What your nails say about your health

All Woman

What your nails say about your health

Monday, June 01, 2020

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JUST like the eyes are the windows to the soul, the condition of your nails are a clue to what is happening in your body. The nails can indicate everything from lack of key nutrients to low energy, and even some diseases. As such it's important to pay attention to them, assess what's going on, and make recommended adjustments to things like your diet.

What do your nails say about your health?

Curved like a spoon

In this condition, the nails are soft, curved like a spoon(koilonychia), with the curve large enough to hold a drop of liquid. This is often a sign of iron deficiency anaemia or haemochromatosis, a liver condition where the body absorbs too much iron from the food you eat. Curved nails can also be associated with heart disease and hypothyroidism.

Pitted nails

These come with ice pick-like depressions in the nails and are common in people who have psoriasis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Nail pitting can also be related to alopecia areata — an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss.

Pale nails

If your nail beds are white with a darker rim of colour at the tip, these are referred to as Terry nails and can be a sign of liver disease or congestive heart failure.

White nails

Totally white nails that occur in later life may be a symptom of liver disease, chronic renal failure, congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic hypoalbuminemia (low albumin in the blood), and Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Enlarged nail tips

Enlarged nail tips, or nail clubbing, occurs when the tips of the fingers enlarge and the nails curve around the fingertips. It is sometimes the result of low oxygen in the blood and could be a sign of various types of lung disease. It is also associated with inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and AIDS, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Blue nails

In this condition, the nails are normal in colour, but the nail bed is blue. This is commonly called nail bed cyanosis and is a sign of poorly oxygenated blood or more accurately, unoxygenated haemoglobin.

Splitting or cracked nails

Brittle nails usually get worse as we get older. They can be a result of protein, folic acid, and vitamin deficiency. Dry skin, fungal infections, and dermatitis can also cause split nails. On some occasions thyroid disease will be the cause.


Indentations can appear when growth at the area under the cuticle is interrupted by injury or severe illness. These indentations are called Beau's lines. Conditions associated with these include uncontrolled diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, as well as illnesses associated with a high fever, such as scarlet fever, measles, mumps, and pneumonia. Beau's lines can also be a sign of zinc deficiency.

White spots

Also called leukonychia, white spots are a result of injury to the nail bed. Frequent manicures and pedicures or the use of gel or acrylic nails can also damage nail beds. Other possible causes include allergic reaction, fungal infection, nail injury or mineral deficiency.

Vertically split nail

A split nail is usually caused by physical stress, nutrient deficiency, or wear and tear. Certain diseases may also cause nail splits, including thyroid disease, liver disease, kidney disease, and skin cancers.

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