Nails as well as skin are a window to inner state of your body. Healthy nails do not split or crack, have no ridges or spots, darkening and discoloration. Normally, a nail should have a transparent color, the nail bed (a skin on which the nail grows) is light pink and the surface is smooth.
Usually the whole nail plate grows in five to six months that is about 0,05 to 1,2 millimeters per week
. With the age the growth of nails slows down which can be explained by the fact that blood supply becomes poorer.
If you have a closer look at your nails you can have some clues to the possible health problems you might have or develop. While nails may indicate some diseases and conditions, you should know that any changes in your nails appear after the problem occurred so there should be other signs present to help the doctor detect the disease.
If you noticed some of the signs mentioned below, do not postpone the checkup at your physician.
Thin and fragile nails often tell about iron deficiency, lack of calcium or vitamin D
If you noticed that your nails tend to split easily it can be a sign of problems in endocrine system
and also indicate the lack of zinc
in your diet. In some cases it can also mean that you have gastrointestinal disease
, or suffer from excessive sweating
or circulation problems
In spite of common belief, white spots do not appear from calcium deficiency. Minor injures may result in white spots on your fingernails.
Ridged nails can be a sign of chronic diseases such as psoriasis, gastritis, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis
but may well result from trauma or due to age changes
. Horizontal ridges very often form after serious stress or may indicate depression
Pale nail beds
Pale whitish nails indicate the low count of red blood cells resulting in anemia
Very often discoloration of the nails is caused by nicotine smoking
, but also may appear after taking some medications
and even after using a hair dyes
Greenish nails appear as a sign of a fungal infection
, often being a result of nail biting habit or as a complication of eczema and due to repeated wet hands condition.
Yellowish nails, especially if they are thickened and grow slowly, indicate lung disease
If you noticed that your nails thickened, this can mean the development of psoriasis or fungal infection
Concaved nails are a result of iron, calcium and zinc deficiency, thyroid gland dysfunction
Clubbing, when nails take the arching shape may tell about heart or lung disease
, conditions related to metabolism insufficiency.
Red nail beds
Unusually red nail beds suggest about heart disease