Do your nails have spots, lines or bumps? If your answer is a yes, then a visit to the dermatologist is on your cards. Most of us only give a thought to our nails when they have grown too long or need coloring. But our nails are actually not just meant to beautify the ends of our fingers and toes but give out important information about your state of health.
Here are some common nail conditions that may be a health warning in disguise.
Also known as Beau’s lines, nails that have horizontal ridges are associated with extreme physical stress or psychological trauma. They usually become apparent after 3-6 months of the incident and are also commonly found to occur after a chemotherapy. In this condition, the stressor can cause our matrix cells, which are responsible for producing new nail material to temporarily stop working. These indented lines can also signal diabetes, lupus erythematosus, hypothyroidism, high fever, mumps, pneumonia and problems in blood circulation. Due to this, horizontal ridges are often found in high divers and Everest expeditioners. Generally, they indicate an iron and zinc deficiency.
Depressions or dents on the surface of nails can indicate eczema, arthritis which is a disease of the joints or even psoriasis that leads to skin inflammation. These small pits on the nails may also be a reaction to a certain drug.
This problem in known in the medical world as Koilonychia. In this condition, nails become excessively thin and look like they are scooping outwards, resembling a spoon. Spoon nails are signals for iron deficiency or anemia. Iron deficiency can lead to stomach ulcers, hemorrhoids and gastrointestinal bleeding. Since iron is important for haemoglobin production, this condition is also a signal for low blood oxygen. However, contrastingly, Koilonychia is also associated with Hemochromatosis, a condition that causes our liver to absorb too much iron. Generally, spoon nails are accompanied by fatigue and hair loss. And they may indicate thyroid problems and even autoimmune diseases like lupus.
Also known as Terry’s nails, this condition occurs when your nails turn white for no apparent reason with a narrow pink band at the end. It may mean that your nails have detached from the nail bed and blood supply has been disrupted. This can signal thyroid problems, anemia, diabetes and hormonal imbalance in general. Another reason for the whitening can be fungal nail infection. Alternatively, these nails are a common characteristic of old age. But in some situations, they may indicate congestive heart failure, kidney failure or diabetes.
These nails are curved outward and look like a bubble at the end of your fingertips. 8 out of 10 times, these nails are a signal for lung disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or pulmonary fibrosis, according to surgeons at Penn Medicine. It is believed that low supply of oxygen in blood or hypoxia makes these nails change their shape of growth. This nail shape, with a large nail bed and curved ends may also indicate inflammatory bowel diseases and liver problems.