You know what they say: ‘nails are the windows to the soul’. Well, that’s not quite true, but nails are certainly the windows to our health! The amount of attention paid to nails varies from person to person, but there are certain warning signs on our nails that no one should ignore. Although unsightly nails may be the result of poor maintenance, they could also be evidence of a serious health concern; therefore, knowing what to look out for could help you identify a problem before it develops into something worse!
Yellow nails are most often the result of a fungal infection, which is thankfully easily to treat. However, if left untreated, nails can become irrevocably damaged and will increasingly thicken before crumbling off the nail bed. On the other hand, if treatment is administered but fails to banish the yellowy hue it could be a sign of thyroid issues, diabetes, or, in rare cases, cancer.
In daily life we unavoidably come into contact with a multitude of chemicals that can cause nails to become brittle and cracked. Nevertheless, it is important to be wary of fungal infections that can cause your nails to split, as well as a condition call hypothyroidism which inhibits hormone production, leading to weakened nails. In fact, it could very well be the latter if you are displaying other symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and weight gain.
Trapping your fingers in a door can be extremely painful and will usually cause bleeding under the nails that shows as persistent black or purplish marks. However, if your nails have experienced no recent trauma but you are seeing dark lines or marks underneath them, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible, as this could be a sign of skin cancer.
If the surfaces of your nails are anything but smooth, you could already be suffering from a deficiency in, for example, Zinc, Calcium, or Vitamin A, or be about to develop an aggravating skin condition, namely eczema or psoriasis. Irregularities in the nail surface can vary, but ripples or shallow dents, known as pitting, are most often associated with the above concerns.
Bitten nails are indeed self-inflicted, but the act of biting nails, and often the skin around them, can sometimes be the mind’s way of expressing anxiety which itself can range from frustrating to debilitating. Although for some, nail biting is simply a lingering habit, for others it can be an obsessive activity of which the underlying cause should be treated.
‘Onycholysis’ is the medical term for nail separation, which, as the title suggests, is the detachment of one or more nails from the nail bed. In some cases, this can be caused by exposure to a harsh chemical or medication, but in other cases it can be a sign of thyroid disease.