Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but nails can offer an important glimpse into your overall health. It turns out, having strong, healthy nails isn’t just good news for your manicure—unpleasant nail symptoms could also indicate bigger health problems. Go through things your fingernails reveal about your health.
Things your Fingernails Reveal about your Health
Clubbing describes when your fingertips become enlarged and the nail becomes curved downward. It can be a sign of low oxygen in your blood and is associated with lung disease. Clubbing can also be related to liver or kidney disease, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease.
Yellow nails could be due to a number of things, such as nail fungus, psoriasis, or stains from smoking. On a lighter note, your affection for dark nail polish could also be to blame.
If the yellowing persists, gets worse, or is accompanied by pain, it could be a fungal infection. Yellowing is also seen in psoriasis patients, as a side effect of certain medications, and a result of a rare condition called yellow nails syndrome.
This nail deformity is not subtle, and definitely weird-looking enough to catch your attention. “Spoon nails,” are most commonly due to an iron deficiency. In this case, the nail gets so thin that it actually becomes concave (as if it could hold a drop of water).
Pitting and Grooving
Depressions and small cracks in your nails are known as “pitting” of the nail bed and are often associated with psoriasis, an inflammatory disease that leads to scaly or red patches all over the body. Individuals who suffer from psoriasis develop clusters of cells along the nail bed that accumulate and disrupt the linear, smooth growth of a normal nail.
Dry, Cracked or Brittle Nails
Lifestyle factors may play a role here, such as if you have your hands in water a lot (washing dishes, swimming, etc.), use nail polish remover frequently, are exposed to chemicals (such as cleaning products) often, or live in a region with low humidity.
Cracking and splitting can also be caused by a fungal infection or thyroid disease, particularly hypothyroidism. Brittle nails may also be due to a deficiency in vitamins A and C or the B vitamin biotin.
Many people believe that white spots on nails indicate a calcium deficiency, but this isn’t typically the case. They’re often the result of minor trauma, such as if you whack your finger against something, and aren’t generally to do with calcium.
One of important things your fingernails reveal about your health, if you notice vertical ridges and roughness appearing in your nails that you didn’t have a few years ago, it’s probably nothing more than a side effect of aging. If the ridges seem particularly severe, or they pop up out of the blue, check in with your doctor to make sure there’s not something else at play.