Health Secrets Hiding In Your Nails

How often do you really pay attention to your fingernails other than clipping them once in a while or deciding what colour to paint them? Did you know that your nails can determine your wellness? While strong and glowing nails can indicate that you are in the pink of health, weak, flaky and discoloured nails could mean it’s time to start giving some much-needed attention to your health. Keep reading to learn what secrets your nails might reveal.

Nail Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

Yellow Nails

If your nails have grown yellow in color, it might be a natural sign of ageing. However, if you are a smoker and your nails are yellow, thick and crumbly, it can be a fungal infection. In the worst cases, yellow nails can be associated with thyroid disease, diabetes, psoriasis, or respiratory disease. If you have yellow nails check yourself for other symptoms of these diseases and consult a doctor accordingly.

Horizontal Ridges

There could be two kinds of horizontal ridges on your nails and these indicate different things. Beau's lines are deep grooved lines that run from side to side on the fingernail. Mees lines, on the other hand, are ungrooved. This means that Beau’s lines cause depressions on the nails while Mee’s lines don’t. Beau's lines could be indicative of uncontrolled diabetes, circulatory disease, or severe zinc deficiency. Whereas Mees' lines, may be caused by arsenic poisoning, malaria, leprosy, or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Vertical Ridges

Vertical ridges that extend from the base of the nail to edges are a very common sign of ageing and are usually not a cause for concern. However, in some cases, vertical nail ridges are coupled with nail discolouration or a loss of shape. This can occur due to nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin B12 and magnesium. If you notice discolouration and loss of shape along with vertical ridges you may consult a doctor for advise.

Spoon Nails

Spoon Nails are soft nails that curve upward at the edges, taking on a spoon-like appearance. These may be a sign of anaemia (iron-deficiency), hemochromatosis (excess iron absorption), heart disease, or hypothyroidism.

Nail Clubbing

Instead of curving outwards as it normally does, when your nails start bending inwards the condition is known as nail clubbing. The tips of your fingers enlarge around your nails and it becomes harder to clip your nails. This condition is indicative of low oxygen in the blood and could be a sign of various types of lung disease. Nail clubbing is also associated with inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, liver disease and AIDS.

Any irregularities in your nails may not be just superficial but could be a sign of something amiss within your body. Noticeable changes in your nails can be indicative of a wide range of health issues from the lack of certain nutrients in your diet as well as the possibility of early stages of more serious ailments. Regular checks of your the nails and the nail beds should be a standard part of your health checkups. To keep your nails healthy, ensure you have a balanced diet with plenty of iron (leafy vegetables, red meat, nuts), zinc (dark chocolate, peanuts) and Vitamin B12 (eggs, cheese) and consider supplements if your doctor finds any nutrients levels to be lower than what it should be.

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