Fingernails are much more than a fashionable way to accessorize your clothes or get festive for special occasions and holidays. Your nails provide revealing insight about your health. A difference in appearance and texture of the nails can point to various conditions that can range from a simple vitamin deficiency to more serious conditions like cardiovascular issues.
What Are Your Nails Saying About Your Health?
Brittle, Dry Nails
Deficiency of vitamins A, C, and Biotin, in addition to over usage of nail polish remover, are major causes of brittleness. Dry and cracked nails could also be a symptom of anemia or thyroid-related issues.
Lifestyle and environmental factors like long hours of being immersed in water and exposure to chemicals, like those from cleaning products, also have an impact on nails.
Vertical and Horizontal Ridges
Vertical ridges are a common side effect of aging and do not point to any serious conditions. Horizontal ridges, on the other hand, could mean more.
These ridges are usually caused due to serious trauma that the body has endured, like high fever, chemotherapy, uncontrolled diabetes, or even zinc deficiency. Make sure you talk to your doctor about these ridges to find out if you have any underlying conditions that may be unnoticed.
Brown Vertical Stripe
There is a misconception that skin cancer shows itself only in the form of moles or dark spots on the skin. But the fact is that it can also present itself as a brown stripe on your nails.
Studies show that about 20% of melanomas in African-Americans starts at the nails. Sometimes, this discoloration can be caused by hormone imbalances and medications, but watch out for stripes that grow wider over the course of time.
Age, use of acrylic nails, nail polish, smoking, and fungal infections are known to cause the yellowing of nails. Nails that have turned completely yellow and are very thick and slow-growing could signal lung disorders like bronchitis.
Clubbing is a condition where the fingertips are enlarged and the nail curves down. This could be because of a lack of oxygen in the blood and is often linked with lung diseases. Research shows that it could also be linked to liver and kidney diseases, heart ailments, and AIDS.
Tips for Maintaining Healthy Nails
- Eat a balanced diet that is rich in proteins and antioxidants. Biotin also may support the production of keratin, the main component of our nails.
- Use cotton-lined rubber gloves to protect your nails when washing dishes or gardening.
- Trim your nails regularly, keeping them rounded at the tips for optimum nail strength.
- Use acetone-free nail polish remover
- Gently scrub the nails with a nail brush for safe cleaning
Remember to give your nails a quick glance every once in a while and check for any discoloration or changes. Also, make sure you get any small changes checked out because healthy nails are a sign of a healthy body and that’s what really matters.
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