What Does The Condition Of Nails Tell You About Your Health?

The chief function of the nails is to protect the fingers. They are also a very vital pointer of your health status; changes in your nails reveal formerly unnoticed medical conditions. The shape, color and texture of the nails make us aware about conditions such as – diabetes mellitus, malnutrition, iron deficiency, and disorders of the lungs, liver, or heart.

  • Shape of nails: Certain disorders make the nails grow in abnormal shapes. Iron deficiency anemia makes your nails thin, with raised ridges which are curved inwards. Clubbing, which occurs due to a lack of oxygen in the blood, is seen in lung and heart disorders and causes the nails to grow in a spoon-like shape.
  • Texture of nails: In case of some kind of diseases / disorders, healthy nails tend to become brittle, thin, split, ridged and pitted. Diseases associated with these changes include psoriasis, thyroid disease, liver disease and cancer.
  • Color of nails: A change in the color of the fingernails can reveal a host of diseases that you may be harboring in your body. The most common conditions revealed are – white nails point towards a liver disease; half pink and half white nails signify some kidney disorder; red nail bed is seen in heart conditions; and diabetes, yellowish nails.
    If you observe changes in your nails, confer with your health care provider to figure out what is causing these changes.

What Can Your Nails Tell You About Your Body?

Your nails serve as a guide to your general health. Nails that are strong, well-maintained and do not have any spots, peeling or other color changes, usually means you are taking care of yourself. Nails which are in poor condition, weak or damaged are a sign of underlying medical problems.

  • Commonly seen alterations and / or abnormalities in the nails are – yellow discoloration of the nails, Terry’s nails wherein the nails have a dark band at the tip, and Beau’s lines which has horizontal lines across the nails.
  • Pitting of nails is common too. Sometimes they bend inwards like a spoon, or drape over the top of your fingers.
  • If the nails detach from the underlying nail bed or they look chewed, it indicates poor health.
  • Nails may turn brittle, thin, and may peel.

Spooned nails are usually due to a deficiency of iron or vitamin A; clubbing of nails is seen in lung diseases, brittle nails and those with ridges signify your requirement for sufficient vitamin B. Brittle and thin nails are due to zinc and biotin insufficiency. Beau’s lines and Terry’s nails indicate malnutrition or health conditions like diabetes mellitus.

Yellow nails may be because of smoking or a chronic respiratory disease. Pitted nails are usually due to psoriasis. Clubbing indicates inadequate amounts of oxygen in the blood or a disorder of the liver or heart. Nails which separate from the nail bed are frequently due to injury, infection, abuse of fake nails or other medical conditions. Chewed nails signify a mental health disease.

Thus, it is very essential for you to visit your health care provider in case you notice changes in the color, shape or texture of your nails. He will ask you to carry out a few tests and investigations to ascertain the precise cause.