We have shown ahead of time how you can take care of your nails without saying the reason why. Through this article, we would enumerate the things that your nails can indicate about the overall state of your health.
Tip: We encouraged that you remove your nail polish and glance at your nails as you scan along each number. Who knows, you might have one or two of the symptoms without you even knowing it!
White spots are usually a sign of trauma (Have you slammed it through a car door?) and can be ignored. That is if it disappears as your nails grow. If it stays for more than a month or two, it could be brought by a fungal infection.
For cases caused by these microbes, your doctor might recommend an ointment or oral meds depending on where the white spots are placed. The latter is given once the spot is found on the nail bed itself as ordinary skin ointment alone cannot penetrate the hard barrier.
A different-colored nail bed
And we don’t mean the color of your nail polish. A healthy nail bed is typically light pinkish in appearance. The skin tone may vary depending on the overall color of your skin. A change in hue, however, can be an indication of a change in bodily systems.
For example, a pale white nail bed might be an indication of iron deficiency anemia. Or it could be an early sign of early onset of diabetes or a kind of liver disease since both ailments interfere with the blood work. To remedy this, eat food items rich in iron, such as red meat, green leafy vegetables, and beans, to name a few.
On the other hand, yellow nails may be a reaction to all or most of the chemicals found in your nail polish. Thus, it is advisable that you let your fingernails go bare for a day or two before switching to a new nail art or polish. Or better yet, look for a nail polish that does not contain the 3 Toxic Trio: DBP (or dibutyl phtalate, a chemical known to cause reproductive problems), toluene (can have detrimental effects on the nervous system), and formaldehyde (a widely-known carcinogen).
For others, yellow nails can be caused by a fungal infection on the nail bed, lung problems like emphysema, or worse, psoriasis, a disease associated with extreme flaking and itching of the skin.
For dark discoloration, specifically, those that travel from the cuticle to the tip, it could be an early sign of melanoma, a deadly type of cancer in the skin. You must immediately take a trip to the ER for this.
Brittle, thin, or cracked nails
Fragile nails are usually a sign of a vitamin B7 deficiency. These can be remedied either by changes in diet (eating more vegetables) or supplementation.
However, if your nails break even at the slightest touch, it can be caused by a thyroid problem. The thyroid is an organ responsible for growth and development of different parts of the body. Once the hormone is not enough to sustain its job, the first ones to suffer are the hair and the nails since they are the parts that continue to grow even in adulthood.
Horizontal ridges (lines that go from left to right) can be a sign of diabetes, a deficiency in zinc, or a problem in blood circulation. But mostly, it is brought by nail trauma and can be ignored.
Once you see a concave or depression on the surface of your nail, it is most likely koilonychia, a medical term for spoon nails. A blood-related problem commonly causes this－either iron deficiency anemia (lack of iron), hemochromatosis (too much iron), heart disease ( a problem in circulation), or hypothyroidism (lack of thyroid hormone).
Clubbing or a horizontal enlargement of the nail bed plus a vertical growth curving downward (see featured image for a closer look) is not because you are turning into a werewolf; lung disease can bring it due to the lack of oxygen delivered into your extremities. Other reasons may include, heart, liver, or kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or, worst case, AIDS.
These are just six changes you can observe on your nails alone. However, there are other signs you can watch out for only by knowing and taking note of the overall appearance of your nail beds. To observe any abnormalities the first time, you must memorize what your nails look like without the colors and chemicals you put on it and give it as much TLC as your face and the rest of your body.