Nails are viewed as a beauty aesthetic, yet they are so much more than just a cosmetic feature and a bunch of fancy, bright colors.
The texture, shape, and color of our nails is a clear indicator of our body’s health. Any abnormalities with the nail bed can give us a detail into our health. They also are an indicator of injury or a fungal infection.
There can also be an indicator that there is a serious condition, possibly cancer. Changes in nail color, or thickening can be a sign of anemia, heart and lung problems, diabetes, liver and kidney diseases.
The growth period of your nails also can show how good your health is. For nails to be considered healthy, they have to grow about 3.5 mm a month. This is also affected by chronic disease, medications you take, trauma, nutrition status, and the aging process too.
If you notice any changes in your nails like any swelling, thickness, discoloration or changes in shape, talk to your dermatologist.
Here Is What Your Nails Reveal about Your Health:
Brittle, Dry, or Cracked Nails
When you wash dishes, go swimming, or use nail polish remover regularly, you will end up with dry, cracked or brittle nails. If you reside in a part of the world that has low humidity or you expose your nails to harsh chemicals daily, you can end up developing these nail abnormalities.
As we age in life, our nails turn yellow or it can result from excessive usage of acrylic nails or nail polish. Smoking is now even found to cause yellowing of nails. If your nails are thick, yellow, and crumbly, you could be suffering from a fungal infection.
White Nails with a Strip of Pink
If your nails are white with a narrow strip of pink at the top, it can mean you have diabetes, liver disease, congestive heart failure, or kidney failure. This is caused by aging, but if you experience this abnormality, consult with your dermatologist.
Black streaks or painful growths pertaining to the nail can mean you are suffering from a form of skin cancer, melanoma. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer known to the medical community. If you do suffer from this abnormality, visit your dermatologist to get relief/help.
If your nails have multiple pits or dents, it could be from psoriasis. It can also be caused directly by alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes loss of hair, and contributes to connective tissue disorders, like Reiter’s syndrome.
If you have nails that curve up at the edges, its a clear sign that you are suffering from heart disease, excessive iron absorption (hemochromatosis), iron-deficiency anemia or hypothyroidism.
It has been found that the aging process can cause vertical ridges to form, which means these nail abnormalities become more present when you get older. They can also be directly caused by a vitamin B12 or magnesium deficiency.
Horizontal ridges are caused by a serious health problem, nail trauma, high fever, scarlet fever or pneumonia. At the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, a dermatologist named John Anthony, says that horizontal ridges are caused from direct trauma to the nail. They can occur from the result of a serious health problem, where nail abnormalities are present in more than one nail.
They can be caused by circulatory disease, a severe zinc deficiency, psoriasis, or diabetes. Horizontal discolorations can also be linked to carbon monoxide poisoning, malaria, Hodgkin’s disease, leprosy, or arsenic poisoning.
Trauma to the nail can cause small, white spots to form on the nails. These nail abnormalities aren’t anything to worry about, and tend to fade away on their own. White spots that don’t fade away on their own can be a clear sign that you have a fungal infection.
Downward and enlarged-curved nails can be a pure indicator that you have insufficient amounts of oxygen in the blood and could have lung disease. Clubbing can also mean you could have inflammatory bowel disease, AIDS, liver or kidney disease, and heart disease.
Nail Biting May Result in Infections
Those who bite their nails are at an increased risk for a skin infection called paronychia, which happens around the nails. When you bite your nails, bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms seep into the tears or abrasions, leading to swelling, pus, and redness surrounding the nail. Their has been cases where surgery had to be conducted to treat the problem. The American Academy of Dermatology says that bacterial infections are caused by nail biting and are a common nail problem.
If you find that you have this habit, you can follow these suggestions below:
▪ Start by keeping a journal in order to detect your nail-biting triggers, like watching TV, anxiety, or boredom, and then try to avoid the triggers
▪ Apply an unpleasant tasting substance to your fingertips, such as hot sauce, vinegar, or store-bought bitter-tasting nail products
▪ Keep your hands busy with certain activities, including knitting
▪ Keep your nails manicured or trimmed short
▪ Use electrical tape or Band-Aids to wrap your fingertips
▪ Use behavioral therapy, like the Emotional Freedom Techniques or habit reversal training
Keep Your Nails Healthy by Following a Healthy Diet
Maintaining a healthy diet filled with wholesome foods will provide your with vitamins and minerals that are necessary for body function. If you have a poor diet, you will end up with nutrition deficiencies and other chronic health conditions. Your hair, nails and skin would suffer damage tremendously.
Go for grass-fed meat, free-range eggs, and whey protein to to ensure proper nail health. Minerals, vitamins (vitamin B7 or biotin) found in berries and leafy green vegetables , as well as antioxidants have a great effect on nail health.
Biotin plays a crucial role in the metabolizing of carbohydrates, amino acids and fats. It’s also imperative to the growth of our hair and nails. Biotin is commonly present in free range eggs through the yolk.
Eating animal-based omega-3 fatty acids because they help ensure nail health and fight off inflammation. The perfect ratio for omega-3:omega-6 fats is 1:1. Be sure to cut out vegetable oils and consume more animal-based omega-3 fatty acids from krill oil, anchovies, and sardines.
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