The old adage which says that your nails are a sign of your health is not entirely untrue. Though you can’t depend just on your nails to get a status on your health, in many cases, the condition of your nails does indicate an underlying health problem.
Nail Problems You Need To Know About Before You Jump The Gun
1. Spoon Nails (Koilonychia)
Spoon nails is a condition where your nails begin curving up. It’s the kind of nail growth that should definitely concern you. If your nails become thin and concave in shape, it’s usually a sign of iron deficiency, also known as anemia. Fortunately, the solution is relatively easy. You need to take a supplement to get some extra iron into your body. But do not self-medicate. There could be other reasons why your nails are curving and a doctor can only be sure once he conducts the necessary tests.
2. Yellow Nails
If you see one fine day that your nails have turned yellow, do not be alarmed. The culprit could be your nail polish. But there could be other more serious reasons too, like diabetes, which means you should talk to your doctor immediately. You could also be suffering from Yellow Nail Syndrome, a condition where the nail thickens, turns yellow, and growth slows. This could signal that you have a respiratory disease like bronchitis.
3. Brittle Nails (Onychoschizia)
The main cause of brittle nails is dryness. Using nail polish remover regularly, washing dishes frequently without gloves, or swimming could lead to nail brittleness. Also, if you’re in a profession like photographic development, where you need to handle chemicals, your nails could go brittle. Brittle nails could also be a symptom of hypothyroidism. Sometimes, you can blame it on the weather. Cold, dry winds during fall and winter could make your nails dry along with your skin.
4. Lifting Nails (Onycholysis)
This could be an occupational hazard. Health-care professionals, chefs, and bartenders may find that their fingernails separate from their nail bed. While it sounds painful, the reason could be irritation because of overexposure to water. Nail glues, an aggressive manicure, or nail hardeners may also have a similar effect. If you notice color changes from opaque white to green, or yellow, it could signal thyroid disease, psoriasis, or infection post an injury. Make sure to keep your hands dry and visit your doctor if you see color changes.
This is a serious one. Clubbing is a condition where your nails seem softer and the tips of your fingers look like they are bulging. This bulging is the result of an increase in tissue around the ends of your fingers, usually where the nail curves. This tissue buildup could be caused by low oxygen levels in your blood, an indicator of lung disease. However, there could be several other reasons like liver disease, AIDS, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. So schedule a visit with your doctor immediately.
6. White Spots
Traditionally, most people believe that the appearance of white spots on your nails has to do with some form of deficiency, more specifically, calcium deficiency. According to dermatologists, there is no scientific basis for this belief and there could be a number of reasons why white spot appear on your nails. And none of those reasons have anything to do with deficiencies.
The most common cause is trauma to the nail or to the matrix, a layer of cells at the base of your fingernail responsible for building the nail. If your nail-manufacturing cells are damaged, white spots could show up on the nail. Another reason could be nail polish that can partially break down the nail plate. However, if the white spots are powdery, it could be because of a fungal infection.
7. Pitting Nails
Nail pitting is caused by defective development of the layers of the superficial nail plate. It is common in people with psoriasis and can affect up to 50% of people suffering from this condition. It can also happen to people who suffer from alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease in which there is hair loss from some or all areas of the body, usually from the scalp. Doctors usually prescribe creams with vitamin A, vitamin D, or steroid creams.
8. Vertical Ridges
Actually, there’s nothing weird about this one. The thin vertical lines that run up your nail are perfectly normal. They occur due to aging. Just as your skin begins to wrinkle, the nail lines are a sign of age and aren’t really a cause for concern.