10 Things Your Nails Reveal About Your Health That You Shouldn't Ignore

10 Things Your Nails Reveal About Your Health That You Shouldn't Ignore

Even something as little as your fingernails can speak volumes about your entire body. Find out what your nails reveal about your health at a glance, here.

Your nails can say a lot about you. Their shape, colour, and even, texture can give a preview of your health and tell you what’s going on within your body. For instance, nails that curve upward may be indicative of anaemia; black streaks may mean melanoma.

What do healthy nails look like? They should be featureless, bland, and ordinary. Though everyone’s nails differ, when something is noticeable about them, such as yellowing, flaking, and discolouration, it may be a sign of a deeper health problem.

Now, much effort is put in manicures, nail art and in grooming nails. But nails serve more than an aesthetic function.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), while some symptoms may be, in fact, harmless, others may be signs of more chronic diseases: “Nails often reflect our general state of health. Changes in the nail, such as discolouration or thickening, can signal health problems including liver and kidney diseases, heart and lung conditions, anaemia, and diabetes.”

Apparently, even our nail’s growth rate is a reflection of our overall health.

So, if you notice sudden changes in your nails, such as swelling or discomfort, it’s best to see a dermatologist at once in order to determine whether it’s related to some underlying condition.

Here are ten common ways your nails may be sending you a message about an underlying health problem.

1. Yellow Nails
nails health

Image source: iStock

Now, nails may yellow due to repeated application of nail polish or with age; smoking can also cause this type of discolouration.

But yellowing can also indicate a nail fungus. For more serious cases, however, yellow nails may be a sign of possible thyroid problems, diabetes, and respiratory disease.

2. Dry, Cracked, or Brittle Nails
nails health

Image source: iStock

Cracking of nails may be related to vitamin A and C deficiency, fungal infection, or tyhroid disease.

A person’s lifestyle may also cause cracking: such as frequent washing of dishes, swimming, or using nail polish remover constantly.

3. Clubbing

This is when your fingertips swell up and curve downward. These obvious changes may mean low oxygen in your blood as well as possible lung disease.

In more serious cases, this may be an early sign of heart, liver, or kidney disease.

4. White Spots
nails health

Image source: iStock

These small spots may be due to trauma; they’re not cause for concern. Just wait until they fade away. But, in some rare cases, small white spots are signs of a fungal infection.

5. Horizontal Ridges

Also known as Beau’s lines, these may also be due to trauma or as the result of a high fever. They may also be signs of psoriasis, diabetes, circulatory disease, or severe zinc deficiency.

Dr. John Anthony, a dermatologist from Ohio, U.S.A. told Health.com:

“This is typically the result of direct trauma to the nail or a more serious illness, in which case you’ll see it on more than one nail at a time … Your body is literally saying, ‘I’ve got better things to do than make nails’ and pauses their growth.”

A more rare type of horizontal ridges are Mees’ lines, which are due to arsenic poising, carbon monoxide poisoning, malaria, or leprosy.

6. Vertical Ridges
nails health

Image source: iStock

Though they may be a normal part of aging, they can also be indicative of Vitamin B12 or magnesium deficiencies.

7. Spoon Nails

If your nails are curved upward with a spoon-like appearance, it may mean that you have iron-deficiency anaemia. It can also be a warning sign for hemochromatosis (excess iron absorption), hypothyroidism, or heart disease.

8. Pitting

If you notice that your nail has multiple pits or dents—like it was hit repeatedly with a hammer—this should alert you to the possibility of certain conditions, like psoriasis and alopecia.

9. Dark Discolorations

Nails with black streaks or painful growths should not be ignored. Go to your dermatologist immediately. When left unchecked, this may lead to melanoma, a malignant form of skin cancer.

10. White Nails with a Strip of Pink

Are your nails mostly white with a narrow pink strip near the top edge? This may be early warning signs of congestive heart failure, liver disease, kidney failure, or diabetes. However, in some cases, this may just be a natural part of aging.

Don’t neglect your nails; they’re an important part of your health and well-being!

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Written by

Bianchi Mendoza

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