Nails are the bee’s knees, aren’t they? How else would you scratch an itch? But they do so much more than protect the end of our fingers and help us scratch our heads in disbelief. They’re also a great canvas for signs of infection, disease or malnutrition. Did you know that they grow 2-3 mm every month and your toenails 1 mm a month? We’ve given you some tips for healthy long nails a while back and today we’re going to take a look at 10 diseases that show up in your nails. Read on and if you experience any of the symptoms below, go and see your doctor!
There is a number of nail changes that can point to cardiovascular diseases. For example, splinter hemorrhages are red or brown lines under the nails and they can be a sign of vasculitis, which is a heart valve infection. Also, clubbing or spoon nails can happen if you have congenital heart abnormalities.
Infection is a bastard and it can cause your nails to be painful, red and the skin around them to be itchy. Normally, nail infections don’t indicate larger health problems, but they need to be treated, otherwise they can spread and cause trouble. Yeast infection, staph infections and warts are three of the most common infections that show up in and around nails.
We all know that thyroid disorders are associated with weight gain and weight loss, but did you know that these health issues can also be reflected in the nails? For example, onycholysis will often occur with hyperthyroidism. This condition is also known as Plummer’s nail and it often occurs on the ring or little finger. The nail separates itself from the nail bed and the lifting can happen at its tip or along the sides.
If your nails are turning blue, then you have a health issue that might require immediate help. Blue nails, especially associated with blue lips, will indicate pulmonary problems. A lack of oxygen will cause blue nails. Never ignore your nails changing color, it can actually save your life.
Skin cancer occurs in areas that are hit by the sun, but melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer can occur under a nail. The condition is called acral lentiginous melanoma and it is more common in Asians and African Americans than it is in Caucasians. It appears as dark lines under the nail, so if you have this, go see your doctor right away because melanoma advances very rapidly.
OK, injuries aren’t a disease, but they do show up in your nails and it’s not pretty. Who didn’t catch their finger in a door or dropped something heavy on their big toe? Trauma can cause white spots that appear inside the nail bed. They are harmless and will disappear as the nail grows. The more intense the trauma is, the darker the color of the nail spots.
Arthritis is a generic term and it does more than affect the joints of the elderly. A type of arthritis called osteoarthritis will cause your nails to weaken due to a deficiency of selenium in the organism; it is the most common form of arthritis. Psoriasis can cause yellow and rippled nails and lupus, a puffy nail fold.
Diabetes can cause the yellowing of the nails, that is a fact. The hue resembles the one you get after you paint your nails for a long time and you’ve just removed the nail polish. The color of the nails in people with diabetes can change due to the trouble glucose has connecting with the collagen.
Plenty of nutritional deficiencies can show themselves in a person’s nails. For example, an iron deficiency will cause pale or whitish nail beds. Spoon nails are also caused by more severe deficiencies, but these are quite rare in the United States of America. Make sure you eat a balanced diet and if you’re not quite sure about it, take a multivitamin supplement at least twice a year.
Stress and anxiety are two common diseases that show up in your nails. Nail-biting is done by almost 50% of all American children. It doesn’t cause any permanent damage, but it will leave your hands look unkempt. Don’t worry, by 30 most people give it up!
Do you know of other diseases that show up in your nails? Care to share the information with us? Drop us a line in the comment section below.