Sometimes you may think that your fingernails are pretty useless. If you’d like to decorate them then you can paint them or apply fake ones for fashion purposes. They break obnoxiously and can be painful because of this. But at the end of the day do they really do anything for you? Actually, yes. Your fingernails can be great tip offs for any health issues you might have. Instead of ignoring a nasty nail or asking a friend about the issue, look into the possible underlying cause of your nail problems.
Blue Tinged Nails
Many assume that the blue tinge in their nails is just the color of the skin underneath or that it’s meant to be that way because of genetics. It’s actually rare that you would have this color from birth. Blue tinted nails mean that you aren’t getting enough oxygen or that your blood isn’t carrying enough oxygen to the rest of your body.
Pale Whitish Nails
It can be hard to tell if there’s a problem with pale nails because some people are born with a lighter colored nail bed than others. If your nails suddenly become pale when they used to be darker, look for other signs of illness related to anemia and malnutrition that you might be expressing. Pale nails can also be a sign of poor circulation to the hands.
Completely White Nails
White nails should be a sign of a problem no matter what your skin tone. A white nail differs from a pale nail in that your nails will look completely white with a dark rim. This can mean anything from congestive heart failure to a week liver. You might even have something called Terry’s nails which can happen as people age. One of the more severe illnesses related with white nails is hepatitis.
Nails with Grooves
Nails with pits and grooves can mean any number of things. In a good scenario, lines and ridges on your nails just means you have a vitamin deficiency which isn’t letting them grow properly. In a worse situation, grooved and pitted nails can mean you have psoriasis, alopecia, Reiter’s syndrome, or arthritis.
If you’ve ever had a relative that smokes then you might notice their nails are stained a bit yellow with nicotine. When your nails are yellow without smoking, however, it can be a large sign of respiratory illness. Another common reason your nails will turn yellow is because you have a fungal infection. There are over the counter cures for nail fungus you can try. If these don’t work, it might be something more serious.
A dark line or spot under a nail can mean that you simply bruised your finger and the nail might be dead in places. This is actually not uncommon, especially for those that work with their hands quite often. If you can’t think of any injuries to your nail that might have occurred and you still have dark lines and spots, seek medical attention. This can be a sign of skin cancer.
An inflamed nail isn’t exactly related to your actual nail. Instead, examine the area around and below your cuticle. It might be red and puffy for another reason, such as slamming your finger in a door or having an irritated cuticle. In some cases an inflamed cuticle area can be associated with lupus or a connective tissue disorder.
Nails That Split and Crack
Nails don’t typically flake and split. If your nails do this often then there might be a bigger problem going on than just an ugly nail. Splitting nails can be a sign of a nail fungus or something worse like thyroid disease. In a better scenario, split nails can also be a sign of malnutrition and mineral deficiency.
Nail biting is one nail symptom that you have to be proactive with, meaning it’s not something that just occurs naturally as a sign or symptom: you cause it. Nail biting is associated with anxiety and OCD. Most think that nail biting is normal and that a lot of people do it. This is untrue, however, and may mean that you should seek a professional to help you curb this habit.