Saturday, May 26, 2012

5 Things Your Nails Say About Your Health

Most of us take nails for granted. Nails are hardly world record worthy but in reality they actually play a quite significant role. Our nails are made up of layers called keratin. Finger nails grow about 2-3 millimeters per month while toe nails grow 1 millimeter every month.
This information is solely for informational purposes only. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Any action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

The following are 5 things that your nails tell about your health:
  1. Undiagnosed Disease
    Always keep your nails clean and watch out for changes. This is because warning signs of undetected diseases can show up in your nail discoloration, detachment, clubbing, pitting and lines may indicate serious condition.

    Nail Discoloration is frequently nothing more than stain from polish, but it can sometimes hint at disease. There's an array of nail color to watch for white may suggest liver disease: half white, half pink may signal kidney disease and red may mean heart disease. Yellow, thick, slow - growing nails that may detach from the nail bed are an indicator of lung diseases. Lung disease causes low oxygen level in your blood which can lead to clubbing-enlarged fingertips and nails that begin to curve around them. Pitting, tiny dents in the nail plate, is common in psoriasis sufferers and is first seen in the nails in about 10% of psoriasis patients. Pitting can lead to crumbling, splitting nails and damaged cuticles.

    Additionally, there are many types of lines that can form in or under your nails. Irregular red lines at the nail base suggest lupus melanoma appears as dark lines underneath the nail.
    Changes to nails, aren't the only warning signs to underlying disease but can provide clues to your overall health. As part of your annual physical, ask your doctor to take a look at them, just in case.

  2. Infection
    Painful, red and itchy skin around your nail is a big clue that something's not right. Just like other parts of your body finger nail and toe nails are also prone to infection. These infections are usually caused by fungus, bacteria and viral warts. Fungus is extremely hard to treat, thus see a doctor for medicine and expect to see results only after you nails have gone through complete growth cycle. Bacterial Infections mostly target the skin under and around the nails. This can cause nail loss if left untreated. Skin viruses can cause warts around and under the nail, which doctor can freeze off or chemically remove them. Always clean your nail gentle and properly and buy your own manicure tools to avoid the spread of bacteria from person to person.
  3. InjuryAccidents and injuries to your nails do happen if you unintentionally caught a finger in a door or dropped something heavily onto your toe. Mild injuries to nail will cause a small white spots (leukonychia) in the nail plate. These spots grow as your nail grows and you eventually will clip off the damaged part. More severe injuries will cause dark spots (onycholysis), nail detachment and splinter hemorrhages. Splinter hemorrhages are broken blood vessels that look like reddish-brown lines under the nail. These changes are also symptoms to serious medical conditions such as infection, allergic, psoriasis and even melanoma. So if you're seeing the symptoms even though you haven't injured your nail you should see the doctor.
  4. Anxiety and StressMost people bite their finger nail due to anxiety. If you're a nail-bitter you are not alone. Nail-biting is a hard habit to quit, but most people able to give it up by the age of 30. Like fidgeting and thumb-sucking, nail-biting is also a nervous habit. We usually bite our nails when we are nervous or bored. Mild nail-biting doesn't cause much damage to your hands besides leaving them looking unkempt and bloody. This could also cause you to be more prone to infections in your fingernails and your mouth. Frequent visits to the manicure will keep your fingernails clean and prevents you from gnawing them. Nail-biting could also indicate compulsive disorders and this requires behavior therapy. If you're biting your fingernails and was accompanied by hair-pulling, you'll need a doctor to consult with.

  5. Nutritional Deficiencies
    First of all, you are want you eat. Your inner beauty will reflect your beauty on the outside. Healthy food choices rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lean protein and iron are essential for healthy skin, hair and nails. Nails are known for their ability to reflect nutritional deficiencies such as low levels of iron, biotin and protein. For example if have anemia your nail beds will be looking pale and whitish. Most nail problems aren't associated with nutritional problems but if have iron deficiencies your nail will show the symptom.

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