What Are Your Fingernails Trying to Tell You?

What are your fingernails trying to tell you about your health?  Believe it or not, how your nails look can be clues into your body function, and how healthy you are.  Everyone has nail irregularities from time to time, but there are some nail irregularities that shouldn’t be ignored.  Here is what your nails may be trying to tell you.

White Bands

You may notice a pair of horizontal white lines running parallel to the nail base.  These are called Muehrcke’s Nails and they may be caused by chemotherapy but are also associated with liver disease and kidney disease.

Nail Clubbing

This does not mean your nails like to go out and dance their cares away.  Nails normally have a curve at a slight upward angle from the nail bed.  If your nails curve downward this could be a sign of lung disease, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease or HIV infection.

Horizontal Indentations

These are called Beau’s lines, and they can be from an injury to the nail bed as the result of a high fever, and are seen in people being treated with chemotherapy.  They can also be a sign of peripheral vascular disease, diabetes or a zinc deficiency.

Spoon Nails

These nails appear abnormally thin and flat, or even concave enough to hold a drop of water.  If you have spoon nails this could be an indication of anemia, severe iron deficiency, exposure to chemicals or trauma to the nail.

White Nail Plates

With this nails will be white with a dark band at the tip.  You will see this on all of your fingers and it is common in people with liver disease.  They can be a part of normal aging too, however, or a sign of congestive heart failure, diabetes or HIV infection.

Rippled or Pitted Nails

This is characterized by tiny indentations or the nail my look rippled rather than smooth.  This could be an indication of psoriasis, a common skin disease.  It may also be the sign of a connective tissue disease.

Brittle Nails

If your nails are prone to breaking, splitting or cracking easily this could be a sign of a thyroid disease.  Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be characterized by brittle nails.

So make sure to pay special attention to your nails in order to catch any unusual signs.  Often, the nails will show signs in the early stages of a disorder, so catching it early are the first line in defense of making sure you stay healthy!


Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of GollyGforce - Living My Worst Nightmare

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