Nails are fun to decorate and can help express your personality in multiple ways. But did you know that nails are also a window to one’s health. Their color, texture and overall look can tell a lot about what might be going on in one’s body. Observe those fingernails closely and see if you notice any of the following colors or conditions. If yes, then you need to talk to a doctor immediately.
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Pale or white nails indicate anemia or malnutrition. White nails with darker edges point towards liver disease like hepatitis and a pink band at the rims can denote kidney, liver or heart disease, diabetes or simply ageing.
Yellow fingernails usually mean a fungal infection. If the infection worsens, the nails may become thick, split or crumble and the nail beds may retract. Yellow nails may also suggest psoriasis, diabetes, severe thyroid disease, chronic bronchitis or other lung disease, lymphedema or jaundice.
Blue nails mean that the body is not getting enough oxygen. If these are accompanied by chest pains, then this could indicate a severe heart or lung condition, which requires immediate medical attention. Blue nails can also be caused by an injury to the nail beds that has led to clotting of blood. This will subside slowly.
Pitted nails may indicate inflammatory arthritis, Reiter’s Syndrome – a connective tissue disorder, or psoriasis. In these conditions, the color of the nail bed also changes to reddish-brown.
When your nails have suffered a serious injury, they may have ridges that run horizontally across the nails. Such ridges are associated with high fever, uncontrolled diabetes, zinc deficiency or a peripheral vascular disease.
Nail clubbing is referred to the condition when the nails grow wide and curve around the edges of the fingers. Though, this is seen as a genetic condition in people of African descent, it can indicate a serious disease in others.
Nail clubbing may imply a lung disease, low blood oxygen, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, cardiovascular disease or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). If noticed on only one hand it may mean aneurysm. This condition causes the walls of an artery to weaken and cause a large bulge, which can rupture anytime causing internal bleeding.
Commonly observed in people who are involved in manual labor or who wash dishes for a living, swollen red skin around the nails can be caused by a bacterial or yeast infection. Soaking the nails in warm water with Epsom salt should provide relief. In case the puffiness does not reduce, then it might suggest the presence of lupus – a connective tissue disorder.
Spoon nails are caused by radiation therapy, chemotherapy, nail trauma or exposure to petroleum. These are also seen genetically in people who reside in high altitudes. If none of these conditions is there, then spoon nails may mean too much or too little iron, diabetes, undernourishment, vitamin B deficiency, or chronic heart disease. Spoon nails refer to a condition when the nails become soft and are able to hold a drop of liquid on them, like a spoon.
Vertical dark lines, running from the bottom edge of the nail to the rim, can be caused by nail trauma or genetically, in people of African descent. If caused by nail trauma, the line will slowly grow out. But, if not then it may indicate conditions like gastrointestinal polyps, lupus, HIV or melanoma-a skin cancer.
Gnawed nails are primarily caused by incessant biting. But if one is unable to control this habit, then it may signify anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder.