Fingernails and Your Health


Can your fingernails identify health problems? Yes, in many cases, they can. Although doctors and patients should never rely solely on the appearance of fingernails to diagnose health problems, sometimes they provide warning signs that can signal serious illness. Subtle variations in color or texture, with rippling, bumps or pits, on the surface of nails can provide valuable clues about overall health and wellness.

If you are experiencing a nail problem that does not seem to improve, make an appointment with your physician. Fingernails that become whitish in color could signal problems related to the liver. Yellowing nails with a slight blueish base can indicate diabetes, and people with heart disease can have nail beds that are red in color. Clubbing of the fingernails, a condition in which nail tips enlarge and begin to curve, is an outward sign of chronic lung disease.

When healthy nails begin to change in color or texture, the most common cause is a fingernail fungus. The fungus can cause nails to crack, peel, bend and change color or texture. This type of an infection is difficult to cure and should be treated by a dermatologist.

It’s always best to take good care of your nails by keeping them clean and dry. Be alert to changes in previously healthy nails and see your doctor if symptoms do not subside in a reasonable amount of time.

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