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Nail Diseases, Disorders, and Conditions: Listen to What Your Nails Tell You

Schatzie has bachelor's degrees in animal science and English and a master's in education.

Think Again

Think twice the next time you are tempted to scoff at an alarmed individual who breaks a nail. The event may signal much more than the need for another manicure. Unhealthy and readily breakable nails indicate a variety of health compromising conditions including chronic bronchitis, thyroid disorders, and vitamin and mineral imbalances (Editors of Rodale Health Books Healing With Vitamins).

Read on for a list of nail abnormalities and the different diseases and/or disorders associated with them.

STRUCTURAL NAIL ABNORMALITIES

BRITTLE NAILS

  • Chronic Hepatitis (2)
  • Fungal Infection (17)
  • Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism (2, 4, 8)
  • Kidney Disorders (18)
  • Low Stomach Acid (13)
  • Malnutrition (2)
  • Omega 3 Oil Deficiency (14, 18)
  • Poor Circulation (18)
  • Vitamin A Toxicity (12)


BUMPY/BEADING NAILS {picture}

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (1)

CLUBBING/CURLED NAILS AROUND FINGER

  • Abnormal Heart Anatomy (4, 8, 24)
  • Cancer (3, 4, 8, 24)
  • Cardiovascular Disease (3, 5)
  • Chronic Bronchitis (24)
  • Fistulas (24)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (5, 24)
  • Liver Disease (5, 24)
  • Lung Disease: Asbestosis, Cystic Fibrosis, Emphysema, Tuberculosis (3, 4, 5, 8, 22, 24)

FLAT NAILS {picture}

  • Raynaud's Disease (1)

HORIZONTAL DEPRESSIONS (BEAU'S LINES) {picture}

  • Autoimmune Disease: Pemphigus (24)
  • Cardiac Problems (15)
  • Circulatory Disease: Raynaud's Disease (5, 24)
  • Malnutrition (4, 5, 8)
  • Severe Illness: Measles, Mumps, Pneumonia, Scarlet fever (2, 4, 5, 8)
  • Uncontrolled Diabetes (5)


HORIZONTAL RIDGES {picture}

  • Arsenic Poisoning (4, 8)


NAIL PITTING/DEPRESSIONS {picture}

  • Autoimmune Disease: Alopecia Areata, Reiter's Syndrome (5, 24)
  • Chronic Dermatitis: Ichen Planus, Incontinentia Pigmenti, Psoriasis (4, 5, 8, 21, 24)
listen-to-what-your-nails-tell-you

SEPARATION NAIL FROM NAIL BED (ONYCHOLYSIS)

  • Acidosis (24)
  • Amyloidosis (24)
  • Connective Tissue Disorders (24)
  • Hyperthyroidism (2, 4, 8, 24)
  • Hypothyroidism (2,4,8)
  • Inflammatory disease: Lichen Planus, Psoriasis (5, 8, 20, 24)
  • Infection (5, 24)
  • Thyroid Disease (5)


SPOON SHAPED/CONCAVE NAILS (KOILONYCHIA) {picture}

  • Hemochromatoisis (19)
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia (1, 3, 4, 5)
  • Nail Patella Syndrome (24)
  • Raynaud’s Disease (24)
  • System Lupus Erythematosus (24)


VERTICAL RIDGES {picture}

  • Iron deficiency (1, 18)
  • Poor digestion and absorption of food (10, 18)
  • Poor protein metabolism (18)


NAIL COLORATION ABNORMALITIES


BLACK/BLACKISH BLUE NAILS {picture}

  • Malignant Melanoma (9)


BLUE NAILS (AZURE LUNULA) {picture}

  • Silver Intake (4, 8)
  • Wilson’s Disease (24)


GREEN NAILS {picture}

  • Bacterial Infection (1, 16)
  • Fungal Infection (1)
  • Lactobacilli Deficiency (1)


HALF WHITE/HALF PINK NAILS (LINDSAY'S NAILS) {picture}

  • Chronic Kidney Disease (1)

RED/REDDISH BROWN STREAKS IN NAIL BED (SPLINTER HEMORRHAGES)

  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome (24)
  • Heart Valve Infection (4)
  • Malignancies (24)
  • Microemboli (7)
  • Peptic Ulcer Disease (24)
  • Psoriasis (3)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (24)
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (24)
  • Vessel Damage (7)

WHITE NAILS WITH BROWN BAND AT TIPS (TERRY'S NAILS) {picture}

  • Cogenitive Heart Failure (5)
  • Diabetes (5)
  • Hyperthyroidism (24)
  • Liver Disease (3, 5)
  • Malnutrition (5)


WHITE SPOTS (LEUKONYCHIA)

  • Low Thyroid Function (3)
  • Pyroluria (23)
  • Zinc Deficiency (1, 3)


WIDE SQUARE NAILS

  • Hormonal Disorders (1, 16)
  • Thyroid Disease (3)


YELLOW NAILS {picture}

  • AIDS (25)
  • Chronic Bronchitis (5)
  • Immunodeficiency (24)
  • Jaundice (25)
  • Lymphedema (5)
  • Nephrotic Syndrome (24)
  • Raynaud’s Disease (24)
  • Respiratory Illness (3, 5)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (24)
  • Sinusitis (24)
  • Thyroid Gland Inflammation (24)

SOURCES

1. Phyllis A. Balch, CNC,

Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food

Supplements

2. Phyllis A. Balch, CNC,

Prescription for Herbal Healing: An Easy-to-Use A-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies

3. Joseph E. Mario,

Anti-Aging Manual: The Encyclopedia of Natural

Health

4. Medline Plus accessed at

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003247.htm

5. Mayo Clinic accessed at

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nails/WO00055

6. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology accessed at

http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/onycholysis.html

7. Medline Plus accessed at

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003283.htm

8. University of Maryland Medical System accessed at

http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/003247.htm

9. Medline Plus accessed at

http://m.medlineplus.gov/ency/imagepages/2439.htm

10. Andreas Moritz,

The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse: An All-Natural, At-Home Flush to Purify and Rejuvenate Your Body

11. Phyllis A. Balch, CNC,

Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Heal

12. Abram Hoffer, PhD, MD, FRCP(C) and Dr. Jonathan Prousjy, DPHE, DSC, ND, FRSH,

Naturopathic Nutrition: A Guide to Nutrient-rich Food & Nutritional Supplements for Optimum Health

13. Abram Hoffer, PhD, MD, FRCP(C) and Dr. Jonathan Prousjy, DPHE, DSC, ND, FRSH,

Naturopathic Nutrition: A Guide to Nutrient-rich Food & Nutritional Supplements for Optimum Health

14. Sidney MacDonald Baker, Karen Baar,

The Circadian Prescription: Get in Step with Your Body's Natural Rhythms to Maximize Energy, Vitality, Longevity

15. Sydney Walker III, M.D.,

A Dose of Sanity: Mind, Medicine, and Misdiagnosis

16. Larry Trivieri, Jr.

Alternative Medicine the Definitive Guide, Second Edition

17. Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D.,

Earl Mindell's Secret Remedies

18. Larry Trivieri, Jr.,

Alternative Medicine the Definitive Guide, Second Edition

19. Marshall Editions,

1000 Cures for 200 Ailments: Integrated Alternative and Conventional Treatments for the Most Common Illnesses

20. Joan Liebmann-Smith, Ph. D., and Jacqueline Nardi Egan,

Body Signs: From Warning Signs to False Alarms...How to Be Your Own Diagnostic Detective

21. Dermatlas.org accessed at

http://dermatlas.med.jhmi.edu/derm/result.cfm?Diagnosis=-946037564

22. Joan Liebmann-Smith, Ph. D., and Jacqueline Nardi Egan,

Body Signs: From Warning Signs to False Alarms...How to Be Your Own Diagnostic Detective

23. Jack Challem,

Feed Your Genes Right: Eat to Turn Off Disease-Causing Genes and Slow Down Aging

24. American Family Physician accessed at

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0315/p1417.html

25. Joan Liebmann-Smith, Ph. D., and Jacqueline Nardi Egan,

Body Signs: From Warning Signs to False Alarms...How to Be Your Own Diagnostic Detective

Comments

Rebecca Sutton from Rock Hill, SC on August 02, 2014:

Oh, my God! This was an amazing article! I suffer from various problems and have vertical ridges and blackish reddish stripes in one of my nails that keeps splitting down the middle. I am so glad I finally found so info on this and can ask my doctor without sounding crazy. You have done a great service, thanks!

avinash Malhotra on July 27, 2014:

Thanks a lot for information with pictures of nails. Would u please tell me my left thumb is brown,black with vertical line in the centre of my thumb.Is there any remedy? I am taking Zocon 150 from Dec. 2013. Please reply.

