If you think that your fingernails are only meant to make your hands look pretty with all the fancy nail art, then this write-up is going to be an eye-opener for you. Your fingernails say so much about your overall health and nutrition intake. They display certain warning signs that most people generally overlook. Let us look at these signs and understand what they can say about your health.
Naturally, human nails have a pinkish pigment. But if your nails are yellow, then there may be some serious underlying health condition that you should not overlook. Yellowing of nails may be a result of vitamin or mineral deficiency in your body. If that is the case, consider taking the required supplements or consuming food rich in those nutrients. Another common cause behind yellow nails is having a fungal infection. Get yourself checked by a dermatologist if that is the case because neglecting may cause the condition to worsen. In some sporadic cases, yellow nails may result from diabetes, a disease in the lungs, jaundice, thyroid, etc.
Yellow-colored nails can be treated using natural aids like tea tree oil or Vitamin E, which will help tackle the infection. Otherwise, consulting a doctor would be the most beneficial.
Have you ever wondered about those random, vaguely scattered white spots on your fingernails? Well, it’s probably because of a zinc deficiency. Fight this deficiency by incorporating whole grains, nuts, and beans into your diet as they are rich in zinc. Another reason behind these white spots could be a nail injury in the past. This injury may occur due to nail-biting, mishandling during a manicure, abnormal pressure on the nails, etc. When the nail bed gets injured, it causes white spots to appear on the nails. Such an injury is common among children and teens as they are prone to hurting themselves unknowingly. In some instances, the white spots may be a symptom of serious illness such as diabetes, eczema, kidney disease, etc.
If the spots are appearing due to an underlying illness, then only a doctor can treat it. However, if it is due to an injury, then your nails will naturally recover with time.
Brittle nails are usually paired with extreme dryness, resulting in a lack of moisture in that region. This lack of moisture can take place due to washing and drying your hands too many times. Sometimes, brittle nails can be a side effect of overusing nail polish remover or dishwasher. Another common cause of brittle nails is iron deficiency. If your body is not getting enough iron, you need to take active measures to incorporate iron-rich food such as leafy vegetables, seafood, and peas in your diet. Hypothyroidism can also result in brittle nails and other symptoms like heavy body weight, hair loss, etc.
Brittle nails can be treated using a hand moisturizer that will keep dryness away and protect your hands by using hand gloves while cleaning, washing, etc. To keep certain risk factors away, check with a doctor for other underlying diseases.
A single, narrow, vertical line on your fingernails can prove to be more harmful than you think. It is called ‘splinter hemorrhage’ and it may occur due to many reasons. Such a condition takes place when the blood vessels under your nails are damaged or clotted. You can identify this condition by noticing sure signs such as a reddish-black line that does not change its place after applying external pressure on it, and it appears at a couple of places on a single nail. ‘Splinter Hemorrhage’ may be a cause of nail fungus, kidney or lung diseases, etc. Another condition in which thick and horizontal stripes appear on the nails are called beau’s lines. They may be a symptom of cancer named’ subungual melanoma.
Therefore, if you see such lines on your nails, see a doctor as soon as you can to ensure precise diagnosis and treatment.
Ridges may look like waves on your nails appearing vertically or horizontally due to various reasons. Vertical ridges can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia and can make your nails look concave. If vertical ridges are accompanied by color and texture change, it may be a medical concern and should be checked immediately. Horizontal ridges are also known as beau’s lines, and these are of more serious concern as they could be a symptom of mumps, syphilis, diabetes, etc. Sometimes, chemotherapy can also cause these lines to occur.
These ridges can be prevented by ensuring adequate consumption of healthy food to control all the deficiencies. But suppose you see ridges on your nails even after having a nutritionally sound diet. In that case, it may be a serious issue that needs to be addressed by a medical professional.
Often, people notice a semi-circular shape at the bottom of their fingernail, just above the cuticle. It is called a lunula, and it contains the blood vessels, lymph, etc. Some people don’t have it because the lunula gets hidden or faded under the skin. But if it is a case of complete disappearance of the lunula on your fingernails, then it may be a subject of concern. It may be a sign of malnutrition, anemia, or depression. Especially if you experience signs of dizziness, anxiety, or even weight gain for that matter, you should see a doctor soon.
Moreover, if your lunula turns red, then it may be a case of heart failure or other heart ailments. Be sure to keep a check on your nails if you are prone to heart injuries.
Ideally, your nails are supposed to be stiff and uptight. Finding your nails getting bent easily is a sign of carelessness when it comes to nail care. Sometimes the nail just gets broken by applying the slightest force. All these conditions result from overusing chemicals in the form of moisturizer, nail polish remover, detergent, etc. Specific nail treatments may also result in the nails’ softening as the chemicals may harmfully affect the nail bed. Weak nails can also result from a deficiency of calcium, vitamin B, or iron.
If your nails are weak due to a deficiency, they can be strengthened by consuming multivitamin supplements. Apart from that, ensure healthy nail care by avoiding chemically concentrated topical creams, detergents, etc.
Now that we know about the various signs that your fingernails show let us clearly understand what healthy nails look like.
Healthy fingernails are smooth but not too soft and bendy. They have a uniform color, a natural pinkish shade, and they do not have any random spots or discoloration signs. Healthy nails are free from pits, grooves, and brittle surfaces. They are even in both- texture and color.
Here are some tips to have healthy nails:
- Always keep your nails clean.
- Moisturize often but not too much.
- Trim them occasionally.
- Avoid overexposure to chemical substances.
- Ensure a nutritionally sound diet.
- Take all the vital supplements.
- Avoid using acetone concentrated nail polish remover.
- Always apply a protective layer on the top.
- Know about biotin supplements by consulting a doctor.
- Hydrate your nails with coconut oil occasionally.
- Prefer natural nail polish over artificial ones.
Your fingernails can tell a lot about your physical health, which is why keeping a check on them is essential. Besides, having some basic knowledge about the various warning signs shown by your nails is also of utmost importance. Such background knowledge will help you understand your body and the underlying health conditions related to it. On seeing abrupt and unnatural signs on your fingernails, be sure to check with the doctor as it could be due to a much serious issue.
Know your nails and their relation with the rest of the body so that even in case of severe health issues, you can get them diagnosed and treated before things go out of hand. Eat the right food, take your supplements, and keep your nails clean to ensure their complete health and hygiene.