It’s no secret that in hospitals across the country, professionals aren’t afraid to look at your fingernails to get clues about your health! Understanding what your nails say about your health is a simple and often highly accurate way to detect health issues quickly so that you can get them healed before they get out of control. Take a look at your nails and see what they say about your health – and if you have any concerns, it’s a good time to visit with your medical professional!
The Pale Nail
Extremely pale nails that look almost transparent may be a sign that your body is not getting enough nutrition from the foods and supplements you take. When nutrition is an issue it may be that you aren’t eating enough good food, or that the organs involved in distributing nutrition aren’t working as well as they could be. Anemia and heart issues can also show up in pale nails.
When the nails turn opaque white or take on a white coloration around the edges, it may be a sign that hepatitis or other liver issues are happening.
Yellow nails can appear for a wide variety of reasons. Smokers often have yellow nails which are stained from holding cigarettes. Yellowed nails can also appear due to fungal infections in the nails themselves. More serious problems that can occur when nails turn yellow include issues with the thyroid, lungs, or diabetes. Yellow nails are a good indicator that it’s time to go see your doctor.
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You read that right! Nails can take on a bluish tint when the body isn’t getting enough oxygen. Pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis, smoking, respiratory infections, and other oxygen-influencing issues can all lead to a blue color in the nails.
If your nails get ridges or ripples, it can be a sign of an inflammatory disease such as arthritis or psoriasis. It could also be linked to an iron deficiency, or a lack of calcium in the diet.
Split / Cracked Nails
When nails start to split apart, come apart in layers, or crack, it is often a sign that something isn’t right with the thyroid or iron deficiency. This can also be a sign that a serious fungal infection has set in to the nails – especially if yellow coloring is there as well. Other reasons for splitting or cracking nails are a lack of vitamins. A lack Vitamin A, D & Calcium equals brittle & dry nails, while reduced amounts of Vitamin B12 leads to dry and/or dark nails.
Irritated, Swollen, Or Red Nail Bed
When the skin surrounding your nail becomes red, irritated, or swollen, it may be an early sign of a connective tissue disease such as lupus. Sign of an irritated nail bed are a good indicator that it’s time to see your doctor. In some cases, nail beds and the skin around the nail can become irritated and swollen for other less serious reasons as well, so talk to your doctor to cover all bases.
Dark Lines Or Stripes
When dark, nearly black, lines or stripes appear on the nail or under it, melanoma may be present. This type of skin cancer is aggressive – but it can be treated if you work with your doctor soon enough. If you see dark lines, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Bitten Or Chewed Nails
If you bite or chew your nails, it might be time to look at your general anxiety and stress levels. Biting nails can be a way for your mind to cope and sometimes stop worry and anxious thoughts – but there are healthier ways to deal with it. If your biting is compulsive and you feel more anxious or fearful when you aren’t biting or handling your nails in one way or another, you owe it to yourself to talk to your doctor to find better ways to deal with stress that won’t harm your beautiful nails!
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Nails are just one way that many doctors, nutritionists, dermatologists, and other health professionals get indications of your general health. No matter what may be going on, your first step must always be to consult with a medical professional to find out the best way to handle your specific needs.