Your Nails Say a Lot about Your Health

It is just not your skin or eyes that reveal much about your health. Take a generous look at your nails because a tinge of white, discolouration, scales and bumps might be a warning sign about your health condition. Here are a few tips on how to identify the health problems your nails might be indicating, and how you can solve them. 

White Nails

What it Means: Contrary to what most people believe, white nails do not indicate calcium or zinc deficiency. It is rather a minor nail trauma, usually harmless, caused to the nail plate when it grows.

What to Do: If all the nails are white in entirety, you will have to undergo liver and kidney function tests. White nails can often be indicative of diabetes, cirrhosis or even heart problems. Psoriasis and eczema can also be the cause behind white spots on your nails.

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Apples: An apple a day keeps the doctor away: a very clichéd saying but very true. Phytochemicals, present in apples, act as an anti-inflammatory and also prevent the blood from clotting. It is also ... more 
Apples: An apple a day keeps the doctor away: a very clichéd saying but very true. Phytochemicals, present in apples, act as an anti-inflammatory and also prevent the blood from clotting. It is also high on fibres and vitamins. An apple also makes the perfect snack for someone who is always on the go. Plus it is available in different varieties, so you might not get bored of it soon. Add a few chopped pieces of apple in your Greek salad making it healthier. less 
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Wed 13 Jun, 2012 10:30 AM IST

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Yellow Nails

What it Means: Yellow nails indicate a fungal infection, but if the infection worsens it is a sure sign of respiratory diseases, and in some cases even thyroid disease, psoriasis or diabetes. Sometimes your nails turn yellow because of wearing nail polish for a longer period of time. So, there is no need to panic unless your nails are perennially yellow.

What to Do: Give your nails a polish-free week. Also, always use a protective basecoat before applying the nail paint. If you are a smoker, you can soak your nails in lime juice for 5 to 10 minutes and see the bleaching magic of lemon work on your discoloured nails. If your nails are yellow because of a fungal infection, see a doctor and get an oral anti-fungal medication.

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Blue Nails

What it Means: Nails with a blue tinge hint at improper circulation of oxygen in the blood, which can happen because of cold weather conditions or constriction in the blood vessels. In some cases, it may also indicate respiratory disease.

What to Do: If your nails turn blue in cold conditions, try to keep yourself warm. However, if they remain blue perpetually, you should see a doctor to identify an underlying medical condition, perhaps for some breathing problem. Also get your blood and oxygenation levels checked.

Pale Nails

What it Means: Pale nails may be a sign of conditions such as anaemia, congestive heart failure, liver disease, malnutrition and thyroid diseases. But, it can be an early sign of diabetes as well. 

What to Do: You must eat a wholesome diet, restrict sugar intake, and eat yoghurt daily. Consume foods that are rich in iron, including beans, red meats and green leafy vegetables. Go for regular diabetes checks, if the pale nails become a persistent problem.

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Spoon Nails

What it Means: You have a condition called spoon nails when your nails begin to grow upwards taking a concave shape, almost looking like a spoon. It is a symptom of iron deficiency, which should not be ignored.

What to Do: It may even be a warning sign of something more serious, such as a liver disease or heart disease or even hyperthyroidism. So, you must get the spoon nails investigated. If it is the anaemia, causing your nails to grow in this weird shape, then once the problem is corrected with proper diet, it will take a while for them to grow back in the normal way.

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Cracked/Split Nails

What it Means: Often brittle nails crack or split; the causes could either be prolonged contact with water or strong detergents. And, if your nails are white or yellow and have developed cracks beneath the nail plate it could signify a fungal infection. Other reasons include endocrine disorders, malnutrition, oral medications rich in vitamin A, psoriasis or TB. They can also be a sign of an under-active thyroid gland.

What to Do: Keep your nails moisturised by rubbing some moisturiser on and around them. Start wearing gloves if you use a lot of soaps and chemicals. Trim your nails regularly. Also, add iron-rich foods to your diet. And, avoid too much exposure to water if your nails are excessively brittle.

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Make sure you take a good look at your nails and see if they need immediate medical attention. Nails are as much important element of your look as your twinkling eyes, wrinkle-free skin and sparkling white teeth.