Externally, there is a number of signs and indications of what is going inside the body. Nails shape, color, and texture say a lot more than it merely. Any abnormality in the shape and texture and discoloration might indicate hidden health concerns.
Going to a spa and salon and getting the best manicure services cannot alone ensure the health of nails. Addressing internal health problems can guarantee healthy nails too. Just like skin, nails need balanced nutrients and hydration to be healthy and strong.
Nails need proper hydration and nutrients for a healthy and normal outlook. Hydration and nutrients can help in strong nails and overcome common issues. A healthy balanced intake of nutrients and proper intake of water can help overcome issues such as weak and brittle nails.
Dehydration and bad eating habits can negatively influence nails too. Drinking excessive alcohol can also lead to dehydration and depletion of essential nutrients vital for skin, hair, and nails. Even if decided to give up on alcohol, still withdrawal can become difficult to manage. But there are some medically assisted detox programs that may help in such situations.
Common Nail Disorders
Changes in color and structure of nails often indicate an underlying health problem. It is important to notice such abnormal changes and get professional help. Let us take a look at some common nail issues and the main causes behind them. We are hopeful this might help you understand the current condition of your health.
#1. Nail Pitting
It is a condition of nails in which tiny dents appear on the fingernails and toenails. In other words, we can say deep or shallow hollows on nails are nail pitting. It is more common in people above the age of 40.
In most of the cases, nearly about 50% of the time the main cause behind nail pitting is Psoriasis. Psoriasis is a condition of skin and nails that causes itchy skin, rashes, or patches. Research shows a link between psoriasis and the severity of nail pitting. Even mild psoriasis can lead to nail pitting. Some other causes may include
- Reiter’s syndrome (connective tissue disorder)
- Alopecia areata (autoimmune syndrome)
- A genetic disorder affecting hair, teeth, and nails
#2. Terry’s Nails
Terry’s nail is a condition of fingers and toes nails in which most part of the nail appears to be white and a small band of pink or brown at the top of the nail. It refers to many chronic underlying diseases.
Sometimes, Terry’s nails simply indicate a sign of aging and may not relate to any disease. It happens because few blood vessels occur below the nail bed and with low blood supply nails appear to be white. In some cases, Terry’s nail may indicate other health issues such as
- Chronic liver disease (cirrhosis)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Type II diabetes
- Serious cardiovascular issues
#3. Beau’s Lines
It is a condition in which vertical or horizontal ridges run across the nail. It may occur on a single nail or may appear on multiple nails. These lines usually run horizontally and straight across the nail.
There are multiple causes behind Beau’s lines. It could result from an injury, illness, and some other environmental reasons. If Beau’s line appears on one nail then it may indicate an injury to the nail matrix or infection around the nail edge that has interrupted nail growth. If it appears on more than one nail then it might indicate some health issues
- Acute kidney disease
- Scarlet fever
- Thyroid disease
- Zinc deficiency
#4. Yellow Nail Syndrome
As the name suggests yellow nail syndrome is a condition of yellowing of nails followed by nail thickening. Though it is rare, still a condition that affects nails of fingers, and toes.
Yellow nail syndrome usually occurs in people above 50 years. It occurs because of breathing syndrome, a condition of hard and difficult breathing. Problems with the lymphatic system such as improper lymph circulation or fluid accumulation under soft tissue may also cause it. The most common causes are
- Chronic sinusitis/ bronchitis
- Recurrent respiratory infection (pneumonia)
It may also accompany some other issues such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. This syndrome has no genetic background.
#5. Leukonychia (White Spots)
It is a condition in which white spots or lines appear on the nail. It is very common and normally healthy adults may have it at some point in life. But it does not link to a serious medical issue. These spots may occur on one or more nails
The most common cause of white spots is an injury to the nail. There could be a number of reasons leading to a nail injury resulting in white discoloration of the nail. It may also result from an allergic reaction to several nail products. Other reasons that can possibly cause white spots are
- Fungal infection
- Mineral deficiency
- In rare cases, problems associated with heart, lungs, and kidneys
It is a nail condition in which nail discoloration occurs due to the detachment of the nail plate from the nail bed. It may last for few months until a new nail fully regrows. The detachment is not painful.
The most common cause of onycholysis is an injury or trauma to the nail. Even minor trauma can lead to detachment such as during manicure nails might get hit by the tool, or tapping against a hard surface. Onycholysis usually goes after treating the underlying cause and as soon as the new nail grows. Some other reasons for onycholysis are
- Thyroid disease
- Fungal infection
- Nutrients deficiency (most commonly iron)
Nails can reflect much about the underlying health of a person. Though hygiene is an important aspect in keeping healthy nails balanced hydration and nutrients are equally important too. Some problems in the color, shape, and texture of nails indicate serious health issues. Addressing these issues is important to overall well-being.