Are you familiar with the fact that the color, shape, and texture of your nails are considered as a window into your entire body? Even though some nail symptoms are usually unnoticeable, others can indicate a chronic disease, even cancer. Also, the growth of the nails can be a sign of some health problem.
Healthy nails grow up to 3.5 millimeters on a monthly basis. However, there are some factors that can have a huge effect on their growth and among the most common ones are trauma, medications, nutritional status, and aging process.
So, if you notice some changes in your nails, such as discoloration, swelling, changes in shape and thickness, you should immediately consult a dermatologist.
10 Nail Symptoms and What They Mean for Your Health
1. Yellow Nails
There are many factors which can contribute to the yellow color of your nails. The most common are smoking, aging, and use of nail polish and acrylic nails.
The underlying cause can also be a fungal infection. Even though rarely, conditions like psoriasis, respiratory disease, diabetes, and thyroid disease can also be the cause.
2. Dry, Cracked or Brittle Nails
In this case, there are many factors that play an important role: the exposure to chemicals, living in an area with low humidity, using nail polish remover very often, having your hands in water regularly.
Other causes of cracking and splitting are fungal infection and thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism. Deficiency in biotin or vitamins C and A can lead to brittle nails.
Clubbing is an enlargement of the fingertips. Also, the nails become curved downward. It can be associated with low oxygen in the blood, inflammatory bowel disease, AIDS, kidney disease, heart disease and lung disease.
4. White Spots
White spots on the nails indicate nail trauma. In most cases, they do not represent some serious problem, and tend to fade away. However, there are some cases where they can be a sign of fungal infection.
5. Horizontal Ridges
Horizontal ridges can be a result of uncontrolled diabetes, psoriasis, circulatory disease, and zinc deficiency. Mees is another type of horizontal line that can occur as a result of leprosy, arsenic poisoning, Hodgkin’s disease, malaria, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
6. Vertical Ridges
Vertical ridges most often are sign of aging and they occur at older people. However, they can also indicate nutrient deficiency like deficiency in vitamin B12 and magnesium.
7. Spoon Nails
If your nails curve upward at the edges, resembling a spoon, this can indicate iron deficiency, hypothyroidism or heart disease.
Multiple pits on the nails indicate psoriasis. It can be also caused by connective tissue disorders, or alopecia areata, a disease that causes hair loss.
9. Dark Discolorations
If you have black streaks and painful growth of your nails, you should immediately visit your doctor because this can indicate melanoma.
10. White Nails with a Strip of Pink
The nails that are white with a strip of pink can be a sign of kidney failure, liver disease, diabetes, and congestive heart failure.
Simple Nail Care Tips
- Make sure to eat a proper and balanced diet high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and protein
- Keep the nails trimmed relatively short
- Limit the use of artificial nails and nail polish
- Protect your nails from excessive exposure to chemicals or water
- Keep your nails moisturized by rubbing some coconut oil onto them on a regular basis