What Are Your Nails Telling You?

Fingernails. We all have them – we usually cut them every couple of weeks, sometimes we get all fancy and paint them pretty colours, and they are excellent for scratching lotto tickets; But why do we have them? 

The primary purpose of our fingernails is to protect our fingertips from being squashed. Jamming our fingers in car doors would be much worse if we didn’t have them. Fingernails also act as a counterforce when we push our fingertips against something, increasing our sensitivity to different textures. What most of us don’t know is that our fingernails could be telling us a lot more about our health than we realise. Below are some signs our fingernails are telling us about how healthy we really are. 

Nail Colour

Nail colour is one sign our nails give us to indicate underlying health issues. Pale coloured nails, usually very white with very little pink showing through can be a sign of some serious health issues including anaemia, malnutrition, and liver disease. 

If pale isn’t obvious enough to spot, more severe liver problems such as hepatitis can cause our nails to turn bright white with a dark rim around them. Once the liver gets that bad, usually we also are suffering from jaundice, a condition where our skin and even eyes turn a shade of yellow. 

Let’s say our nails turn a yellow colour themselves; this is usually not a sign of an underlying health problem, but it is a sign that you may be suffering from a fungal infection of your nails. 

The last colour our nails could turn is blue, or sometimes even just purplish tint. This is an indication that we are not getting enough oxygen throughout the body, meaning you could be suffering from emphysema, lung problems, and potentially a heart problem. 

A black strip coming from beneath the fingernail could indicate that you are suffering from a melanoma or skin cancer below the nail. We sometimes forget that we have skin under there! 

Surface Texture

The surface of your nails could also indicate some overall health issues. Dimpled or pitted nails can indicate inflammatory versions of arthritis, such as psoriasis. 

Cracked, dry and brittle nails have been linked to thyroid disease. However, in combination with a yellow colour, this cracking is more likely associated with the fungal infections we mentioned above. 

Clubbed or Scooped Nails

A clubbed nail is usually rolled inward on itself and very rounded. These nails are usually very thick as well. Clubbed nails are an indicator of congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure is included within heart disease statistics as the most common cause of death around the world. 

Scooped nails, usually only affecting the thumbnail, is also commonly seen. This is more common among women and indicates iron deficiency, which leads to anaemia. 

If you notice any of these appearances in your nails you should consult with a health professional. Be aware, and listen to what your body is telling you. Pay attention to any changes in your appearance, this is your body trying to tell you something. 

To book an appointment with Dr Scott, call 3482 2637 or click here to book an appointment online.



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