What your nails say about your health
What your nails say about your health
A number of diseases and infections like anaemia, lung disorders and fungal ailments may provoke surprising changes in your fingernails. At times, these alterations may even bring to light un-diagnosed conditions. Today, we bring you a list of some nail oddities that signal an underlying serious medical condition.
Yellow nail syndrome: If your fingernails have a yellowish tinge, it could indicate an underlying fungal infection. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fungus is a very common cause of fingernail infection causing the nails to crumble and change in colour. Besides this, this could also occur because of some kind of liver disorder, lymphatic disorder or respiratory condition like chronic bronchitis. However, there is no need to raise the alarm every time you encounter a yellowish tint in your nails as this could also result from wearing nail polish for a very long period.
Dark lines under your nails: Perhaps, one of the most dangerous nails signs that you should never ignore is appearance of dark lines beneath your nails. This is because these lines indicate one of the deadliest form of skin cancer – melanoma. The moment you spot these purple-black or blue-black lines, rush to your doctor at the earliest.
Nail clubbing: In this condition, there is an abnormal enlargement of your fingertips, accompanied by the curving of your nails around the tips. Clubbing usually occurs due to reduced oxygen amount in the blood stream. If you have noticed these signs in your nails, it could mean that you are suffering from some kind of lung or heart disorder. One of the most common causes of clubbing is lung cancer. However, clubbing could also imply a congenital birth defect, chronic lung infection, Cirrhosis of liver or an infection in the lining of your heart chambers.
Pitted or ripped nails: Pitted nails are a very common sign of people with psoriasis or arthritis. Sometimes, this may also be associated with crumbling and loosening of the nails from the nail-bed. Apart from this, these small, linear indentations may also result from nail injuries, chronic dermatitis or alopecia areata (a condition that causes hair loss).
Beau’s lines: The finding of Beau’s lines or indentations that run across your nails may indicate trauma, previous illness or exposure of a patient with Reynaud’s Disease to cold temperatures. You can also find these lines on your nails if you are suffering from uncontrolled diabetes, pneumonia, measles and circulatory diseases like peripheral artery disease. Beau’s Lines mostly occur at the same spot of the nail plate in almost all cases and may be also caused by a severe case of malnutrition.
Koilonychia or spoon nails: This abnormality is usually reflected as transverse and longitudinal concavity on the nails and may be the result of severe trauma or certain occupational exposure to petroleum-based solvents. It may also indicate a condition called the nail-patella syndrome characterized by easily dislocated patellas, renal and skeletal abnormalities. Usually, the condition is seen in patients suffering from iron deficiency anaemia. Spoon nails can also be observed in certain infants but it usually corrects itself in a few years.
White nails: In patients with Terry’s nails or white nails, you will find that most of the nail plate becomes white in colour and appears like a ground glass. Although, most of the times, the condition affects all the fingers equally, a rare one-finger involvement also occurs at times. This usually occurs in people having liver cirrhosis, diabetes, congestive heart failure and severe malnutrition. It is believed that a decrease in vascularity and an increase in connective tissue in the nail bed cause the condition.