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10 Nail Symptoms And What They Mean For Your Health

The color, shape, and texture of the nails can reveal a lot about our health. These signs might even indicate a serious health issue and diseases.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology:

“The state of our health, in general, can often be seen through our nails. Some unpleasant and quick changes in your nails, like thickening or discoloration, these signals may be sent due to some diseases like diabetes, liver or kidney diseases, and lung and heart conditions as well.”

You need to know the 10 nail symptoms and their meaning:

  1. Cracked, Brittle or Dry Nails

The splitting and cracking of nails might be a result of exposure to chemicals, the common use of nail polish remover, living in a low humidity area, or often having your hands in water.

Other possible causes include fungal infections, thyroid disease, vitamin A and C deficiency, or biotin deficiency.

  1. White Spots

White spots are caused by stress and trauma, and in some cases, they indicate a fungal infection.

  1. White Nails with a Strip of Pink

You might suffer from a liver disease, a heart failure, diabetes, or a kidney failure, if your nails have gone white and have pink strips.

  1. Yellow Nails

Aging, smoking, and using nail polish too often can make your nails yellow. Yet, if they are thick and crumbly, you might suffer from a simple fungal infection. Other potential reasons are diabetes, respiratory diseases, thyroid diseases or even psoriasis.

  1. Pitting

The multiple pits on the nails might indicate psoriasis. According to Chen: “Mostly this situation so-called “pitting” occurs in people that are dealing with psoriasis or in 80% of the people that are having psoriatic arthritis.”  Yet, this might also be a sign of connective tissue disorders and alopecia areata.

  1. Clubbing

This condition is characterized by enlarged fingertips, and nails growing downwards and is a result of low oxygen supplies in the blood and lungs. Hence, this is a sign of kidney issues, heart diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, or even AIDS.

  1. Vertical Ridges

This is a more common symptom in the elderly and is caused by the aging process. Yet, in some cases, this might also be a sign of magnesium or vitamin B12 deficiency.

8. Spoon Nails

If your nails have started to curve upwards on the edge, you are lacking iron in the body or you are suffering from a heart disease or hypothyroidism.

9. Dark Discolorations

In this case, you should visit your doctor and check if the dark streaks on the nails indicate melanoma.

According to Dr. Poblete-Lopez, it is not always possible to prevent the underlying conditions that lead to the changes in the nails. However, eating a well-balanced diet and keeping the body properly hydrated will keep the nails healthy.

Moreover, make sure you consume foods rich in zinc, and vitamin B.

Here are some other useful nail care tips:

  • Avoid nail polish and artificial nails
  • Protect the nails from too much water or excessive exposure to chemicals
  • Keep the nails short and trimmed
  • Rub some organic coconut oil on the nails to supply them with the needed nutrients, and keep them hydrated, and strong

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