Your nails serve a purpose beyond just looking pretty and acting as a canvas for paint. Aside from being functional tools, nails also act as effective warning signals of serious issues inside the body. While some symptoms of poor nail healthy may simply be irritating or unpleasing to the eye, there are others that should alert you to the status of your health, if you know what to look for.
This is the term used when the tips of your fingers become enlarged so that your nails curve downward. This may be a sign of low oxygen levels in your blood. It may also be associated with lung, liver, kidney, or heart disease. It may also imply that you are suffering from irritable bowel disease.
If you spot horizontal ridges in just one or two nails, it is likely due to some sort of trauma (smashing your finger in the door, for example). Not to mention, you’ll probably remember the trauma! If, however, you cannot recall any recent trauma to your fingers and notice horizontal ridges on numerous fingers, this could be a sign of various illnesses, such as psoriasis, diabetes, malaria, leprosy, Hodgkin’s disease, or severe zinc deficiency. If the ridges do not subside after a couple of days, make an appointment with your doctor.
Typically just a sign of nail aging, vertical ridges can also be a sign of certain vitamin deficiencies. If you don’t believe your nails should be showing signs of aging, try incorporating a multi-vitamin into your diet and see if that helps eliminate the vertical ridges.
If your nails curve upward at the ages (rather than the natural oval curve downward), this could be a sign of iron deficiency, excessive iron absorption, heart disease, hypothyroidism, or more. If your nails have begun to spoon, make sure you contact your doctor as soon as you can.
If you notice pits or dents (that look a little like mini craters) in your nails, this is often a sign of psoriasis. This in it of itself is not usually a major issue because many who have psoriasis already know it and understand that nail pitting may be a side effect. If, however, you don’t believe you have psoriasis and still notice pits in your nails, this could possibly be a sign of Reiter’s syndrome or other connective tissue disorders.
If you notice black or dark streaks on your nails, this means you need to visit your doctor as soon as possible. Dark discolorations and/or painful nail growths are often a sign of the skin cancer melanoma.
White with a Pink Strip
While it may occasionally be a natural sign of aging, white nails with a narrow pink strip at the top (referred to as “Terry’s nails”) is more often a sign of something a bit more serious. Terry’s nails may also imply that your body is dealing with liver disease, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, or even diabetes. If you notice this particular coloration, it is definitely worth mentioning to your doctor.
To make sure your nails remain effective and alert warning signals of your health, it is important to keep them healthy: do not bite your nails, and try to eat a diet rich in proteins and omega-3s. By eating a healthy, well-balanced diet rich in lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables you will not only keep your nails healthy, but keep your entire body healthy as well.
Author Bio: Sasha Brown
Sasha Brown is certified herbalist with a zeal for the natural things in life. To live and promote a healthier lifestyle, she has injected pure naturalism into her diet by eating purely organic foods. She loves to garden and is a mother to one child. For more tips on healthy living, please join her on Twitter.