A lot of people think nails are just another part of the body that are meant for pampering and making the hands look good when actually they are much more than that. Your nails can actually give warning signs that you may have a health problem. Here are some of the possible warning signs:
1. Spoon shaped nails: brittle spoon shaped nails, which are curved inwards instead of outwards are a sign of low blood level due to iron deficiency. One could also experience difficulty in swallowing, tiredness and breathlessness.
2. White nails: whitish discolouration of the nails is a sign seen in chronic liver disease, which is one condition that does a lot to the hands. The white nails are associated with low levels of protein (albumin) in the blood.
3. Nail ridges: Ridges on the nails could mean different things, depending on their orientation. While vertical ridges, which extend from the cuticle to the tip of the nail often occur as a result of aging, horizontal lines (Beau’s lines) could be due to a variety of conditions ranging from malnutrition and metabolic disorders to poorly controlled diabetes mellitus and a heart attack.
4. Half and half nails: These unique nails have the top half white and the bottom half red and can be seen in chronic kidney disease.
5. Finger clubbing: This refers to a bulbous swelling of the finger nails, which occurs in grades. The causes of this condition are so varied that they deserve an article of their own. Suffice it to say that they range from suppurative lung diseases, congenital heart diseases with blue babies and intestinal diseases to liver conditions and lung cancer. It’s worthy of note that it could also run in the family in the absence of disease.
6. Fungal nail infections: This could appear as scaling/thickening under the nail, white or yellow streaks on the nail, foul odour from the nail or crumbling of the tip of the nails. It is often seen in the elderly, diabetics, people with moist fingers and toes for extended periods of time as well as those who have circulation problems and who use artificial nails. It’s a treatable condition.
Now that you know, make it a habit to pay more attention to your nails, they could be trying to tell you something.