Are Your Nails Telling You Something You Don’t Know?

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By Brent McNutt

You file them and paint them, but have you taken a closer look at your nails recently? If you do stop to examine them, nails may have a story to tell. Particularly with their color and texture, nails can indicate certain disease or imbalances within the body. The following is a list of common nail abnormalities and their meanings.

White Nails. If you notice that your fingernails become opaque and take on a white hue, it’s time to get tested. Hepatitis, a disease of the liver characterized inflammation of the tissue cells. Caused by overindulgence of alcohol or other infections, hepatitis can go unsystematic and, therefore, undetected. Jaundice, yellowing of the skin, is also associated with hepatitis.

Pale white nail beds. Pale nail beds are linked to anemia, or a low level of normal red blood cells. If brought on by severe blood loss, than anemia is an obvious explanation. However, a more likely reason for this imbalance is blood cell destruction or inability to produce red blood cells. If you experience weakness, fatigue or poor concentration along with the nail abnormality, seek medical attention to test for possible anemia.


Yellow nails. Associated with the normal aging process, yellow nails can be linked to diseases, as well. People diagnosed with diabetes often have the presence of yellow nails. The yellowish tint is usually more prominent on the nails of the feet.

Yellowish, thick nails. If you’re a smoker, the discoloration of your nails may be more than just an unsightly nuisance that can be cleared up with a coat of red nail polish. Appearance of thick, yellowish nails is a sign of emphysema, or lung disease. Perform an internet search for images of lungs corrupted by emphysema and photos of cross sections of blackened, carbon-filled lungs pop on screen. The price of cigarettes won’t be the only reason you quit.

Dark lines beneath the nail. Fungus isn’t pretty, but at least it’s not cancerous. Appearing mostly under the thumb nail or the nail of the big toe, melanoma can masquerade as something less lethal. Attempting to eliminate the dark growths beneath nails with antifungal medication could be a misguided effort. Typically found in people over 50, melanoma hiding under the nail can be treated by surgical removal of the affected skin or, in some more serious cases, amputation of the finger or toe.

Rippling of the nails. Indentations that ripple or pit can mean one of two things – psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis. A skin disease that can originate in the nails, psorisis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the skin and the joints. It is chronic and treatment varies from individual to individual. Success is usually found by trial and error. Painful, stiff joints plague those afflicted with inflammatory arthritis. Treatment for the joint pain usually anesthetizes and does not treat the root cause. Testing and alternative approaches can locate and eradicate the problem.

The next time you begin a manicure or pedicure, pay close attention. You may spot a blemish or funny color. Check the list

About the Author: Brent McNutt enjoys talking about

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and networking with healthcare professionals online.


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