It is said that eyes are the windows to the soul, but ever wondered what your nails say about you? They can offer an important glimpse into your overall health. It turns out that, having strong, healthy nails aren’t just for you to show-off – but, unpleasant nail symptoms could also indicate some health problems. Christine Poblete, a dermatologist says – “Nails are a very good reflection of your health. Many things can occur in the nails that can signify systemic or skin problems.”
Healthy nails are known to be smooth and have a consistent color. Any noticeable changes affecting the growth or appearance of the fingernails or toenails might be a sign of caution and also indicates an abnormality. Following are the things that your nails portray about you and your wellness:
- Abnormal nails: A small, abnormal nails that have a noncancerous growth is filled with a liquid or a semisolid substance that grows near or on the cuticles may arise with arthritis. It also causes regular pain. It is strongly recommended that you see a hand surgeon if you spot anything of this sort.
- Cracked or Split Nails: One of the signs of malnutrition or a skin disorder is if someone’s nails are easily damaged. Cracked or split nails are dry and brittle with possible cracks or splits. It is a natural tendency of nails to become more brittle as people grow older. There are several factors that contribute to cracked or split nails such as lifestyle factors, or working with the hands or having the hands in water for long periods.
- Rough or ridged nails: There are several nail changes that can indicate the presence of acute or chronic kidney disease. When there are side-to-side lines which are known as Beau’s lines, they are a symptom of acute kidney disease. Rough or ridged nails exist in the presence of kidney disease. The ridged nails are also known as koilonychia. It screams iron-deficiency anemia when nails are frequently spoon-shaped and concave. If you happen to notice any distinct white streaks and spots on nails they point towards chronic kidney disease.
- Side-to-side lines: Dermatologists say that fingernails and toenails are closely related to hair. Just as your hair might fall out after an illness or after suffering from prolonged periods of stress, your nails also exhibit these symptoms. Just as the aforementioned side-to-side lines appear in the case of kidney diseases, stress also creates the same patterns on your nails.
- Yellow Nails: Doctors usually say that yellow nails occur naturally with age. But, it’s also sometimes due to nail polish or acrylic nails. Smoking is also a common possible cause for yellow nails as the stain gives your nails a yellowish hue. It also points towards the most common cause of yellow nails i.e. a fungal infection. It is seen that as the infection worsens, the nail beds retract and the nails may thicken and crumble. Rarely, these yellow nails indicate a more serious condition such as thyroid or lung disease.
- Dark Stripes: If you happen to notice any black discoloration on your nails or a painful growth on the nails, you should immediately see a doctor. The medical jargon for this is “Melanoma” – and it causes black lines or stripes to appear on your nail. It is a very rare condition and often compared to other skin cancers. The early detection of this disease is very important because otherwise, it can lead to serious complications.
Omkar Kulkarni is a self-proclaimed art appreciator, a certified film reviewer and someone’s favorite human being.