Thursday, 17 November 2016

Fact: What Your Nail Colour And Look Says About Your Health.

Fact: What Your Nail Colour And Look Says About Your Health.
Image Credit: apollonailsandspa.com

Nails; very attractive things when properly taken care of and also our natural tool for defence, if you see it from my perspective. With the tendency to be painted all sorts of colours, little wonder why most people attach so much importance to that toughened keratin at the end of an animal's digit.

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Well, since I'm not talking about just any kind of animal here, we 'humans' use our nails to do all sorts of things. In this fashion-obsessed era, the appearance of your nails certainly increases your sex appeal. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. That's correct, but the Nails could do much more than just being 'windows' to the soul. Your nails and their colour also have a lot to say about your personality and health. Constantly increasing in length and thickness, the human nails are capable of telling you when you need to see your doctor. You spend your time trimming, shaping, buffing, and painting your nails, but you probably don’t spend much time looking at them bare. Yeah, they may not be that pretty without all those colours but that means you may be missing spots, stripes, and odd colours that could indicate that something’s up—in a bad way—with your Health.

Nail Anatomy
A. Nail plate; B. lunula; C. root; D. sinus; E. matrix; F. nail bed; G. hyponychium; H. free margin.
Image Credit:en.wikipedia.org

Health care providers often use the fingernail beds ( Labelled F) as an indicator for predicting or diagnosing health problems without having to stick needles in you. This is because the nail bed is the skin just beneath the nail plate and certain symptoms can't help but show themselves on the skin.

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Nevertheless, checking your fingernails for the following abnormalities can help you spot early warning signs, so wipe off that nail polish and take a glance to know what your nails colour say about your health.


1. Yellow Nails: 
Yellow Nails
Image Creditmedia.mercola.com

I don't know, why but the colour yellow hasn't been a colour anyone would want to be identified with especially when it is popularly known to be associated with Jaundice (yellowish or greenish pigmentation of the skin and whites of the eyes due to high bilirubin levels). But don't let your mind wander too far because yellowing of the nails is not associated with jaundice. This can happen naturally with age, But it’s also sometimes due to nail lacquers or acrylic nails.

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On a scarier note, thickened and yellow nails are characteristic of fungal infections in the entire nail bed. Medication is often no help since the infection is in the nail bed and underlying nail plate. Your doctor can prescribe an oral medication, which will reach the entire breadth of the infected nail.


2.  Cracked or Brittle Nails:


Cracked nails
Image Creditmillerfamilydermatology.com

Cracked nails are very common and there are a few possible causes. Brittle nails can occur from dryness on the nail plate (Labelled A). This could be from swimming, extensive use of nail polish remover, washing dishes all the time without gloves, or just from living in a low-humidity environment. Other possible causes include chemicals (such as if you’re frequently exposed to cleaning products) or ageing. However, if brittle nails are an ongoing problem, speak to your doctor: sometimes hypothyroidism (a condition where the thyroid works too slowly) causes this side effect, too.

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To soothe cracked nails, try applying a super-moisturizing lotion. Like your skin, nails can absorb things easily, and lotion can prevent them from drying out in the future. Try choosing a product that contains hyaluronic acid or glycerin. Shea butter can also be used on the nails to help them maintain their moisture. If that doesn’t help, you can also try taking biotin, an over-the-counter nutritional supplement that promotes healthy nail growth.


3. Vertical Ridges:
Image Creditnormanallan.com

Vertical ridges are actually a normal sign of ageing and are not really things you should bother about. Just like wrinkles on your face, you also get lines on your nails as you age. They may become more prominent as you get older.

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In some cases, nail ridges may be due to nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin B12 and magnesium.


4. Horizontal Ridges:
Image Creditmedia.mercola.com

Unlike it's older brother in Number 3, Horizontal ridges appearing on your Nails is not a sign of ageing. Horizontal ridges may also be due to trauma or a serious illness with a high fever (such as from scarlet fever or pneumonia). Horizontal ridges, also known as Beau's lines, may also be due to psoriasis, uncontrolled diabetes, circulatory disease, or severe zinc deficiency.

Read More: Nail Biting: Read This If You're Addicted To Biting Your Nails.

 Another type of horizontal line is known as Mees' lines, which are horizontal discolorations that may be due to arsenic poisoning, Hodgkin's disease, malaria, leprosy, or carbon monoxide poisoning.


5.  Dark Lines:
Dark Lines on Nails
Image CreditShape.com

Just as weird as the finger in the picture above looks, dark lines on the Nails shouldn't be taken for granted. It could be an indication of serious melanoma. Dark brown or black vertical lines on the nail bed should never be ignored. Melanoma, also known as malignant melanoma, is the most serious type of skin cancer that develops in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin — the pigment that gives your skin its colour. The appearance of dark lines on the skin can be a hallmark sign of melanoma, which requires early detection and treatment so you should see your Doctor immediately.

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6. Severely Bitten Nails:


Severely Bitten Nails
Image Creditembarrassingbodieskids.channel4.com

Okay, my hands are in the air because I'm also guilty of this. Most of us 'Nail Biters' developed this annoying habit when we were young and it's really very difficult to quit. Nail-biting is a common habit, but if it’s excessive—say, constant biting or picking at the skin around the nails—it could be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). According to health.com, sometimes psychiatric medicine is required to treat OCD-related nail biting. A bitter-tasting compound that’s polished onto the nails can help, too.” To learn more about OCD, see this post 10 Signs You May Have OCD.


7. Koilonychia a.k.a 'Spoon nails':


Koilonychia Aka, Spoon nails
Image Creditnewsbeat.co.ke

The strange looking word Koilonychia is actually Greek and it refers to abnormally thin nails (usually of the hand) which have lost their convexity, becoming flat or even concave in shape. In a sense, koilonychia is the opposite of nail clubbing.

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In early stages, nails may be brittle and chip or break easily.


8. Blue Nails a.k.a Azure lunula:

Blue Nails a.k.a Azure lunula
Image Credit: quizlet.com

A blue face is a clear indication that someone’s lacking airflow, and blue nails mean the same thing—you’re not getting enough oxygen to your fingertips. This could be caused by respiratory disease or a vascular problem called Raynaud’s Disease, which is a rare disorder of the blood vessels. Some people just have slower blood circulation, especially when exposed to cold temperatures. Have a physician check your blood and oxygenation levels if your nails are persistently blue.


9. Clubbing:


Nail clubbing
Image Creditistockphoto.com

According to Mercola.com, clubbing describes the situation when your fingertips become enlarged and the nail becomes curved downward. It can be a sign of low oxygen in your blood and is associated with lung disease.

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Clubbing can also be related to liver or kidney disease, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and AIDS.


10. White Lines:


Image Creditmercola.com

Stripes on your nails are only a good thing if they are painted on. Horizontal white lines that span the entire nail, are paired, and appear on more than one nail are called Muehrcke’s lines. These could be an indication of kidney disease, liver abnormalities, or a lack of protein and other nutrients. They are thought to be caused by a disruption in blood supply to the nail bed because of an underlying disease. Shorter horizontal white marks or streaks, however, are likely simply the consequence of injury to the base of your nail. These may last from weeks to months and more often than not will vanish all alone.
So just before you apply that new amazing nail polish, take a look at your nails bare. Study them, note every little change in colour and texture. They may tell you things about your health. Thanks for reading.
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