Healthy nails are every person’s dream not only for the manicure but because they show that one is healthy. Certain symptoms could also indicate bigger health problems. Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but nails can offer an important glimpse into your overall health. It may be the shape or colour that show that there are much deeper issues within your health.
1. Yellow Nails
Your nails may yellow with age or due to the use of acrylic nails or nail polish. Smoking can also stain nails a yellowish hue. If your nails are thick, crumbly, and yellow, a fungal infection could be to blame. Yellow nails can also be related to thyroid disease, diabetes, psoriasis, or respiratory disease (such as chronic bronchitis).
2. Dry, Cracked or Brittle Nails
If you have your hands in water a lot, use nail polish remover, are exposed to chemicals, or live in a region with low humidity cracking is inevitable. Cracking and splitting can also be caused by a fungal infection or thyroid disease, particularly hypothyroidism. Brittle nails may also be due to a deficiency in vitamins A and C or the B vitamin biotin.
Clubbing describes when your fingertips become enlarged and the nail becomes curved downward. It can be a sign of low oxygen in your blood and is associated with lung disease. Clubbing can also be related to liver or kidney disease, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and AIDS.
4. White Spots
Small white spots on your nails are usually the result of nail trauma. They’re not cause for concern and will fade or grow out on their own. Less commonly, white spots that do not go away could be due to a fungal infection.
5. Horizontal Ridges
Horizontal ridges may also be due to trauma or a serious illness with a high fever. Also known as Beau’s lines this may be due to psoriasis, uncontrolled diabetes, circulatory disease, or severe zinc deficiency. Another type of horizontal line is known as Mees’ lines, which are horizontal discolorations that may be due to arsenic poisoning, Hodgkin’s disease, malaria, leprosy, or carbon monoxide poisoning.
6. Vertical Ridges
Vertical ridges are typically a normal sign of aging and are not a cause for concern. They may become more prominent as you get older. In some cases, nail ridges may be de to nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin B12 and magnesium.
7. Spoon Nails
Nails that curve upward at the edges, taking on a spoon-like appearance, may be a sign of iron-deficiency anemia, hemochromatosis (excess iron absorption), heart disease, or hypothyroidism.
If your nails have multiple pits or dents, it’s often a sign of psoriasis. Nail pitting may also be due to connective tissue disorders (including Reiter’s syndrome) or alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss.
9. Dark Discolorations
Black streaks or painful growths on your nail warrant an immediate trip to your physician, as they may be due to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
10. White Nails with a Strip of Pink
If your nails are mostly white with a narrow pink strip at the top, known as Terry’s nails, it could be a sign of liver disease, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, or diabetes. Sometimes Terry’s nails may also be due to aging.