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What Your Nails Reveal About Your Health

a woman's hand
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By    |   Monday, 16 March 2020 10:07 AM

The next time you go for a manicure or pedicure, take a good look at your nails. They may be mini x-rays of what's going on in your body.

"If you notice little red lines on your nails called splinter hemorrhages, that could be a sign of pericarditis," Dr. Anthony Youn, author of "The Age Fix," tells Newsmax. The lines could also indicate systemic diseases that cause inflammation in blood vessels such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, or malignancies.

"Your nails are a good reflection of your health," dermatologist Christine Poblete-Lopez, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic, agrees. "Many things can occur in the nails that can signify systemic or skin problems."

Here are some examples:

  • Cracked or split nails. While overzealous washing and drying of your hands can cause a brittle texture, the underlying cause of cracked nails may be malnutrition or a vitamin deficiency.
  • Nail pitting. Tiny, pinpoint-like depressions in a nail could indicate psoriasis or connective tissue disorders such as Reiter's Syndrome, according to the Mayo Clinic.
  • Nail clubbing. When the nail bed curves over the fingertips, it could indicate low levels of oxygen in the blood, which in turn could signal lung disease. Clubbing may also be a symptom of cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and AIDS.
  • Spoon nails. If your nails look like they've been scooped out from the center, you may have iron deficiency anemia or a liver condition in which your body takes in more iron than you need.
  • Terry's nails. If your nails appear white without the moon-shaped symmetry of healthy nails, it could be a sign of severe liver disease, diabetes, congestive heart failure, or hyperthyroidism. Terry's nails are often a sign of aging as well.
  • Yellow nail syndrome. When nails thicken and new growth slows down, the nails start to thicken, resulting in a yellowish tint to the nail plate. This could indicate a respiratory disease such as chronic bronchitis.
  • Nail separation. This condition is called onycholysis and, according to experts at Harvard Medical School, can be caused by everyday activities such as tapping a keyboard. However, it can also be caused by certain medical conditions such as fungus infections, a reaction to medications or consumer products, overactive thyroid, and iron deficiency.
  • Beau's lines. These are grooves that run horizontally across the nail plate and may be caused by psoriasis, chemotherapy, nutritional deficiencies, or diminished blood flow to the fingers — a common symptom of Raynaud's disease.

Pay attention to anything on or around your fingernails or toenails that suddenly looks differed, says Dr. Poblete-Lopez. "Anything that doesn't look normal ought to be addressed," he says. "Your best course of action is to see a doctor as soon as possible."

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The next time you go for a manicure or pedicure, take a good look at your nails. They may be mini x-rays of what's going on in your body.
Monday, 16 March 2020 10:07 AM
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