What Your Nails Say about Your Health

(WellnessPursuits.com) – Your nails have the potential to say a lot about your health. Unusual changes in the shape, color, or texture of your nails could indicate an underlying medical issue is to blame. Several deficiencies and disorders can lead to problems with your nails, and they can present themselves in some surprising ways.

What Are Your Fingernails Trying to Tell You?

While some people have natural differences in the shape and texture of their nails, it’s important to know what your nails look like regularly so you can easily recognize any differences. Look out for the following:

  • Pitting: Pin-prick indentations on the fingernails can indicate psoriasis, a condition that causes patches of raised, scaly skin. Some autoimmune and connective tissue disorders can also cause pitting of the nails.
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  • Clubbing: Nail clubbing is a gradual process that leads to the fingernails broadening and curving at the fingertips. It’s often the result of low blood oxygen levels, often coinciding with lung or cardiovascular disease. Inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, and AIDS can also lead to fingernail clubbing.
  • Spoon Nails: This condition causes the nails to become soft and concave, to the point where they can often hold small drops of liquid like spoons. Anemia can cause spoon nails, as can hypothyroidism, heart disease, and hemochromatosis, a disorder that causes the body to absorb too much dietary iron.
  • Terry’s Nails: Terry’s nails leaves the fingernails nearly all white, save a band of pink along the tips. Although the discoloration can be a normal part of aging, it can also occur with liver disease, kidney failure, congestive heart failure, or diabetes.
  • Beau’s Lines: Beau’s lines appear as creases or indentations that run horizontally across the nail. Usually, they’re the result of trauma to the cuticle, but they can also indicate systemic illness. Diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and zinc deficiency can cause them, as can any illness that causes a high fever.
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  • Nail Separation: Nails that become separated from the nail bed usually turn an opaque white or yellow. Separated nails eventually detach completely, falling off. This is usually the result of an injury to the digit, but it can also be caused by infection. Psoriasis and thyroid disease can sometimes cause the nails to separate and lift.
  • Yellow Nail Syndrome: Yellow nail syndrome causes the nails to become thick, yellow, and slow growing. It’s most often associated with respiratory diseases like chronic bronchitis, but can also occur with edema of the hands.

Unhealthy fingernails can be an indicator of much more severe issues, so don’t ignore these or other unusual changes. If you keep acrylic tips, let your nails go natural every once in a while. This will allow them to breathe — and give you the chance to take a closer look at your nail health.

To Your Healthy Pursuits!

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