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December 28, 2009

Your Fingernails and Your Health

The state of your fingernails can provide clues about your overall health. Simple things like color and shape can indicate complicated health conditions such as chronic bronchitis. Pay attention to the signs that your nails give you in order to take care of yourself.

Nail Pitting - Tiny indents in the nails are normal for people with psoriasis. These depressions can also result from nail injuries and cause your nails to crumble. Sometimes pitting is associated with things like chronic dermatitis or alopecia areata which causes hair loss.

Nail Curling - Nails that are soft and curl into the shape of spoons could indicate iron deficiency anemia.

Brittle and weak nails - Indicates a lack of vitamin A or an Iron deficiency.

Horizontal Ridges (Beau’s lines) - these deep crevices can indicate circulatory problems, diabetes, or can be caused by an illness such as pneumonia.

Yellow Nails - If you have a yellow discoloration on your nails it could be signs of a respiratory condition. Yellow nails will often grow slowly and thicken. Sometimes, when nails are affected with this condition, they may detach from the nail bed and come off. This is not always a sign of a respiratory illness. Yellow nails are caused when nail growth slows down.

Red Nail bed - At the bottom of the nail is the nail bed. A red nail bed can indicate heart problems.

White Nail bed - A white nail bed can indicate an iron deficiency causing Anemia, or liver problems

White spots - White spots on the nails can indicate a Zinc deficiency.

Darkening Nails - If your nails are becoming darker, you may have insufficient vitamin B12 levels.

Rippling Texture - Rippling of the nail surface can in indicate psoriasis or arthritis.

Clubbed Nails – This occurs when your fingertips become bigger and your nails curve around the fingertips. Low oxygen levels in your blood causes clubbing and can be a sign of lung disease. Clubbing can also be associated with inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease and liver disease.

Hang Nails – The stray pieces of hard skin around your nails can be a sign of a lack of protein, folic acid, or vitamin C.

Loose Nails - a condition know as onycholysis can cause your nails to become loose and detatch from the nail bed. This may also be associated with injury or infection, thyroid disease, drug reactions, reactions to nail hardeners or acrylic nails, or Psoriasis.

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