What Your Fingernails Say about Your Health

Like hair, the appearance of your nails can reveal clues about your health. While it’s rarely the first clue that something is off, when you notice the color, shape or texture of your fingernail(s) change and aren’t sure why, talk to your doctor.

Here are seven common fingernail problems:

  • Ridges – Vertical ridges run from cuticle to tip and are a normal sign of aging. Horizontal ridges on the other hand, also called Beau’s lines, are often a sign of something more serious like kidney disease, vascular disease, diabetes, zinc deficiency, as well as illnesses associated with high fever.
  • White Spots on Nails – White spots are a sign of past injury. It’s a myth that white spots indicate a calcium or zinc deficiency.
  • Brown Discoloration Under the Nail – Especially if it’s only on one finger, a brown line that runs from cuticle to tip could be a sign of melanoma.
  • Yellow Nails – The most common cause of yellow nails is a fungal infection, but it could also be indicative of thyroid, lung, diabetes or psoriasis problems.
  • Rippled or Pitted Nails – If your nails look like they have tiny, ice pick-like indentions, it could be a sign of psoriasis.
  • Dry and Brittle Nails – If your nails frequently crack or split, there may be an issue with your thyroid.
  • Nail Clubbing – Associated with lung disease, heart disease and digestive disorders, nail clubbing can be identified by fingertips that are enlarged and the nails are curved over them.

April 9, 2019