Skip on June 01, 2014:

How enlightening, in a format that's effortlessly understandable, and universally relevant, since the appearance of nails can apparently be a window into physical health. Thanks and kudos to the creator!

Jorge on April 08, 2014:

it saddens me that it resulted me either having Rheumatoid Arthritis and/or Psoriasis. *sighs* It's time to go see the doctor soon.

http://repetidorwifi.blogspot.com.es/p/antena-wifi...

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on March 25, 2014:

Neat hub :) !!! I was looking at the pictures and my nails after each one. I am in the medical field and knew about a few of these. I did find the one that I have. It is very common to have a few little white spots in the nail from time to time and I get those, but they go away. Zinc or vitamin defiency is the most probable cause like in your hub. However, I did not know low thyroid function could be the culprit either. Thank you so much on taking the time to write such an interesting and engaging hub. Have a wonderful week ! :)

krazzyK from silicon city on March 15, 2014:

A very informative hub... Thanks for posting. Keep up the work..

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on January 29, 2014:

You've presented a comprehensive list of possible ailments that might be revealed by our fingernails. This makes complete sense. Our appendages can tell so much about our health. We studied about diseases and fungus that nails could develop in Cosmetology school but not to this extent.

JC Heppler from USA on November 11, 2013:

Some of those pictures creeped me out. I don't have any problems with my nails, I just thought it would be a good read.

Sadness on October 23, 2013:

It is quite disturbing looking at some of these photos and the possible diagnosis. I have dot dents and what appears to look like dot dents leading to horizontal ridges. I am a single mother, it saddens me that it resulted me either having Rheumatoid Arthritis and/or Psoriasis. *sighs* It's time to go see the doctor soon.

William on October 20, 2013:

It would be nice if a picture would be given for each specific problem

Meagan Elaine on October 14, 2013:

Wow i had no idea nails. revealed so much. i recently stopped bitting ny nails after 30 years so far they are healthy but now i have the information if they show signs of anything unusual . thank you so much for this info

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 14, 2013:

Fascinating information here. When my grandmother went to her doctor, he told her he did not want her wearing colored nail polish on her toes or fingers because she has multiple health problems and when she comes in for a visit, it precludes him from noticing important health signs. With all the health conditions you present here, I imagine so!

Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on October 03, 2013:

I know from experience that the ridges are malnutrition as I have experienced in in my life when I was not eating well. The poor protein absorption is one I did not know about, thanks for all the handy info.

iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on October 02, 2013:

This is really an informative article. We may be able to "diagnose" ourselves by just looking at our nails. Thanks for sharing. Up, useful, sharing

Bernadyn from Jacksonville, Florida on July 05, 2013:

Very useful hub, I've been told that nails could signal health deficiencies before and this is an informative way to show that. I'll be pinning and sharing this, voted up!

idigwebsites from United States on July 05, 2013:

Wow, this is really amazing... I look at my own nails. The vertical ridges (although not as obvious as pictured here) might suggest of my low blood pressure.

I was a bit shocked to see some of the nails... like the clubbing/curled nails. They're like talons.

Thanks for posting. Voted up, useful... passing this on, so that many more people will be informed about this. :)

Schatzie Speaks (author) on November 05, 2012:

Hi Ginjill,

Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad you found the hub helpful but I'm sorry to hear about the final diagnosis. I hope you are getting any treatment you need and I wish you the best.

Schatzie

Ashley TKL on September 25, 2012:

Hi Schatzie Speaks,

This is a very helpful hub. Thank you. You hit 'bingo' about my nails, heart failure:)

Schatzie Speaks (author) on February 21, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by, daviddwarren22! Just remember that daily nail check and you should be good to go! ;)

Schatzie Speaks (author) on February 21, 2012:

Thank you so much, Lenore. It was quite a project, but the results are more than worth it.

Schatzie Speaks (author) on February 21, 2012:

Thank you, jberens43! Yes, you should! I'm sure she would appreciate it! :D

Schatzie Speaks (author) on February 21, 2012:

Thats great to hear, Worldofwow1992! I'm glad you were able to identify the cause and that you are seeing improvements! :)

Schatzie Speaks (author) on February 21, 2012:

haha, yes! the day the body develops a voice is the day i will invest in a nice set of earplugs. especially as i just drank a sugar-and-fat-filled coffee and am contemplating eating a maple glazed donut!

Worldofwow1992 from Michigan on February 13, 2012:

This hub is so useful! I've had both ridges and white spots on my nails. These show up in times where I am not following all my health rules up to par and I can tell. I began taking blackstrap molasses to help my iron levels and my nails have improved drastically. Thanks for this Schatzie!

naturalsolutions on September 18, 2011:

If only our nails can speak even just few words. I think those nails will complain to the person who have them.LOL

It is really a great info, i thought nails are not so important but i was wrong.

Glassy from Aus on July 01, 2011:

Great info. I keep looking at my nails now. I have a white spec on one nail only and tiny indents on both thumbs and very small ridges which are only so slight.

jberens43 from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 29, 2011:

wow this is interesting..Need to look into this for my lady:)

Lenore Robinson from Delaware on June 29, 2011:

Excellent information, great presentation. Thanks for resourcing all this information into one place! Well done.

daviddwarren22 on June 27, 2011:

Excellent hub!It's new to my ears that nails'appearances have corresponding disorders or diseases. I must be careful.Thanks for sharing.

Schatzie Speaks (author) on June 10, 2011:

I'm glad you liked it, ICollier!

Schatzie Speaks (author) on June 10, 2011:

Thank you, SUSIE405. Those are truly great compliments, I really appreciate them. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Schatzie Speaks (author) on June 10, 2011:

Thank you so much, Fucsia!

I'm glad the pictures help, I hoped they would! Thank you also for your vote and for stopping by. :)

ICollier on June 07, 2011:

Great article...

SUSIE405 from Delray Beach, Florida on June 02, 2011:

Very well researched and presented. Well written.

fucsia on May 26, 2011:

Very useful Hub. Nails can tell us more than we think! The pictures are useful to understand better.

Voted Up/Useful

Thanks for sharing!

Schatzie Speaks (author) on May 25, 2011:

Thank you RTalloni. I do hope it helps people!

RTalloni on May 23, 2011:

Nicely done and important. Thanks for posting this information.

Schatzie Speaks (author) on May 22, 2011:

Thank you, Happyboomernurse.

Organization was tricky with this one and took me awhile to figure out!

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on May 21, 2011:

Great article about an important health topic. Love the way you illustrated this article and kept the information clear and concise.

Schatzie Speaks (author) on May 11, 2011:

Thank you for your comment, Midnightbliss. I too found the information very useful. It was all much too interesting not to write a hub about!

Haydee Anderson from Hermosa Beach on May 03, 2011:

bookmarked. I never thought nails could reveal so much information on our health.

Schatzie Speaks (author) on May 02, 2011:

I'm glad you liked it, Mrkterhune, and thanks for your comment. :)

mrkterhune on May 02, 2011:

WOw. this is great, Thanks for information.

Schatzie Speaks (author) on May 01, 2011:

Thank you so much for your comment, Tsmog. Wow, and I'm sure glad you got that analysis done!

Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on May 01, 2011:

wow, so much information. But, one caught my eye. BLUE NAILS (AZURE LUNULA) {picture} Silver Intake (4, 8). I have a big toe nail with that and been there for awhile. Recently I had a hair analysis completed by Dr. Janet Hull. It reveals that I was near toxic levels of silver. Now, I feel there is more proof to the pudding. Thanks!!! I am going to come back and bookmark this hub

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