Whether you’re a man or woman, you probably notice your fingernails primarily when you give yourself a manicure. You may be surprised to learn fingernails are actually markers of the presence of disease and indicators of your overall health status. In order to read the signs, examine your nails carefully.
Look closely at the curves, wrinkles, dips and ridges. Are they incomplete or cracked? Thick or thin? Evaluate the skin below and around the nail, and its color. Assess the state of your nails frequently, and note changes, as changes may signal health problems.
Here are some indicators to consider:
Healthy nails have a pink color with pinkish white moons at the base of the nail. Other colors can be a sign of trouble.
– Green nails may be a sign of bacterial infection
– Red streaks in the nail bed may indicate a heart valve infection
– Matte nails may indicate a vitamin deficiency
– Bluish nails may correlate with low oxygen levels in your blood
– White nails can indicate liver disease, like hepatitis
– Dark stripes at the top of the nail correlate with aging and congestive heart failure
Wash your nails well, then look closely at the color as well as the overall condition.
Thick nails are not a sign of strength. Instead, thickness may correlate with lung disease, or a circulation problem. Thick nails with a bumpy texture could indicate fungal infection, and thick, divided nails can be a sign of thyroid disease or psoriasis.
If your nails flake off in layers, the problem is probably not related to your beauty routine. Split nails usually indicate a deficiency in vitamin C, folic acid or protein. Split nails can even signal chronic malnutrition.
Concave or Spoon-Shaped Nails
These can be caused by lack of iron, or they can be a sign of heart disease or hypothyroidism.
If you haven’t damaged your nails in some way, small gouges may indicate psoriasis, connective tissue disorder, or alopecia (an autoimmune disorder).
Noticeable ridge lines can indicate a lack of iron, inflammatory arthritis and lupus.
Dry and Brittle Nails
These may be caused by thyroid disease, or a fungus or bacterial infection.
If the skin around your nails is swollen or bloated, it may indicate lung disease, inflammatory bowel disease, AIDS or liver disease.
Of course, fingernails are just one indicator for these disease. But checking them regularly can help you stay healthy.