What are your fingernails trying to tell you? Did you know that certain nail symptoms could be your first clue to the status of your overall health? There are certainly a great number of nail conditions, but these five problems should never be ignored:
- Nail Pitting:
- If you have ice pick-like depressions in your nails, you may be experiencing nail pitting. Nail pitting is often an associated symptom of psoriasis, but can also be related to connective tissue disorders, such as Reiter’s syndrome as well as alopecia areata.
- Nail Clubbing:
- Nail clubbing is characterized by fingertips that are enlarged, allowing the nail to curve around the fingertip. This typically occurs over the course of many years. It can be caused by low oxygen in the blood, referring to a lung problem. Nail clubbing can be a sign of inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, liver disease and AIDS.
- Spoon Nails:
- Spoon nails (koilonychia) are soft nails that look scooped out. This can be a warning sign of iron deficiency or a liver condition. Spoon nails can also be associated with thyroid or cardiovascular disease.
- Yellow Nails:
- It is worth talking to your doctor about nails that have a yellow discoloration, especially if they are also thick and slow to grow. Yellow nail syndrome can be related to respiratory disease or lymphedema.
- Nail Indentations:
- When you have indentations running across your nails, this is known as Beau’s lines. Health problems associated with Beau’s lines include diabetes, peripheral vascular disease. Nail indentations can also occur on those that have a very high fever, measles, mump, pneumonia or zinc deficiency.
The various symptoms and characteristics of your fingernails are as expansive as the medical conditions they could indicate. With health-related associations ranging from low iron to heart disease, it is highly important that you not only pay attention to the appearance, growth and texture of your fingernails, but that you also bring up your concerns to your dermatologist. If you are faithful to get manicures, don’t forget to remove your nail polish periodically for a good examination of your nail health.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Jodi E. Ganz, Olansky Dermatology Associates
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