Nail Diseases


Nail Diseases
Have you ever looked closely at your fingernails?
They can reflect your health!

You may be lucky enough to have beautiful, long, strong and nail-polish-loving nails. Or you may be on the other end of the scale, having cracked brittle nails that love to split and look ridiculous with nail polish. Luckily you can hide this with a good manicure and false nails placed on. But if you do suffer from weird looking nails, there may be a bit more to it than "oh, my nails have never grown long or have ever looked good."

Yes nails can directly reflect the state of your health. From simply over washing your hands, to being malnourished, or maybe a terrible disease. Now remember, if you find your nails reflect one of these descriptions - don't panic, for young people it's probably nothing, but then again, something may be up! So if you find you have one of these things wrong with your nails and you are worried because your health has not been good. Simply visit your doctor, and rest assured your problem can either be easily resolved, or some tests may be needed for further studies. But again - do not panic, unless your doctor says you can.

So what kind of things are we looking for?

Thick yellow nails: can be the cause of long term use of the antibiotic tetracycline, now if you are not taking antibiotics then you do not need to know what this drug is for. Another reason for nails in this condition can mean a reflection of diseases of the lungs, thyroid gland, or lymphatic system (this does not mean you have all three). The yellow discolouration could also be because you are a chronic chain smoker (but hey, I'm only guessing on this one).

Blue nails (or a bluish tinge): if you are cold your fingernails will go slightly blue, the colder you are the bluer they will go, but this is not a health problem, you just need to put on a jumper and have a hot drink. But in all seriousness if your fingernails are blue all the time, it can mean you have problems with your circulation, usually caused by heart disease. Either that or you are too skinny during winter and feel the cold too much, and need to put on some weight.

White marks: these are often common and mean nothing at all. But if you're a heavy drinker, or have had some liver problems, it can indicate cirrhosis of the liver. You may have other symptoms if it is your liver, such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin & the whites of your eyes). See your doctor for a liver function test if you are worried.

White striped horizontal lines: these can be caused by kidney failure, heart attacks, sickle-cell disease, or Hodgkin's disease. If you have one of these diseases, you will be feeling it. So if you are feeling terrible, and have these lines, see your doctor immediately for a check up.

Curled nails, otherwise known as 'clubbing': You cannot mistake clubbing of the nails. Clubbing signifies problems with the heart, liver, colon, or lungs. If this is occurring see your doctor immediately for some tests.

Horizontal grooves: these are furrows within the fingernails and can indicate malnutrition or a build up of toxic substances, or a number of different problems with the health. These can be rather common, and likely to be unimportant. But if you are having problems with your health, for example not eating well or abusing drugs, it may be beneficial to have a check-up with your doctor.

Spooning: which look like large indentations vertically across the nail, this may suggest a low iron count (anaemia). If you have these 'bumps' you are likely to be low on iron. A simple blood test from your doctor will confirm this diagnosis. If you have anaemia, alterations in your diet will be required, along with iron supplements. For worst case scenarios, a blood transfusion may be required, however this is unlikely.

Pitting: this can be an indicator of eczema or psoriasis. These are conditions you will have other symptoms with. If it's becoming a problem, then see your doctor for treatments for these conditions.

If you have any of these problems with your fingernails and are generally healthy, and feel well, there is probably nothing to worry about. It is difficult to explain these defects in the nails, so it can be easy to misinterpret what these defects really look like. If you are worried, please visit your doctor. If your doctor thinks there is room for concern, a simple blood test can be taken for a diagnosis.

- Louise Ganey

New Manicare Range: www.girl.com.au/5-reasons-to-love-manicare.htm


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