What Your Nails Say About Your Health

Have you ever noticed any change in your fingernails? Changes that can be observed in the nails can indicate much about a person's health condition. Your fingernails can tell you a lot about your health. Nail changes can occur because of a number of diseases that people may be unaware of.

Changes in the fingernails can also reveal your recent health issues including the physiological problems you may have faced. In ancient times, the condition of fingernails was used to check for certain health issues, as there were no advanced diagnostic procedures available then. Even today, many doctors have a look at the fingernails as the first step in diagnosis.

Fungal infections and fever can also cause changes in the fingernails; however, it can also be an indication of some of the serious diseases such as heart diseases, liver diseases, anaemia, AIDS, etc. In this article, we have shared with you some important nail changes and what they mean.

If you notice any unusual changes in your fingernails, it is best advised to consult a doctor immediately to rule out any serious health-related complications. To keep an eye on your health, you must examine your fingernails often. Your nails and overall health are closely interrelated and can offer you a window into your health.

Have a look at some of the warning signs that you may notice on your fingernails in case of a health issue.

Grooves Across The Fingernails

They are also called Beau's lines. Grooves or deep lines across the fingernails may be a warning sign to show decreased blood circulation to the fingers, deficiency of zinc and presence of infection-causing bacteria that may cause fever often. The grooves in the nails may also be caused because of cold temperature and chemotherapy.

Brittle Or Crumbly Nails

This can be caused by washing clothes in detergents or a result of ageing. However, when these are not the reasons then brittle nails can be an indication of a fungal nail infection. This condition is medically termed as Lichen planus. Symptoms of this include rashes formed on the skin and mouth leading to itchiness. Brittle nails can also indicate thyroid diseases (hypothyroidism) and arthritis.

Nail Clubbing

In nail clubbing, the nails and fingertips are curved and clubbed together. It can be present by birth and is a heredity condition. However, if it occurs suddenly, it can be an indication of low oxygen level in the blood, heart and liver diseases, and even AIDS.

White Lines

White lines can run across and parallel to the bottom of the fingernail. However, white spots or streaks on the nails are normal. If white lines run across the fingernails, it can be a sign of low levels of protein, malnutrition or liver diseases.

Yellow Or Off-white Nails

Prolonged use of a nail polish can cause nails to become pale or yellowish over a period of time. Yellow nails can also be a sign of liver diseases and jaundice. Respiratory tract infection can also result in the nails becoming pale.

Dark Stripes

These stripes run down the nails and can be a harmless thing. However, in some cases, it can indicate a type of skin cancer affecting the nail bed. It may affect a single nail only.

Red Or Brown Streaks

These spots or streaks can occur under the nails and are the lines of blood caused due to injury to the nails. The damaged blood vessels bleed inside and this condition is called splinter haemorrhages. This is a harmless condition. However, if the reason is not an injury and many nails are affected, it can indicate some underlying disease.

Loose Nails

In this condition, nails become loose and can even separate from the nail bed. This may be caused due to thyroid disease, impaired blood circulation, advanced diabetes, allergic reaction to drugs, etc.

Spoon-Shaped Nails

This is also called koilonychia and in this case fingernails curve inwards and look scooped out. This occurs due to iron deficiency or anaemia, liver or heart disease, poor blood flow to the fingers and hypothyroidism.

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Read more about: health, nails, diseases
Story first published: Sunday, November 15, 2015, 15:04 [IST]
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