What Your Nails Say About Your Health

Posted at 5:58 PM, Oct 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-16 17:58:18-04

Your fingernails may offer clues about the state of your health. If the shape, texture and color changes, your nails may be actually telling you something is wrong. 

Normal healthy nails are mostly colorless and often turn white at the tips once they grow past your fingertips.

If you find yourself with yellow nails, this could indicate a fungal infection, diabetes, psoriasis or thyroid and lung disease.   

Blueish nails could be a sign you’re not getting enough oxygen. 

Pale nails may indicate you have anemia or liver disease. 

Rippled or pitted nails may point to inflammatory arthritis. 

White streaks and spots may indicate chronic kidney disease. 

Cracked and brittle nails may be a sign of thyroid disease. 

And dark lines underneath your nail could be caused by skin cancer.  And the most dangerous type - melanoma. 

There are many health conditions that can affect the appearance of your nails in a variety of ways.  I’ve only touched on a few of them.

But not all changes are signs of an illness.  What’s important is to pay attention to your nails and mention any abnormalities to your doctor. 

When you take good care of your nails, you can prevent some of these scary-sounding signs.  So here’s my prescriptions to help keep your nails healthy and strong: 

  1. To prevent bacteria from growing, be sure to keep your nails clean and dry. Wear rubber gloves that are cotton-lined to protect them when cleaning.
  2. Use nail clippers and not your teeth to trim your nails.  Once cut round the edges so they don’t catch and tear.  
  3. Ask your doctor about the nutritional supplement biotin.  It may help brittle or weak nails grow stronger.  
  4. Don’t bite your nails or cuticles.  If you get a cut it could open the door to bacteria and fungi leading to an infection.  

And my final piece of advice, never ignore problems.  Be sure to see a dermatologist if you have bleeding or pain, changes in shape, thinning or thickening, or nail separation from your skin.

If you see something unusual, it can’t hurt to ask your doctor.