Are You Healthy? – See Your Nails

Nails Health IndicatorHuman nails are made of keratin, the dead proteins that also make up for claws, horns and hooves of animals. However, there is a difference. The human nails are made up of six parts.

  • 1.    Nail Plate: The most visible part, it is quite hard.
  • 2.    Nail Folds: It is the skin around the nail plate.
  • 3.    Nail Bed: It is the skin located under the nail plate.
  • 4.    Lunula: It is of the shape of a crescent moon and is located under the nail plate.
  • 5.    Cuticle: The tissue that overlaps the nail at the base is the cuticle.
  • 6.    Matrix: It is the area from where the nail grows, and is located under the cuticle.

Nails act as a translucent cover beneath which, there is a soft bed full of tissues, capillaries and nerves. Color, white spots, grooves; all tell a lot about your health. Not only physical health, the nails even speak a lot about your mental well-being.

Even you could notice the change in the texture or color however, it is better to be left to the medical expert. He holds the relevant expertise and with the help of various diagnostic test and tools, he will determine the actual state of your health.

Let us now have a look at the various health issues that your nails could indicate:

  • 1.    Thyroid Disorders:although unexplained weight gain and loss are the main symptoms of thyroid disorders, however, doctors will also take into account any nail changes. The doctor would try to look for Plummer’s nail and Spoon nail. Plummer’s nail is a condition in which the toenail of the ring or little finger separates itself from the nail bed. As the nail is lifted, dirt and moisture can easily cause bacterial and yeast infection. Spoon nails in which the nails look scooped away from the finger may be a symptom of hypothyroidism.
  • 2.    Cardiovascular Problems: Well, if you thought that only high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are the only indicators of cardiovascular problems, the nails are not behind. A number of changes in the nail could point to cardiovascular problems. If you notice any thin red or reddish brown lines under your nails, it could be a sign of vasculitis. Clubbing of the nails can point to congenital heart abnormalities. Spoon nails and pale or blue-tinged nails can also indicate cardiovascular health issue.
  • 3.    Diabetes: You usually get yellow nails when you have removed the nail paint after many days. Although it goes in some days however, if it stays for long, it could mean diabetes. The reason for color change is that glucose connects with collagen proteins. If along with yellow nails, you are also experiencing symptoms like thirst and frequent urination, see your doctor right away.
  • 4.    Pulmonary Problems: If your nails appear blue even when you have not applied any cosmetic, it means there is a problem. If the blue lips are accompanied along with blue lips, it could mean oxygen-related issues, like Asthma, COPD, Pneumonia, Low Hemoglobin, Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema. Further, blue nails can also indicate certain health problems. So, if you notice your nails turning blue, set an appointment with the doctor immediately.
  • 5.    Melanoma: If you think that skin cancers can only occur in body parts exposed to the sun, you might not know that the deadliest melanoma can show under a nail. Acral lentiginous melanoma, cancer of the skin under nails is more common in African Americans and Asians. The most common symptom is the appearance of dark lines under the nail. Therefore, if you notice any such dark lines appearing under the fingernail or toenail, report it to the doctor immediately. If you have enrolled for an annual skin cancer check, make sure you remove the nail polish, if applied. It will help the doctor to check for any signs of melanoma.
  • 6.    Nutritional Deficiencies: If you suffer from iron deficiency, your nails will tell it. Whitish nail beds are a sign of anemia. That is the reason why nutritionists stress on including omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and lean proteins for healthy skin and nail growth.
  • 7.    Injury: If you have dropped something heavy on your nail or your finger was trapped in a door, you can get a small white spot on the nail plate. However, if you get a dark streak or spot or the nail got detached, it is something serious. Small injuries are harmless and they would grow out on their own.
  • 8.    Infections: Itchy skin around the nails that is red and painful is an indication that something is wrong. Nails, just like any other body part are prone to infection. Fungus, which is the most common infection of the nails accounts for about twelve percent of nail infections in America. If your nails have become bluish green, you might have a fungus infection. Bacterial nail infections target the area around the nails. If left untreated, they can also lead to nail loss. In viral nail infections, warts are formed around and under the nail, which the doctor can treat chemically. Untidy nails, unhygienic manicure tools and equipment, wrong manicuring can all put you at risk for infections. It is therefore important, that you keep your fingernails and toenails in good condition.

Therefore, we see that nails tell a lot about various minor and major health conditions. So, whenever you are going for a complete health check-up, do ask your doctor to examine them carefully. Further, do not apply any type of nail polish prior to nail exam. Use a good quality nail polish and remover as well.