Much like hair and skin, fingernails are also a window to our overall health. While they normally look pink at the nail bed and white at the point where they grow off of it, nails can quickly change shape and color. Such transformations are often a symptom of an underlying condition that should be addressed immediately.
Therefore, taking care of your fingernails and acknowledging their changes goes far beyond aesthetics. Some nail alterations should never be ignored, as they might indicate a serious condition that needs to be tackled immediately.
Here are the most common fingernails warning signs that you should be on the lookout for!
Yellow nails most frequently indicate a fungal infection. In rarer cases, however, they might be an early symptom of more severe conditions such as lung disease, diabetes or thyroid disease. Either way, yellow nails shouldn’t be ignored.
While they are often a result of severe physical trauma, ridged nails can also be linked to several severe illnesses. If you have ridged nails on multiple fingers, your body might be too preoccupied fighting off diseases to invest the necessary energy in maintaining healthy nails.
As MedicineNet explain, pitted nails are caused by faulty development of the nail plate layers and are common in people with psoriasis. According to researchers, up to 50% of them are affected by nail pitting.
Brittle or cracked nails often signify that the nails are too dry. Some studies have also reported that they might be linked to thyroid disease.
Besides a fungal infection, nail discoloration or the presence of a dark line may be the result of melanoma, a dangerous type of skin cancer.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association categorizes nail-biting as a prevalent symptom of OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Unlike the old myth claims, white spots on nails are not necessarily caused by mineral deficiency. In fact, they are most often caused by minor physical injuries of the matrix. Other causes may also include mineral deficiency, fungal infection, or allergic reaction.
Bluish nails should never be ignored. They usually signify that your body isn’t getting enough oxygen, possibly because of an underlying heart or lung condition.
What about Feet?
Suddenly High Arch
If you normally have low or medium arches, having high arch all of a sudden could be a sign of a health problem. According to UW Medicine, an unusually high arch is associated with nervous system disorders, such as muscular dystrophy, polio, stroke, and spinal cord tumor.
Straight Line Under Toenails
A spot or streak could be nothing to worry about, but parallel lines could be related to malnutrition. These lines are called Muehrcke’s lines and appear when the protein levels in your blood are low.
Spooned nails have concaving shapes. These are not only unsightly and uncomfortable but according to the NHS, it is linked to forms of lupus and anemia.
If you have pits or dents on the surface of your toenails, this could be caused by ill-fitting footwear. However, it could also be related to skin diseases, such as eczema, psoriasis, and alopecia.
Clubbing Big Toenail
According to The National Health Service, clubbing toenails occur when the tissue below the nails start to thicken, making the fingertips bulbous or rounded. If you or someone you know is experiencing this symptom, it is best to see a doctor for proper diagnosis. Clubbing is linked to inflammatory bowel disease, scarring of the liver, stomach cancer, and lung cancer.
Red Lines Under Toenail
Red streaks beneath your toenails are likely the result of a minor external injury. But if you often see them, visit a doctor right away. These are possible signs of an infection of the heart valves or lupus.
Swollen Big Toe
The Mayo Clinic explains that swollen big toe is one of the symptoms of gout, which is a form of arthritis. It occurs when urate crystals accumulate in the joints.
Wounds That Don’t Heal
If you have a cut or wound that doesn’t heal, it could be a sign of diabetes. Poor circulation due to diabetes makes it difficult for ulcers or wounds to heal.
Did you know that losing hair on your toes is something that you should worry about? According to the Mayo Clinic, loss of hair o legs and feet could be a sign of poor circulation or peripheral artery disease.
Dry, Flaky Feet
Most of us have had dry or cracked heels before. If moisturizer can’t treat them, it could be a symptom of a thyroid problem.
Knowing the early symptoms can help in preventing illnesses or diseases from getting worse. If you experience any of the signs, it is best to see your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.