What your nails can say about your health

The color and texture of the nail can reflect a number of diseases.

Look at your fingernails, you may notice slight changes in their texture or color – a bit of white here, pink coloring there, maybe some waviness or tuberosity of the surface. These shortcomings may not be relevant to you, but for an experienced look they can give some valuable hints on your overall health.

Warning signs of very many diseases, from hepatitis to cardiac diseases, can also appear on the nails. Changes in nails can be a sign of a local disease, for example, fungal infection, or a sign of a systemic disease such as lupus or anemia.

He says that sometimes he tries to guess if the person has anemia by looking at his or her nails. He explains that pale, whitish nail plates can mean a low content of red blood cells, which is an anemia.

Deficiency of iron can cause the appearance of a thin, concave nail platinum, with raised edges.

Nails can give a lot of little tips about what’s going on inside of you. In patients with lupus, often sinuous, cranked blood vessels of nail folds. Psoriasis begins with nails in 10% of cases and causes stratification and furrows on the nail plate.

Heart disease can make the nail plate red. The syndrome of compulsive states can be expressed in the constant biting off or plucking of nails.

Even common diseases, such as thyroid disease, can cause atypical changes in nail plates that become dry, brittle, and easily crack or peel.

He listed the following 10 examples of nail changes that may indicate a serious illness.

Appearance of the nail – Associated disease

White nails – Liver disease, for example, hepatitis

Yellowish, thickened, slowly growing nails – Lung disease, for example, emphysema

Yellowish nails with a slight blueing at the base – Diabetes

Nails, which are half-white, and half-pink – Kidney disease

Red Nail Plate – Heart Disease

Pale or white nail platinum – Anemia

Furrows or stratification of the nail plate – Psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis

“Thickening of the terminal phalanges of the fingers” – Lung disease

Uneven red lines at the base of the nail crease – Lupus or connective tissue disease

Black lines under the fingernail – Melanoma

Not always the “first bell”

But can a doctor really determine an undiagnosed heart disease or kidney problems, just by looking at your nails? Doctors do not dispute the connection between the nails and the disease, but warn: Changing the nails is rarely the first sign of a serious illness. In most cases, patients show other signs or symptoms of the disease, before the changes in the nails become apparent. For example, it is unlikely that the thickening of the terminal phalanx of the fingers is the first sign that is manifested in a patient with emphysema. Probably, problems with breathing will appear first.

Certain diseases can cause nail changes in some patients, while others do not. For example, not all people with liver diseases, nails are white. The converse is also true, not everyone who has white nails has a liver. In the absence of other signs and symptoms of the disease, I would not have been sure whether to start a comprehensive, costly check for a systemic disease only on the basis of nail changes.

If your fingernails are red, this does not mean that you should run to the nearest cardiologist. This can be caused by nail polish. Before assuming the worst, it is necessary to look for a more plausible explanation, for example, bruising, bleeding under the fingernail, fungal infection.

When to visit a dermatologist

Many common disorders of nails occur due to fungal infections that cause the appearance of cracks on the nails, detachment and change the color and texture. These infections are often difficult to cure, so professional help is needed, including prescribing antifungal drugs. It is best to visit a dermatologist in case the symptoms do not go away, especially if the nails begin to separate from the base or you experience pain and there is edema.

Changes in texture, shape, or color that do not result from the formation of bruising or fungal infection, including abnormal growth, the formation of furrows or holes on the nails, dark brown strips under the fingernails and cuticles, or protracted growths on the nail plate, are of particular concern. They can mean skin cancer. Nails around the nails tend to develop into squamous cell carcinoma. If the patient observes darkening, including the cuticle, we suspect melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Doctors are advised to report such types of changes to a specialist as soon as possible. Dermatologists have experience in distinguishing between an innocuous and serious nail disease, and also in determining what changes require a follow-up examination.

How to have strong and healthy nails

To strengthen your nails, avoid infections, and improve their appearance, with the following tips:

  • Nails should be dry and clean.
  • Do not bite or pinch your nails.
  • Moisten the nails and cuticles daily. Creams with urea, phospholipids or lactic acid can prevent the appearance of cracks.
  • Lightly nail the nails in one direction and around the tip, not to sharpness.
  • Do not remove the cuticle and do not brush too deeply under the nails, which can lead to infection.
  • Do not remove ingrown toenails. Visit a dermatologist if this is interfering with you.
  • Avoid using a nail polish remover that contains acetone or formaldehyde.
  • If you often do a manicure, bring your instrument with you.
  • If you have false nails, check them regularly for a green color (a sign of bacterial infection).
  • Eat a balanced diet and take biotin, containing vitamins.
  • And, finally, ask the doctor to look at your nails during the next visit, since the nails are a unique window in the state of health of our body.

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