Many of us invest a lot of time and care when it comes to our fingernails. We cut, polish and shape them while ensuring they are always immaculately clean. But did you know that by looking at your bare fingernails you could spot some of the first signs of illness? Here are ten warning signs right at your fingertips: NHS Heroes
- White Lines
The tips of your nails are normally white, but when you see horizontal white lines or streaks across the entire nail, it could be a signal of kidney disease or liver trouble.
- Concave or Spoon Shaped Nails
If your nails then to curve upwards like a spoon, it could signal either hypothyroidism and/or iron deficiency anemia.
- Blue Nails
While blue may be a popular nail color for polish, if your bare nails are blue that means they are lacking oxygen. This could be due to a circulatory or respiratory issue.
- Brown or Reddish Lines
Brown or reddish lines underneath your fingernails that look like splinters are also a cause for concern. They are actually lines of blood under the nail plate. This could be indicative of cardiovascular trouble like a heart valve infection or vasculitis.
- Yellow Nails
Yellow nails are not only unsightly; they are also a potential sign of ill health. In many cases yellow nails are simply discoloration from nail color use, but if they are persistently yellowed you could be diabetic.
- Pale Colorless Nails
Although your nail tips should be white, if you notice that your nail beds are pale and colorless, it could be a sign of iron deficiency anemia. If addition if your nails appear concave that’s another confirmation of low iron in the blood.
- Dark Brown or Black Vertical Lines
If you notice dark brown or black vertical lines on your nails, it could be due to dried blood from a nail injury. But if there was no recent associated injury, it could be a sign of melanoma.
- Pits, Grooves or Pockmarks
Nails that look like the surface of the moon with craters or a road full of potholes could be indicative of psoriasis. This inflammatory disease usually results in scaly red patches on the skin. However abnormal cells along the nail beds slough off and leave marks—one of the first signs of this disorder.
- Nails Separating from the Nail Bed
If you find that your nails are lifting up from the nail bed, either at the tip or the side, you could be hyperthyroid. In addition to overactive thyroid, nail separation like this can also lead to accumulation of dirt, moisture and bacteria.
- Bitten Nails
Do you bite your nails? Aside from having raggedy unattractive tips, nail biting is a symptom of anxiety and stress. Occasional nail biting is not much for concern, but chronic chomping indicates its time to seek help in managing stress.