Can your nails show signs of an illness? Your nails can be a window into your overall health. Changes in color, texture, and growth patterns could indicate issues ranging from minor nutrient deficiencies to more serious health conditions like liver disease or anemia. While many nail irregularities are harmless, some could signal that it’s time for a doctor’s visit.
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What Are Nails Made Of?
Your nails are more than just a canvas for colorful polish. They’re made of a protein called keratin, the same stuff that makes up your hair and the outer layer of your skin. So, when you notice something odd about your nails, it could mean something’s up with your overall health.
Nails Color Changes
If you spot yellow nails, you might think, “What’s going on?” One common reason is fungal infection. But hold on! Sometimes, yellow nails can simply be due to aging or excessive use of nail polish. Nonetheless, if the yellowing persists, it may point to conditions like diabetes, thyroid disease, lung disease, psoriasis, or even respiratory issues.
Have you ever had white spots appear on your nails and wondered why? Often, these spots are harmless and can result from minor injuries to the nail. However, if you see a lot of them, it could hint at a zinc deficiency.
Blue or Purple Nails
Now, blue or purple nails are usually a red flag. They generally indicate that your body isn’t getting enough oxygen. Conditions like asthma or pneumonia could be the culprits here. According to medical experts, if you notice this color change, you should seek medical attention promptly.
Texture and Growth
So, you’ve got brittle nails that break easily. That can be annoying, right? Well, aside from the inconvenience, brittle nails could signify a lack of moisture or even a thyroid issue.
Spooned nails curve upward, like a spoon. If you have these, it’s often a sign of iron-deficiency anemia or heart conditions. In some cases, spoon-shaped nails can also suggest that you have liver disease.
Pitting, or small dents on the surface of your nails, might seem like no big deal. But wait, there’s more to it. Pitted nails are commonly linked to psoriasis, a skin condition. Sometimes, they’re also associated with arthritis.
The Nail and Chronic Conditions
If you’re diabetic, you might notice that your nails become yellowish and thick. In fact, infections around the nails are more common for people with diabetes.
For those who have liver disease, white nails are a common symptom. Also, you could see a dark band at the top of the nail, which is another signal of concern.
When it comes to heart conditions, “clubbing” is a term you should know. It means the tips of your fingers enlarge, and your nails curve around the fingertips. If you observe this, medical advice is strongly recommended.
When to See a Doctor
If you notice persistent changes in your nails, don’t ignore them. Especially if these changes are accompanied by other symptoms, a trip to the doctor becomes essential. So, keep an eye on those nails; they could be telling you more than you think!