What Your Finger Nails Reveal About Your Health

discolored green nail fungusDiscolored Nails

A healthy fingernail should be pink with a touch of pinkish white (moons) near the base. If your nails are a dull color, streaked or have colors, you may have a hidden health problem.

  • Green nails are a sign of bacterial infection
  • Red streaks in your nail bed are a warning of a heart valve infection
  • “Blueish” nails signal low oxygen levels in your blood or poor circulation
  • Dull nails are often a sign of a vitamin deficiency
  • White nails may signal liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Dark stripes at the top (Terry’s nails) are associated with aging, congestive heart failure, or poor circulation

 

Thick Nails

You want your nails to be strong, but if they exceptionally thick or resemble claws more than traditional nails, this could be a clue for underlying health problems.

  • Thickened nails that are otherwise normal can signal lung disease
  • Thick and rough-textured nails can signal a fungal or yeast infection
  • Thick and separated nails may mean thyroid disease or psoriasis
  • Unusual thickness may also be a symptom of a circulation problem

Split Nails

Split, or chipped nails that seem to flake away in layers may be associated with several health conditions.

Split nails result from folic acid, Vitamin C, and protein deficiencies

  • Split nails combined with a pitted nail bed (base) can signal psoriasis, which begins in nails 10% of the time according to WebMD
  • Split nails may result from chronic malnutrition

Concave or Spoon Nails

Spoon fingernails signal a number of internal issues. To be considered full spoons, nails will be soft and curve up, forming a dip that is often big enough to hold water. Spoon nails signal:

  • Iron deficiency (suspect anemia)
  • Hemachromatosis, a liver disorder where your body absorbs too much iron. Have your ferretin levels checked.
  • Heart disease
  • Hypothyroidism

cutting_nails

Pitted Nails

Small dips or holes in your nails can be a sign that you need to look more closely at your health. Nail pitting can signal:

  • Psoriasis
  • Connective tissue disorder
  • Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss
  • Zinc deficiency (when the pit seems to form a line across the middle of your nail)

Ridges in Your Nails

Nails should have smooth surfaces with almost imperceptible lines. Obvious ridge lines are a signal that something is up with your body. Some of the most common conditions associated with heavy ridge lines are:

  • Iron deficiency (suspect anemia)
  • Inflammatory or autoimmune arthritis
  • Lupus (red lines at the base of your nails)

 

Dry, Brittle Nails

Common cause-Low thyroid or hypothyroidism leads to brittle, dry fingernails that crack and split easily

  • Fungus can make nails dry or even crumbly, affecting 12% of all Americans according to the American Academy of Dermatology

Clubbed Nails

If your nails seem to have puffed around your fingers, or “clubbed”. Clubbed nails can mean:

  • Lung disease, especially if you already have trouble breathing
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Liver disease

 

 


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