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Your Fingernails May Show You Have a Health Issue

By Paul Rothbart

It's important to recognize indicators of possible poor health. Feeling lethargic, dizzy, or achy comes to mind first. Changes to the eyes, lips, or tongue can also mean a problem and a trip to the doctor. There is one part of the body that you may not realize can show when you might have a health issue. The color, shape, and texture of fingernails can all be indicative of a health problem. Here are some things you should look for.


If there are distinctive dark-colored lines running the length of your nails, you should make a doctor's appointment immediately. This is a symptom of melanoma. While the lines aren't a definite indicator of this form of skin cancer, don't take chances. It is the deadliest type of skin cancer there is. Also, look for dark spots on the fingertips.

Light-colored horizontal lines are called Beau's lines. They can indicate that you sustained a serious injury or illness that shocked your system, causing the nails to temporarily stop growing. They can also be a symptom of diabetes or may occur in people being treated for cancer. Beau's lines are another reason to see a doctor.

Dimples in the Nails

Nails that have dimples in the surface or appear pitted can be an indicator of the chronic skin disease, psoriasis. The nails may also be separated from the nail. This can also occur due to thyroid disease. Check in with your doctor in either case.

The Lunula

The white, crescent shape just above the cuticle is called the lunula. If it changes in color or size, it could be an indicator of illness. Lunula that take on a bluish hue could be a symptom of the rare genetic disorder, Wilson's disease. Red has been shown to occur due to heart failure. If the white color of the lunula goes halfway up the nail and then turns dark, that may indicate kidney disease. A doctor can test for all of these conditions.

Clubbed Nails

If a fingertip is enlarged with the nail growing around the edge, it is called a clubbed nail. It could be a sign of a cardiovascular problem. Pulmonary issues can also cause clubbed nails as can gastrointestinal disorders. A doctor should be consulted if you have clubbed nails.

To stay healthy, it is important to be vigilant about any signs that you may have an illness. There are several body parts that can be indicators of a disorder. Your fingernails may have a lot to tell you. Keep an eye out for these conditions in the nails and follow up with a visit to the doctor if you see one of them. It could help you get the treatment you need in time.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Asheville, N.C.

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