Your body communicates when something is wrong. The color and state of your fingernails can let you know when something is going awry inside your body. Sometimes they can be minor vitamin deficiencies and other times more serious conditions. These changes can be subtle, or blatant and it’s worth noting any differences because many diseases are reflected on your fingertips. As always these are warning signs and it’s important not to rely solely on your nails for a health check. Consult with a medical professional who can consider other symptoms and run blood tests.
1. Red nails
If you nails go from a pink shade to a darker red, you might have heart disease. If the redness extends to the sides of your nails and cuticle, this might be a sign of the autoimmune disease Lupus. There are other possible explanations for this reddening, but it’s best to consult with your doctor, who can run tests.
2. Unusually white nails
This phenomenon is often called Terry’s nails and has three possible explanations. One is that you have developed a fungal nail infection, often accompanied by reddened or dark fingertips. Another reason could be that your nails have begun to detach from the nail bed and the blood supply is interrupted. Thirdly, this is also a side effect of chemotherapy. Terry’s nails also might indicate that you have a more severe illness like anemia,iron deficiency, diabetes, liver cirrhosis, organ failure or hyperthyroidism.
3. Thick or overgrown nails
If you nails are growing thicker and faster than usual, you might be suffering from a serious fungal nail infection. You might also notice that the nails have become discolored. These symptoms are common results of having either psoriasis or arthritis.
4. Detached from the nail bed
When nails begin to detach from the nail bed without trauma or pressure, you might have a hormonal imbalance. Similarly if your nails have separated, you might be suffering from hyperthyroidism – a condition where your thyroid gland is releasing too many hormones into your system. For both scenarios a doctor can recommend treatment to reverse these conditions.
5. Dark vertical stripes
Many people ignore stripes on their fingernails because they don’t cause any pain however some can indicate very serious illnesses. If you find that you have dark vertical stripes, known as linear melanonychia. This could be a sign of Subungal Melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer that only affects the nail bed.
10. Brittle nails
Characterized by thin, frail, crumbling nails this common nail problem often indicates a deficiency in vitamins, with vitamin B7 being the usual culprit. This can be easily reversed with an over-the-counter multivitamin supplement. Frail nails are also often associated with nail psoriasis, thyroid disorders, or fungal nail infections.
11. White stripes
While dark striped nails usually indicate cancerous growth, white stripes are more commonly seen as indicative of a disorder. It usually indicates an imbalanced or innutritious diet, lacking in proteins. This problem can easily be resolved with an increase in proteins rich foods such as fish, quinoa, nuts, seeds and lean meats.
12. Curved nails
This condition is sometimes called nail clubbing and involves an unnaturally large nail bed, curving around the tips of the fingers. It is not an overnight condition, and can take several years to form. The cause is often hypoxia, a lack of oxygen. It is not a symptom to ignore as it can be associated with serious diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, liver disease, lung problems, AIDS and cardiovascular concerns.
13. Loose nails
Loose nails not caused by injury can signify fungal nail infection, nail psoriasis, amyloidosis (excess protein in the blood), hyperthyroidism, sarcoidosis or Raynaud’s disease a.k.a. poor blood circulation. In rarer cases, severe allergies to some antibiotics are known to loosen nails from nail beds.
14. Blue nail base
If you find your nails are a white shade on a blue nail base, this might be a sign of a nutrient deficiency such as a lack of iron. When the nails are extremely white and the base blue or purple, this could denote a problem with the liver or pancreas. It is also a common symptom in the initial stages of diabetes when your body is not able to process and metabolize sugars correctly.
15. Yellow nails
Usually yellow nails are a sign of an unpleasant fungal infection and it’s advisable to purchase anti-fungal tablets or a topical cream to treat this. You can also treat it with a more natural solution such as applying essential oils. Yellow nails can also be indicative of more serious illnesses namely a lung problem, such as fluid accumulation around the pleurae (a lung membrane) or emphysema.
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