From yellow discolorations to black spots and pitted nails, there are a lot of nail changes that indicate a variety of medical conditions ranging from trauma to diabetes and vascular disease. If your nails have changed dramatically in appearance lately, make sure to check out our list featuring 10 disturbing things your nails reveal about your health!
1. Black Spots or Stripes
In most cases, the appearance of a black or dark brown colored spot or stripe on your nail signifies nothing else but the fact that your finger has been in an accident. But if you do not recall suffering any trauma recently, then other possibilities include fungus under the nail, as well as an overproduction of melanin – meaning, a mole. Since dark nails can sometimes indicate more serious conditions including melanoma (a form of skin cancer) or psoriasis, visiting a specialist is definitely the recommended way to go.
2. Discolored Yellow Nails
Dealing with yellow nails? There are many causes why your nails might be turning yellow and they range from completely harmless to serious. Firstly, more often than not, subtly yellow nails indicate that you’ve been abusing your nail polish and the harsh acetone-based remover excessively lately. But in other cases, yellow nails can signify the appearance of an infection in your body, as well as the fact that you are an avid smoker. And if you’re also experiencing other symptoms like fatigue and increased thirst, discolored yellow nails can indicate diabetes.
3. Brittle Nails
Your nails are the right color (light pink), but they are extremely sensitive and break or peel easily – if so, you might be dealing with brittle nails. While in most cases, having brittle nails is just a normal sign of aging, other cases indicate that you might be lacking various minerals or vitamins from your diet, as well as serious health conditions like thyroid diseases or endocrine disorders. If your nails chip off and split rather easily and you’re also experiencing other unexplained symptoms, it might be a good idea to get checked by a specialist.
4. Very Thick Nails
Lately, your nails, and especially your toe nails are looking rather thick and hard. In more cases than not, hard toe nails indicate that you are dealing with some sort of fungus under the nail bed, especially if you are also noticing some degree of discoloration. In other instances, thick nails indicate conditions like psoriasis, which is a skin disease that can affect the nails as well – and if you are also dealing with nails that are not only thick, but also brittle, then you might want to get checked for diabetes.
5. White Nails
The normal, healthy color of your nails should be a natural shade of rosy pink – and if your nails are anything but, it might be time to get checked by a doctor. Many people deal with white nails or pale nails – and this type of discoloration comes with a variety of causes. In most cases, white or pale nails indicate the existence of an infection in the body. In other instances, discolored white nails can reveal problems with your liver, especially if you are dealing with other symptoms as well, such as fatigue and jaundice of the skin.
6. Pitted Nails
Noticing the appearance of small, pinprick holes in your nails? This type of nail symptoms is very easy to identify – and as you might have guessed, it can reveal various things about your health. In most cases, pitted nails come together with connective tissue disorders, ranging from alopecia areata to Reiter’s syndrome. In other cases, pitted nails are a symptom of various skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis – and, in some cases, lichen planus, so make sure to book an appointment with a dermatologist if you suspect any of these.
7. White Spots or Stripes
Hurt your finger a few days ago, and you’re now looking at white stripes and dots on the affected nail? Then the cause of your nail symptom is clear: recent trauma. But if you haven’t been in any minor accidents lately and you haven’t been using acetone weekly on repeat, then you should know that white spots or lines on your nails can indicate a deficiency in Calcium, as well as Zinc or even protein. A healthy diet will surely improve your symptoms, in case you are indeed suffering with a mineral deficiency.
8. Nail Clubbing
This next symptom is very unique and easy to identify – we’re talking about nail clubbing, namely the bulbous appearance of both the tip of your fingers and your nails. The main cause for nail clubbing is reduced amounts of oxygen in the body, which can occur due to serious lung diseases including lung cancer. There are other serious diseases associated with nail clubbing, ranging from thyroid illnesses to liver conditions, so make sure to see a doctor immediately once you notice that your nails are becoming bulbous.
9. Red Streaks
When you notice a red streak across your nail, chances are that you are looking at a broken blood vessel that appeared as a result of a trauma. But in other cases, dark red streaks can reveal serious conditions that definitely need a doctor’s opinion. In many situations, redness of the nails can indicate Lupus, as well as heart disease – but most patients that suffer with these serious conditions present three or more nails with red streaks, and rarely a single one. If red streaks on your nails are an often occurrence, make sure to pay a visit to your doctor.
10. Beau’s Lines
You just noticed the appearance of various horizontal lines across your finger or toe nails, from side to side – if so, the condition is called Beau’s lines and it appears as a result of various injuries in 90% of the cases. In other situations, Beau’s lines can indicate serious medical conditions like vascular disease, as well as diabetes and hay fever. And if your lines are vertical rather than horizontal, then you’ll be relieved to know that these type of marks are a simple and very common sign of aging.