that you may get treatment for this condition and also for its underlying cause.

Another condition of nails caused by hypothyroidism is “spoon nails”, in which nails look scooped away and concave.

Diseases related to Arthritis: There are more than 100 types of arthritis. If your nails are weak because of selenium deficiency then there are chances that you are having osteoarthritis. Splinter hemorrhages, yellow nails or rippled nails are common in conditions like psoriasis. Sometimes connective tissue disorders, also called lupus are indicated by puffy nail folds. In such a condition the skin near the nail base swells.

Sometimes shedding of nails is caused by Kawasaki disease. In conditions like rheumatoid arthritis the lunula turns red.

Pulmonary Problems: If you have blue nails this means you might be having some oxygen –related problem such as asthma, low hemoglobin, pneumonia, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Apart from these problems, blue nails also indicate heart problems. If you consistently have blue nails it is suggested to consult a doctor.

Injury: Sometimes white spots appear on the nail bed; this condition does not indicate any nutritional deficiency. Instead, these white spots are like bruises and are caused by mild trauma or injury to the nail bed.

Melanoma: Melanoma is one of the worst kinds of skin cancer. Acral lentiginous melanoma is also a particular kind of skin cancer that is detectable by observing the nails. If there are dark lines on the nail bed it is better to consult a doctor.

Infections: Fungus infects about 12% of the American population. If your nails become crumbly and think and if their color changes to blue-green tone then it is better to consult a doctor.

Bacterial infections harm the skin surrounding the nail and also the skin underneath it, this may result in nail loss. The chances of bacterial infections increase because of vigorous manicuring and also because of unsterilized manicure equipment. It is better to buy your personal manicure tools.

Nutritional Deficiency: Nutritional deficiencies can also be predicted with the help of nail color. Pale nails indicate iron deficiency and anemia.

You can maintain your nail health by consuming lot of proteins and omega-3 fatty acids.

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