7 Things Nails Reveal About Your Health

Did you know that fingernails can be a window into your health? Since they are constantly growing, they provide a history of nutrition, illnesses, injuries, and even hidden serious conditions. Fingernails and toenails protect sensitive skin from damage as we use our hands and feet. Losing a nail let you know just how important nails are! Take a hard look at your fingernails. If you see any of these conditions, you should visit with your doctor.

#1 White Or Pale Nails.

Hollis Tuttle, an instructor at Mile High Run Club, suggests choosing gear that is specifically designed for winter weather. “Thin, moisture-wicking layers are best worn against the skin,” she says. “They will pull sweat away from the body and dry quicker.” Depending on the temps, you may need a mid-layer as well, but regardless, you’ll want to make sure to wear wind- and rain-resistant outerwear. “Your top layer should be made of breathable nylon or Gore-tex to help protect you from wind and possible precipitation,” Tuttle says.

#2 Blue Or Yellow Nails.

Bluish nails mean your body isn’t transporting oxygen very well. You could have a serious lung or heart condition. If you are having chest pains as well, call your doctor or 911. Yellow nails most often have a fungal infection. Sometimes, yellow nails can be a sign of severe thyroid disease, lung disease including chronic bronchitis, diabetes, lymphedema, or psoriasis. In some cases, yellow nails can be a sign of jaundice, a dangerous liver condition.

#3 Rippled Or Pitted Nails.

Nails that are rippled from side to side or pitted may indicate psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis. Sometimes the skin under the nails will be reddish-brown. Pitted nails can indicate a connective tissue disorder like Reiter’s syndrome. Ridges that run from side to side can result from a cuticle injury or serious illness with a high fever.

#4 Nail Clubbing.

If you see nails gradually growing wider and curving around the end of the finger you may be looking a low blood oxygen and a sign of lung disease. Clubbing might also be a symptom of with inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular or liver disease, and AIDS. Sometimes you’ll see pseudo-clubbing in people of African descent or it can be genetic. Clubbing on one hand only can be a sign of an aneurism.

#5 Spoon Nails.

If your fingernails are soft and can hold a drop of liquid like a spoon, you could have either too much or too little iron. You may also see spoon nails after chemotherapy or radiation therapy, exposure to petroleum, or nail trauma. They may also be genetic or seen in people who live at high altitudes. However, it is also associated with malnutrition, diabetes, heart disease, vitamin B deficiency and other illnesses.

#6 Puffy Nail Fold.

Puffy red skin around the fingernail can be an infection. Try soaking your hands or feet in Epsom salts and warm water a few times. If the redness doesn’t clear up, you may want to see a doctor. The infection can be bacterial or caused by a yeast infection. Puffy skin can come from manual labor or excessive dishwashing.

#7 Dark Lines Beneath The Nail.

Dark lines running from bed to tip can range from genetic to very dangerous. These are common in people of African descent, especially after age 20, and not dangerous. If you’ve had some sort of trauma near your fingernail, you can develop a dark line that eventually grows out. Some medications like chemotherapy drugs or beta blockers can cause lines. Dark lines can also signal very serious conditions including HIV, lupus, and gastrointestinal polyps.