nails: 12 abnormalities can tell a lot about health
Often a change in the color, shape, and texture of the nails is an occasion to consult a doctor.
What is the norm
The nails of a healthy person are even, shiny, gently pink in color, with a pronounced whitish well at the base. At the same time, the nail plate is constantly renewed, growing about one millimeter in a week.
With age, the nail plate thickens and becomes more brittle. This is part of the natural aging process of the body. Fragility is also characteristic of nails of pregnant women. But within half a year after giving birth, usually, everything comes back to normal.
It is permissible if the nails are broken due to a lack of vitamins or turn yellow due to poor-quality lacquer. Sometimes the nail plate can even turn black and fall off if a finger is pinched or struck
In a healthy person, the nails on the hands are fully restored within 4-6 months, on the legs – for 6-8 months.
But there are stable pathologies, which we often do not even pay attention to. But in vain. Some changes in the shape, color, and texture of the nails, as well as the skin around them, can indicate abnormalities in the work of internal organs and the presence of a variety of, sometimes serious diseases.
What are the deviations
1. Excessive friability
If the nail breaks, just looking out the edge of the finger, it is likely that the body is deficient in vitamins A, E, and C, as well as iron and zinc. Sometimes, fragility can be a consequence of thyroid diseases and a harbinger of diabetes.
2. White Spots
In the people, they are considered a good sign, in medicine this pathology is called leukonychia. Between the layers of the nail plate are formed microscopic air bubbles, which on the surface look like white dots and stripes.
Leukonychia is point-like (a couple of spots on several nails) and total (when the entire plate is affected). The reasons are varied: from injuries and unbalanced nutrition to exhaustion of the nervous system and heart failure.
3. Point pits
The shape and color of the nails look as usual. But if you look closely, the nail plate is permeated with tiny indentations (like a needle with a needle). Physicians even have such a term – a hysterical ichtykannost.
It is almost always a sign of psoriasis. Sometimes this is how eczema or arthritis can manifest itself.
Having discovered this or any other pathology of the nail, you should not self-medicate. The first thing to do is to make an appointment with a therapist and/or dermatologist, and take tests. Only a professional doctor and clinical studies are able to give an exact answer, what is the cause of the pathology. Maybe it’s some stage of psoriasis, or maybe just a gland in the thyroid or the gastrointestinal tract.
4. Large or small lunula
Lunulae or holes are a light crescent at the base of the nail. They should occupy about a third of it and be well marked.
Too large holes are for athletes and people engaged in heavy physical labor. Sometimes they can indicate a malfunction in the work of the heart and blood vessels, low blood pressure.
Small, barely peeping out from under the cuticle lunula, can be a sign of a lack of vitamin B12 and iron, as well as problems with blood circulation.
5. Cross grooves
These are the so-called lines of Bo. The pathology of the nail plate in the form of transverse lines up to one millimeter in depth was first revealed by the French military surgeon Joseph Honore Simon Bo.
The lines of Bo are formed due to damage to the matrix of the nail plate. When she lacks nutrition, the chemical composition of the nail changes and its plate deforms. Most often this is due to the hard diets bordering on starvation.
Also, these injuries can be mechanical (when the nail is hit in the area of the hole) or toxic nature (due to strong drugs or chemotherapy). Sometimes Bo lines can appear against the background of cardiovascular diseases, fungal and other infections.
6. Longitudinal grooves
If for the elderly such a change in the relief of the nails can be considered the norm, then for people under 50 years the protruding vertical strips speak, most likely, about the lack of B vitamins and trace elements (zinc, iron, magnesium).
It can also be the result of a bad manicure or pedicure: the cuticle has been pushed too far and the nail root has been damaged. But in these cases, there are only a few vertical strips.
If they hit more than 25% of the nails, you should check the health of the internal organs. First of all, the cardiovascular and digestive system.
If the pathology is not of an infectious nature, you know its cause and have already started treatment, then you can give the damaged nails aesthetic appearance. In any good salon, there are spa treatments for nails. For example, for nutrition and moisturizing, you can do Japanese manicure (P-Shine) or paraffin therapy. For smoothness – grinding and polishing the nail plate.
7. Spoon-shaped nails
This is a koilonychia, that is, a deformation of the nail plate, in which its center bends, and the edges are turned upwards. Discomfort is not delivering, color and smoothness are preserved, but it looks ugly.
The easiest way to identify the koilonychia is to drop water on the nail. Drop freely slipped? Everything is fine. Is the drop stuck in the groove? There is an occasion to reflect.
Most often concave nails are a consequence of a lack of iron in the body and endocrine disorders. The acquired causes of koilonychia also include injuries, contact with chemicals and sudden temperature changes.
In addition, the spoon-like nails can arise due to gene mutations and are inherited.
Another name is the fingers of Hippocrates. This is a symptom, in which the nail plates thicken and become like watch-glass. In this case, if you look at the finger from the side, the angle between the posterior nail roller and the nail plate exceeds 180 °.
Drumsticks are always a sign of a serious illness. They can manifest themselves in diseases of the lungs (from tuberculosis to cancer), heart and blood vessels (heart defects, endocarditis, and others), gastrointestinal tract (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and others).
9. The detachment of the nails
In medicine, this is called onycholysis – a violation of the nail and nail bed, when a void forms between them and the nail plate changes color.
In 60% of cases, the cause is the injury. When the impact is compressed the vessels in the dermis, the nourishment of the nail is disturbed, its chemical composition and elasticity change. Another 30% accounted for fungal diseases and allergic reactions. The remaining 10% of onycholysis develop due to systemic somatic diseases.
When the nail plate starts to rise, it no longer covers the nail bed that nourishes it. This can lead to infection. If you hit or had any contact with chemicals and suddenly noticed that the nail began to exfoliate, you need to use antifungal and regenerating agents as soon as possible.
10. Half to half
This is called the syndrome, in which half of the nail plate is white, and a half, closer to the tip, is brownish.
The most likely cause is renal failure, which increases the number of blood vessels under the fingernails and they shine through the nail plate.
Also, “half-nail” nails are found in HIV-positive people and those who have undergone chemotherapy.
11. White, yellow and bluish nails
Changing the color of the nail plate is a signal that it’s time to take care of your health.
If the nails are suddenly white, it is worth checking the digestive and cardiovascular system and pay special attention to the liver. Yellow tinge also provokes liver disease, as well as pathology of the endocrine and lymphatic system. Cyanosis indicates a lack of oxygen, a low level of hemoglobin, or poor blood circulation.
12. A single dark line
Most often a black band appears on the nail plate due to trauma or malfunctioning of the digestive system . And for some people this is a feature of natural skin pigmentation.
But if you eat normally, do not hit anywhere, and on the nail suddenly appeared blackening, it is better to see a doctor. This may be a symptom of melanoma – a malignant skin cancer.
How to preserve the beauty and health of nails?
Here are some general recommendations
Proper nutrition, healthy sleep, and sports should be the default. Regularly inspect the nail plates and take care of your hands.
- Do a manicure and a pedicure. In time, cut or file the free edge of the nails, treat the cuticle.
- Do not gnaw your nails.
- Wear gloves when working with chemicals and during digging in beds.
- Take vitamins.
- Regularly smear your hands and nails with a nourishing cream.
- Do not wear tight shoes, do not put your fingers in the cracks and be careful with the hammer.
Going out to places of large concentrations of people, use liquid gloves (this is an emulsion). The risk of contracting infectious diseases through the hands is now very high.
Having seen on the nail plates signs of ill health, use antifungal agents and regenerating drugs. If the pathology is stable, be sure to take tests and go to the doctor.