Occasional cracks, redness, blue discoloration, or whitish lines on the nail are usually seen after minor trauma that gradually heals and the nail bed heals. But if fingernails change color, shape, texture for a long time, then this can be an early warning sign of serious health problems. In the presence of one of the following signs, there is a reason to see a doctor and be examined in order to exclude dangerous diseases.
1. Pale and thin fingernails
If your fingernails look thin and pale, this may be a sign that your body is not getting enough iron. Deficiency of this essential trace mineral reduces the amount of oxygen that the blood carries throughout the body . You should try to increase the amount of foods rich in iron in your daily diet (beef liver, red meat, dark leafy vegetables, legumes, etc.). After consulting with a specialist, you can take a course of vitamins or dietary supplements fortified with iron.
Since iron deficiency in the body is closely associated with anemia, persistently thin and pale nails may indicate the onset of this unpleasant disease. If, in addition to pale nails, a person often feels fatigue, drowsiness, dizziness, then he needs to get a blood test as soon as possible in order to find out about the exact diagnosis and, if necessary, start treatment.
2. Pale nails with a bluish base
When sugar is poorly absorbed by the body, lack of energy and nutrients can lead to pale nails, just like iron deficiency. However, in this case, the crescent-shaped base of the nail is usually tinted bluish. Most often this happens with an insulin deficiency or diabetes, when the functions of the liver and pancreas are impaired. This stops the production of enzymes needed to regulate blood glucose levels. If you suspect diabetes (along with other characteristic signs), you need to take a sugar test, consult a doctor and try to limit the consumption of sweets.
3. White stripes
Fingernails marked with several pale gray or white stripes along the horizontal may indicate a lack of protein in the body. Most likely, the person in this case is too carried away by the consumption of fiber and carbohydrates. Meat, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and others will help add protein to the body. After the diet is normalized, the whitish stripes on the nails usually disappear. In some cases, nails with these streaks can report kidney and liver problems. Only a doctor can correctly diagnose these diseases.
4. Yellowish tint
Loose and brittle nails on the legs and arms with a yellowish tinge most often indicate the presence of fungal diseases on the nail plate and skin of the fingers. Fungal infections develop actively between the nails and skin. It can be very difficult to get rid of this misfortune. The easiest way to do this is at the initial stage of the disease. In an advanced form, treatment can last for several years. However, medications prescribed by a doctor often cause unwanted side effects.
But the fungus is not always to blame for the yellowish tint of the nail plate. This symptom often occurs in those who suffer from liver disease. If at the same time the nails began to grow much more slowly, then, perhaps, there are problems with the functioning of the lungs, including such serious diseases as emphysema or pleurisy.
5. Redness at the base of the nail
If redness is observed at the base of the nails and the color of the nail “crescent” seems brighter than the usual pink tint, then this may indicate poor blood circulation and a bad heart. When redness appears irregularly as reddish lines around the cuticle or the sides of the nail plate, it could be a sign of an autoimmune disorder like lupus. With it, the body begins to attack its own healthy tissues, mistaking them for pathogens or foreign substances. If redness is noticeable on the entire nail plate, it is often associated with erythremia – a type of leukemia, a tumor disease of the hematopoietic tissue.
6. Bluish or purple nail plate
The bluish-purple color of nails most often indicates problems with the heart, blood circulation and blood vessels. These can be congenital heart defects, arrhythmia, tachycardia, angina pectoris, etc. In this case, poor blood flow deprives the nails of oxygen, so the skin under them turns blue or takes on a cold dark purple hue. To rule out this fact, it is best to take blood tests, undergo a cardiogram and talk to a cardiologist.
7. Dark stripes
If there are one or more dark brown stripes along the entire length of the nails, formed for an undefined reason (not a bruise or a bruise), and dark brown spots and moles began to appear more and more throughout the body, then the development of skin cancer may have begun. If you have such suspicions, you should immediately consult a doctor to clarify the diagnosis and, if necessary, start urgent treatment. In addition to occupational therapy, it is beneficial for cancer to include more antioxidant-rich foods in the diet. This will help slow down the further spread of free radicals that damage healthy cells in the body.
8. Uneven nail plate
Nails marked with many small pits can signal an early stage of psoriasis, an inflammatory skin disease that subsequently leads to large, painful rashes all over the body. Irregularities in the nail plate can also occur with fungal infections, or after physical injury to the nail.
9. Brittle or thin nails
Lack of nutrients has a negative effect on the health of nails: they become thin and brittle. But sometimes this condition of the nails, along with a constant feeling of fatigue for no apparent reason, are symptoms of hypothyroidism – a disease in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones to maintain the body’s metabolism at the proper level. If, in addition to brittle nails, a person experiences bouts of nausea, is rapidly gaining weight and begins to hear poorly, then he should visit an endocrinologist.
10. Flaky nails
Nails exfoliate for a variety of reasons: vitamin deficiency, stress, fungus, lack of calcium, improper care, allergies, injuries, etc. But if the nails begin to exfoliate and easily separate from the nail bed for no apparent reason, then this may indicate an excess of thyroid hormones.