This is What Your Fingernails Are Warning You About: Inflammation, Organ failure or worse

While people rarely think of the relationship between fingernails and disease, they definitely should! As a matter of fact, the fingernails give significant warnings and signal the presence of various diseases.

Take a look at the nails and scrutinize each of them. Carefully inspect the curves, dips, ridges, and grooves. Look how thin or thick they are and whether they are broken or chipped.  Check out the color of the nail, the skin surrounding it, and the skin underneath.

Fingernails Warning Signs

1. Discolored nails

A healthy fingernail should have pink color with a touch of white moons near the base. In case your nails are streaked with other colors, it is very likely that you have a hidden health issue.

  • Green nails indicate of bacterial infection
  • Red streaks in the nail bed indicate a heart valve infection
  • Blueish nails are a sign of low oxygen levels in the blood
  • Dull nails typically indicate a vitamin deficiency
  • White nails may indicate  liver disease like hepatitis
  • Dark stripes at the top (Terry’s nails) are linked to aging and congestive heart failure

Scrub the nails clean and look at the color once again. Taking into consideration the wide plethora of potential health issues, you want to be sure you see what they are saying.


2. Thick nails

Having thick nails is anything but normal. The nails need to be strong, but in case they resemble claws or talons, watch out!

  • Thickened nails which are otherwise normal can indicate lung disease
  • Thick and rough-textured nails can point to a fungal infection
  • Thick and separated nails often indicate a  thyroid disease or psoriasis
  • Unusual thickness may be a warning sign of circulation problem

Thick nails are a change that should adjust to other symptoms you might be taking for granted. Watch out for allergic reactions to new drugs which can manifest as thick nails.

3. Split nails

Split nails often flake away in layers. Unfortunately, most people blame nail polish for most problems, particularly as:

  • Split nails often stem from folic acid, Vitamin C, and protein deficiencies
  • Split nails along with a pitted nail bed (base) can indicate psoriasis, which starts in nails 10 percent of the time according to WebMD
  • Split nails may be caused by chronic malnutrition

Watch your diet and check the psoriasis relationship to fight back.

4. Concave (Spoon) nails

To be classified as full spoons, the nails will be curve up, forming a dip. They may indicate a wide range of internal issues, including the following:

  • Iron deficiency (usually from anemia)
  • Hemachromatosis, a liver disorder where your body absorbs too much iron
  • Heart disease
  • Hypothyroidism

Since there is a strong link between the fingernails and health challenges, treating the health issue typically causes the spoon nails to go back to normal.

5. Pitted nails

Small dips in the nails can be caused by banging up the hands or could indicate an underlying health problem:

  • Psoriasis
  • Connective tissue disorder
  • Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss
  • Zinc deficiency

Natural dents clear up very quickly while pits associated with disease linger.

6. Ridges

Healthy nails have smooth surfaces with invisible lines. Ridge lines are a warning sign of conditions like:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Lupus

Instead of buffing away the ridges, look for their underlying cause.

7. Dry, brittle nails

Nails and brittle nails are associated with bacterial infections and hormone imbalance.

  • Thyroid disease leads to brittle and dry fingernails
  • According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fungus makes nails dry or even crumbly, affecting 12 percent of all Americans

Both thyroid and fungal issues take a lot of time to treat, so will not see any significant difference for a full growth cycle.


8. Clubbed nails

To be considered as clubbed nails, the nails should seem to have puffed around the fingers and the skin surrounding the nail should seem swollen.  They can indicate:

  • Lung disease, especially if you already have trouble breathing
  • AIDS
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Liver disease


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