Ten things your nails can tell you about your health

The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but your nails can offer an important glimpse into your overall health!

 

Turns out that having strong, healthy nails isn’t just good news for your manicure – unpleasant nail symptoms could also indicate bigger health problems.

 

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Ten nail symptoms you shouldn’t ignore

#1: Yellow nails

Yellow nails could be due to nail polishes, acrylic nails or smoking. The only way you’ll get rid of the yellow hue is by giving them a chance to recover.

#2: Dry or cracked nails

This is a common issue. Possible causes include swimming, overuse of nail polish remover, exposure to chemicals, frequent dishwashing without gloves or living in a low-humidity environment. If your dry or cracked nails are an ongoing problem, speak to your doctor – sometimes hypothyroidism (a condition where the thyroid works too slowly) can cause this side effect, too.

#3: Clubbing of the nails

Clubbing – when the ends of your gingers swell and your nail becomes rounded and curved – can sometimes be a sign of liver or kidney disease. Speak to your doctor if you’re experiencing this.

#4: White spots

Many people think that white spots indicate a calcium deficiency, but this isn’t typically the case. They’re more often the result of a minor trauma, such as if you whack your finger against something.

#5: Horizontal ridges

Horizontal ridges on your nails are typically the result of direct trauma to your nail or a more serious illness, in which case you’ll see it on more than one nail at a time. The reason behind this? When your body is working overtime to combat an illness, it saves energy for the important stuff. It basically says, “I’ve got better things to do than make nails” and pauses their growth.

#6: Vertical ridges

This is usually a very normal sign of ageing. Just like fine lines and wrinkles on your face, you also get lines on your nails as you age.

#7: Severely bitten nails

Nail-biting is a common habit, but if it’s excessive, it could be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder. If this sounds like you, you might need to consult a psychiatrist to prescribe you medicine to treat your OCD-related nail-biting.

#8: Spoon nails

Spoon nails refer to a very thin nail that’s become concave in shape. It’s usually a sign of iron deficiency anaemia. If you’re experiencing this, speak to your doctor. It can be easily treated with iron supplements.

#9: Pitting

Speak to your doctor immediately if your nails are covered with pits or dents, as this could be a sign that you have psoriasis.

#10: Dark stripes

If you have black discolouration on your nails or a painful growth on a nail, see your doctor right away. Melanoma that comes from the nail unit is very serious, and can sometimes cause black lines or stripes to appear on the nail.

How healthy are your nails?

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