What Your Nails Can Tell You About Your Health

Your nails can give you deeper insight into your overall health. A healthy nail has consistent coloring and a smooth surface. However, sometimes, your nails can start to change, whether it’s in color or in texture or spots and lines start to appear. These changes can all be clues to any health problems that you may be experiencing and if has the potential to be serious and needs to be looked at by a doctor.

What your nails can tell you about your health

We examine the different types of nails that you can give and what it is trying to tell you about your health.


Weak nails

Weak nails are nails that are soft and often chip or break. They can easily bend and snap off. It is a sign that you may be deficient in calcium, vitamin B, iron and fatty acids. It can also clue you in on the potential overuse of chemicals such as nail polish remover.

To fix weak nails, try increasing your intake of calcium, vitamin B and iron. If you can’t increase these intakes from your diet, then take a multivitamin such as calcium and B vitamins and iron tablets.

In terms of overexposure to chemicals, give your nails a break from nail polish remover. Lay off the nail polish and hence remover for a little while. This will give your nails a chance to recover and grow back stronger.

If you really can’t forgo the nail polish, then use strengthening nail polish as your base polish before your other shades of choice to try and rebuild your nail health.

Brittle/cracked nails

Brittle nails easily crack, split, chip or peel. There are different reasons why this may happen. One is that the nail is exposed too often to moisture. When your nails are wet, they swell up and then they shrink when dry. If you’re constantly putting your nails in and out of the water, the constant swelling and shrinking can cause them to become brittle.

To prevent this, ensure you wear gloves when possible, such as dishwashing gloves when you’re doing the dishes.

It’s also a sign of Raynaud’s Syndrome and low thyroid levels. Raynaud’s syndrome is a condition in which your blood vessels become narrow, restricting blood flow to affected areas of the body such as your hands and hence, nails. This means that it’s more challenging for your nails to remain healthy. Low thyroid levels mean that your body produces less sweat, which can result in drier hair, skin and nails.

If you’re concerned that brittle nails are a sign of something deeper such as Raynaud’s syndrome or low thyroid levels, then speak to your local GP. In the meantime, use a hand moisturizer, and keep your hands dry when possible.


Yellow nails

Serious health issues that yellow nails can indicate include lung disease, diabetes or psoriasis. See your doctor to identify the best course of action.

Yellow nails, however, are also typically a sign of a fungal infection. If you have yellow nails as well as a thick or crumbly nail bed, use treatment to treat the infection. There are some home remedies that you can try or your doctor can recommend some prescriptions to help fight it.

Blue nails

If your nails are turning blue or have a blueish tinge to them, then that can indicate that there is a lack of oxygen circulating in your red blood cells. Health conditions that can cause blue nails could include heart disease, cyanosis or a lung problem such as emphysema.

If this is the case, then please consult your doctor immediately.

Dark lines

At times, a black or brown line can appear under the nails. These dark lines can be indicative of melanoma. While a dark line can appear for more innocent reasons, such as a splinter hemorrhage that heals within a few days, a black line from subungual melanoma will change. It’ll become wide or darken in color. It’s not uncommon for it to also bleed or be painful.

If you find that the dark line is changing, then please see your doctor immediately.

Final notes

These nail changes from a healthy nail bed to one that is textured or a different color, are all signs that there is something deeper going on in the body. For superficial problems, make sure that you’re looking after your nails by keeping them as dry and moisturized as possible.

If you believe that there is something more serious going on, see your local GP to ensure that any health concerns are addressed promptly.



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