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What do Your Nails say About Your Health?

Fredda Branyon has dedicated her life to the advancement of complementary medicine.


When it comes to your health, your nails hold a lot of information that can determine whether you have an infection, a severe disease, or even how well you eat.

Are you paying attention to the signals your nails are sending you? Apart from letting you know if you need a manicure, your nails can tell a lot about your overall health since diseases that affect your whole body can also impact your blood flow, growth patterns, or the shape of your nails before any other symptoms may occur.

When it comes to your health, your nails hold a lot of information that can determine whether you have an infection, a severe disease, or even how well you eat. Keep reading to discover what changes in your nails indicate about your overall health.

What do changes in your nails mean?

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  • Pale Nails - Several serious illnesses can cause pale nails, such as anemia, congestive heart failure, liver disease, or malnutrition.
  • White Nails - White nails with dark rims indicate liver disease or hepatitis.
  • Yellow Nails - The most common cause of yellow nails is a fungal infection, which can cause the nail bed to retract with thickening and crumbling nails. More severe conditions associated with yellow nails include thyroid diseases, lung disease, diabetes, and psoriasis.
  • Bluish Nails - Having a bluish tint could mean that you’re not getting enough oxygen. Your lungs might have a problem such as emphysema or even a heart problem.
  • Rippled Nails - Nails can display early signs of psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis by rippling, pitting, and discoloration. Usually, the skin under the nails can also appear reddish brown.
  • Cracked or Split Nails - You might have thyroid disease if your nails are dry, brittle, cracked, or split frequently. This is more likely a fungal infection if combined with a yellowish hue.
  • Nail Fold - The skin around the nail fold can appear red and puffy when inflamed, which could be caused by lupus or another connective tissue disorder. An infection can also cause redness and inflammation.
  • Dark Lines Beneath The Nails - Dark lines under the nails should be checked by a professional as soon as possible. This may be a sign of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
  • Gnawed Nails - Some people bite their nails out of habit, but in some cases, this could be a sign of persistent anxiety and might benefit from treatment. Picking or biting your nails may also indicate an obsessive-compulsive disorder. You should seek a professional if you’re unable to stop.

There is more to nail changes than what meets the eye. Although these abnormalities are sometimes symptoms of various conditions, they are rarely the first signs. If you notice something unusual or new, consult with your doctor or dermatologist as soon as possible. The underlying condition can be treated and save your nails or even your life. Make sure you pay attention to all the messages your body is trying to send you, and stay safe, healthy, and happy!

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