It may not seem like it, but a person’s nails can say a lot about their health. It’s true! A closer inspection at these tiny sheets of keratin can reveal everything from lung disease to allergies.
Curious about how you can use your fingernails and toenails as windows into your overall well being? We at TABIIB are here to help.
You’re Having Heart Problems
Are your Nails blue in colour?
You may want a check with your doctor if your nails are blue. Blue nails can be a sign of heart and lung problems, bacterial infections and Wilson’s disease (a rare genetic disorder, which causes copper to build up in your vital organ).
You Have A Skin Infection
Are your nail folds looking a little too puffy and red?
If so, you may have an infection that needs a doctors attention. The most common cause of nail fold inflammation is a skin infection from bacteria, viruses, or yeast.
You Have Eczema
Is the area around your fingernails swelled-up or are there blisters around the nails?
Pompholyx eczema, according to the National Eczema Society, is categorized by “intensely itchy water blisters mostly affecting the sides of the fingers, the palms of the hands, and the soles of feet.” And, in some cases, it can also cause swelling of the nail folds and skin around the nails.
Pale nails should always be noted. Why?
They can indicate malnutrition, in addition to other serious complications like congestive heart failure and liver disease.
If you are over the age of 60, then you should pay close attention to your nails, as malnutrition, heart failure, and liver disease are all common issues for older individuals.
You Have Athlete’s Feet
Athlete’s foot refers to two conditions: foot fungus and fungal toenail infections. The latter, which is most often picked up when walking barefoot in a communal area like a locker room, is characterized by rugged, yellow toenails.
You Have Raynaud’s
If you notice “indentations that run across the nails”—called Beau’s lines you could have Raynaud’s phenomenon. This is a condition in which blood supply to the extremities becomes limited in the face of stress or cold.
Talk to your doctor if you notice these lines on your fingernails, because, though there is no cure for Raynaud’s, there is a medication that can help restore blood flow in severe cases.
You are pregnant if the growth rate of your nails has suddenly increased.
The Nemours Foundation explains that all those extra hormones coursing through your veins during pregnancy could impact the strength and length of your nails.
You Have An Allergy
While many people believe that a calcium deficiency presents itself as those little white marks on your finger and toenails But according to Andrew Weil, MD, founder and director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine that’s not the case.
Dr Weil explains that these marks, called leukonychia, are either a sign of an injury to the base of your nail (which could’ve happened up to six weeks prior), or they can also be the result of an allergic reaction to nail polish or nail hardeners
Your Thyroid Isn’t Functioning Properly
Your dry, brittle nails may not be your favourite thing to look at, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Thick, dry, and brittle nails with visible ridges can be a sign of thyroid disease. So, before you focus on your aesthetic problem, be sure to rule out this serious health issue.
You May Have A Lung Disease
If you’re worried there’s something wrong with your lungs, your nails could be your first step toward figuring it out. Clubbing of the nails in which the tips of the fingers enlarge and the nails curve downward around the fingertips often suggests pulmonary disease.
You can always consult a doctor on TABIIB to know more about how the changing colours of your nails can detect an underlying issue in your body.