Topic: Health and Beauty

What Nails Can Tell about Your Health

Oct 22, 2007

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.

Fragile nails

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.

White spots

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

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.

Discoloration

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

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

Yellowish nails, especially if they are thickened and grow slowly, indicate lung disease.

Thickened nails

If you noticed that your nails thickened, this can mean the development of psoriasis or fungal infection.

Concaved nails

Concaved nails are a result of iron, calcium and zinc deficiency, thyroid gland dysfunction.

Clubbing

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.