Just as your eyes are windows to your soul, your nails can be a mirror of your general health. So having firm nails is more than just a way to endure your nail polish stays on.
In fact, nails can serve as a valuable diagnostic tool. You just need to learn to use it!
Dermatologist Debra Jaliman, the author of Skin Rules, writes about the most common nail abnormalities and what they could be telling you about your health.
Here are all the things your nails could be telling you:
1. Yellow nails.
Discoloration is sometimes just the stain left behind by a dark nail or a side effect of smoking cigarettes.
But it can also indicate a fungal infection or diabetes. If your symptoms also include the thickening of the nail plate and slowed growth, a respiratory disease, like bronchitis, might also be to blame.
2. Split or cracked nails.
A combination of splitting and cracking nails can be due to a fungal infection. And if the splitting is not related to damage from chemicals like such as household cleansers, it could be a sign of thyroid disease.
Splitting nails may be caused by hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland is underactive and doesn’t produce enough hormones. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include weakness, fatigue, unintentional weight gain, joint pain and heavy menstrual periods.
3. Nail pitting.
Small depressions in the shape of dots appear on the nail surface of up to 50 percent of people with psoriasis. It can also occur in people with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss.
Any spots or dents on your nails should be reason enough to consult your doctor.
4. Rippled nails.
The surface of your fingernail should be smooth. If you detect ripples or pitting developing, this may be an early warning of psoriasis, eczema or inflammatory arthritis.
Iron deficiency anemia can also trigger vertical ridges and changes to your nails that make them concave, or spoon-shaped.
Deficiencies in calcium, zinc or vitamin A can also be the culprit of ridges in fingernails.
5. Dark lines or discolorations.
This type of change to your nails can be cause for concern. Dark lines beneath the nail can be due to an injury in which blood can clot underneath the nail and cause dark lines to form. If it is not due to an injury, it should be looked into as soon as possible.
It can be a sign of cancer! Dark lines beneath the nail should be investigated as soon as possible. They are sometimes caused by melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
6. Bitten nails.
People who bite their nails probably suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
It doesn’t mean that all nail-biters are mental cases. However, if you notice this habit getting out of hand, it’s best to consult with your doctor.
7. Blue nails.
If your nails have a bluish color, it means your body is not getting enough oxygen. Possible reasons for this include lung and heart problems.
If it keeps happening, don’t hesitate to see your doctor.
8. White spots.
There’s a myth that white spotting on the nails is a sign of calcium deficit. However, it’s not the case.
White spots are not a cause for concern. Mostly it’s a result of mechanical injury, such as bumping your finger against a hard surface.
Have you ever experienced any of these symptoms?