Take a good look at your nails. You can probably notice a difference between yours and everyone else's that you look at. Whether it be a yellow tint, blue tint, pink tint or a ridge here, a crack there or even dark lines under the nail bed. These may not look or seem like important things to look for or at but to a trained eye they can be a link or window into your health.
Here are some to look out for:
Pale nails can sometimes be simply from aging. However they can also be signs of Anemia, Congestive heart failure, Liver disease, or Malnutrition.
If the nails are white with darker rims around, this can be associated with liver complications or diseases such as heptititis.
If the nails are a yellowish colour, thickened and slow growing, this can be the progression of a fungal infection and can be associated with severe thyroid disease, lung disease such as emphysema , diabetes or psoriasis. You can also experience yellow tints to the nails from nail polishes containing formaldehyde.
A blue tint to the nails can mean that the body is not getting enough oxygen, this can be associated with infection in the lungs, such as pneumonia. A slight bluish base may be associated with diabetes.
If the nails are pitted, textured or rippled to the touch this can be an early sign of Psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis.
If the nails are dry, cracked, split easily or weak they are often linked to thyroid disease.
Puffy nail fold
If the nail fold is puffy and red(inflamed) this may be because of Lupus or another connective tissue disorder.
Dark lines beneath nail bed
If you see dark lines please contact your health professional as soon as possible. They are sometimes caused by melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
This is a painless increase ini tissue around the ends of the fingers, or inversion of the nail and may be associated with lung disease.
Red Nail Bed
If the nails show a pinky or red tint this can be associated with heart disease.
If you have any concerns regarding your nails. Get them checkout by your doctor next time.
Tips for Strong, Healthy Nails
To strengthen your nails, avoid infections, and improve their appearance, try the following tips:
- Keep your nails clean and dry.
- Avoid nail-biting or picking.
- Apply moisturizer to your nails and cuticles every day. Creams with urea, phospholipids, or lactic acid can help prevent cracking.
- File your nails in one direction and round the tip slightly, rather than filing to a point.
- Don't remove the cuticles or clean too deeply under your nails, which can lead to infection.
- Don't dig out ingrown toenails. See a dermatologist if they become bothersome.
- Avoid nail polish removers that contain acetone or formaldehyde.
- Bring your own instruments if you get frequent manicures.
- If you have artificial nails, check regularly for green discolouration (a sign of bacterial infection).
- Eat a balanced diet and take vitamins.
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