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What Do Your Nails Say About Your Health?

By Sara Butler

A lot of people spend a lot of time and effort making their nails look great. Even if you don't get a manicure on a regular basis, part of everyone's personal hygiene is keeping their nails trimmed and clean. But were you aware that your nails may be trying to give you some deeper clues about your health and wellness? Here are a few things your nails may be trying to say.

If Your Nail Separates

Nail separation from the nail bed can be caused by a few things. People tend to notice when this happens because it causes discoloration of the nail and may even lead to a bit of soreness. When this occurs, it may be because of medication you're taking but also things such as:

  • Trauma to the nail
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Psoriasis

Beau's Lines

If you notice indentations that run horizontally across the nail, it's something that most commonly is the result of an injury, a high fever, or an illness such as pneumonia. But it can also be something called Beau's Lines.

Beau's Lines can be related to a chronic illness such as diabetes or vascular disease. They can also be the result of a deficiency in zinc in your diet.


Do your nails scoop upward, like a spoon? This is a condition called koilonychia. It can be caused by a few illnesses such as lupus, anemia, hypothyroidism, Raynaud's disease, and heart disease. If you notice this issue, then it's probably a good idea to talk to a medical professional so they can take a close look.

White Spots

White spots, also called leukonychia, is a fairly common issue to see with nails and is usually completely harmless. In most cases, they're caused by trauma to the nail but they can also be a sign of nutritional deficiencies. If you notice you have them often, then you may want to dig a little deeper to ensure that you are getting enough of the crucial vitamins and minerals in your diet.

Yellow Nails

Are your nails thick and yellow? Do they grow slower than normal and begin to separate from the nail bed? You may have something called yellow nail syndrome. Determining the reason behind this condition can be difficult, but it's often caused by issues such as:

  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lymphedema
  • Pleural effusions, in which fluid builds up between the lungs and the chest cavity

Your nails can tell you a lot about your overall health, so make sure to pay attention to what they're trying to say.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Greenwood Village, Colo.

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