Fingernails Are a Window to Your Health
November 18, 2011
Dear Mayo Clinic:
I have heard that a person ‘s fingernails reveal a lot about their health. Is there any truth to that ? What types of changes would indicate health problems ?
It ‘s true. Your fingernails are a window to your health. Some nail changes are natural. But others can signal health concerns, particularly changes in nail semblance and growth patterns.
Your nails are part of your skin. They are made up of layers of the protein keratin and originate from beneath the base of the breeze through under your cuticle. As new cells grow, older cells become hard and compress and are finally pushed out toward your fingertips .
Healthy nails are legato, without ridges, grooves, spots or discoloration. Nails can develop harmless conditions, such as vertical ridges that run from the epidermis to the tip off of the pinpoint. vertical ridges frequently become more big with old age. Nails can besides develop white lines or spots as a result of injury, but these grow out with the pinpoint and do not cause problems .
In some cases, a change in your nails may be caused by stress in your body. For example, if you have a high fever, a serious injury or infection, or another severe illness, your nails may stop growing for a while. That ‘s because, due to the extra demands placed on it, your body shifts energy away from the low precedence of growing nails. When your nails start growing again, you may notice horizontal lines across your nails. These are called Beau ‘s lines, and they show where the pinpoint growth stopped temporarily. Beau ‘s lines grow out finally and are not a lawsuit for business.
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There are a number of nail down changes, though, that can signal an underlie medical trouble. A change in your nail color requires attention, particularly if your nails start to turn yellow or red or if stripes or dots of color appear on your nails. Color changes could be the solution of a nail down fungus or, in some cases, they may be a signboard of hide cancer. Conditions like liver failure and kidney problems can besides change your collar color, turning nail white or yellow at the tips or near the cuticles. Yellow nails can be the leave of a respiratory condition, such as chronic bronchitis, ampere well .
Clubbing of your nails — when your nails curve much more than usual — is frequently a sign of low oxygen levels in the lineage and may be related to lung disease. Clubbing can besides be the result of heart disease, liver problems or incendiary intestine disease. Another nail condition, called spoon nails or koilonychia, involves nails growing in a blueprint that looks like a ski startle. Spoon nails can be a sign of iron lack anemia.
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other smash changes that could be a lawsuit for concern include dimple, indentations, splitting or pitting of your nails. Any of these changes could point to one of dozens of skin disorders that can affect the nails. For example, psoriasis, a coarse skin disease that causes skin cells to quickly build up ; lichen planus, an incendiary condition that can affect your hide ; and dermatitis, another inflammatory skin disorder, can all show up in your nails .
This is merely a sample of the most park conditions that may have an impingement on your nails. overall, there are hundreds of medical conditions, disorders and diseases that may cause nail changes. sol if your nails change or start to look abnormal, lecture to your doctor or see a dermatologist to investigate the implicit in cause and find out if any treatment is needed .
— Dawn Davis, M.D., Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn .