When we were young, fingernails and toenails gave us no trouble . (They may just be a bit dirty). With advancing age, however, they become brittle, hard, fall off or develop infections and become painful. Suddenly, we are forced to notice our nails!
Looks of nails reveals many things:
Healthy nails are usually smooth and light pink in colour. Blue nails occur when there is a lack of oxygen in the blood (heart and lung disease). Nails can turn black in vitamin B12 deficiency. A horizontal depression or discoloration can develop across the nail due to illness, antibiotics or chemotherapy. The line becomes prominent as the nail grows out and then gradually disappears. Nails may grow brittle if there is anaemia and can also become spoon shaped. The opposite, a bulged out, parrot-beak like club-shaped nail is seen in chronic obstructive airways disease. Splitting and fraying are associated with hypothyroidism and psoriasis.
Click & see…>Healthy nails
Most important, a close examination of the nails can reveal other disease processes such as iron deficiency (anaemia), vitamin B12 deficiency, diabetes, kidney and liver disease and even infection of the heart valves (endocarditis).
In older people (particularly those who have high blood sugar) an infected ingrown toenail (usually the big toe) is a common problem. This occurs when toenails are trimmed too short, blades or knives are used instead of nail cutters or if the edges of the nails are picked and torn.
Growth of nails:
Fingernails grow faster than toenails. The rate of growth depends on health, heredity and sex. Growth slows during illness and with increasing age, but at the same time, the nails become tougher. They are then more difficult to trim.
In prehistoric times people had to bite their nails to trim them but today it is a social no-no. Biting in itself is harmless but it can cause secondary bacterial infection of the skin around the nail. It can cause and perpetuate worm infestation. It can transmit flu viruses acquired from contaminated surfaces directly to the mouth. Bitten down nails may work against you in job interviews. It is a habit that is arises out of lack of impulse control, and is perpetuated by stress.
If there is no diabetes, an ingrown toenail can be treated at home by soaking it in warm salted water for 10 minutes and placing a cotton ball soaked in antibiotic ointment under it.
Nails are also prone to fungal infections. This destroys the nails and gives it an “eaten away” appearance. Topical ointments are not very effective. Medicines have to be taken orally until the infection resolves and a healthy nail grows out. This takes anywhere from three to six months. Medical conditions like psoariasis may mimic fungal infection. A proper diagnosis is essential before embarking on treatment.
For taking care of toe nails, it is advised to wear slippers or open-toed sandals as in worm climate they are better than shoes. If shoes have to be worn, they should fit properly. Shoes that people wear every day should have plenty of room around the toes so that nails do not hit the end of the shoe. They should also not be too loose as your feet will slide forward while walking or running and hit the end damaging the nails.It is always adviced to wear socks when one wears shoes.
Resources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)
Diagnose Health Issues by Looking at Your Nails:-
Your fingernails and toenails are not just decorations for the ends of your palms and feet; they’re also an effective warning system for our health. So from now on, before you clip or paint your nails, take a look because they might be trying to tell you something.
WARNING – Some of these images may be unpleasant to look at
1. Dark bands on the nail tips
The tips of the nails seem to have dark bands on each one. This may just be a sign of old age. According to Mayo Clinic, it can also indicate “Terry’s nails“, diabetes, liver disease or even cognitive heart failure. If your doctor diagnoses you as diabetic, you may want to consult with a podiatrist on how to cut your nails to prevent harm.
2. White nails
If your nails are white as seen in the picture,WebMD warns that it may indicate liver problems or hepatitis.
3. Clubbed nails
According to the NCBI, nails that are round as seen in the picture may indicate lung problems.
4. Yellow Nails
According to WebMD, if your nails have a yellowish tinge, it may indicate a fungal infection, and even thyroid or lung disease.
5. “Spoon” nails
If the nail edges curve upwards and are soft to the touch, the Mayo Clinic says that it may indicate anemia, heart disease, liver problems, or hypothyroidism.
6. Weak nails
The nails split and chip easily and are overall weak. This often indicates abuse of acrylic nail polish. Let your nails “breath” for a few days, it will help them regain their strength.
7. Bitten nails
WebMD confirms that nails that are bitten down often indicate a state of anxiety, stress, or boredom. Applying foul-tasting nail polish can help you stop chewing on them.
8. Nail dents
If your nails have vertical dents, the NHS says that you may be suffering from skin disorders like eczema or psoriasis, as well as arthritis or even alopecia areata.
9. Loose nails
The nails are loose and come off the nail bed with ease? Cedars-Sinai says that it can indicate hyperthyroidism. If you’re a runner, however, it may just indicate that you’re wearing ill-fitting shoes.
10. Blue nails
Nails that are bluish in color are often an indicator of a lack of oxygen to the extremities. This is why surgeons insist on patients removing any nail polish before undergoing anesthesia. Another possible diagnosis is lung problems, according toWebMD.
11. Ingrown toenails
This is one of the most common nail-related ailments, characterizes by the edges of the toenail growing into the flesh of the toe. This condition may be accompanied by infection and pain.WebMD indicates that the most common causes are: Ill-fitting shoes, trauma to the toe or incorrect trimming of the nails.
12. Dark nails
According to AAFP, if your nails take on a dark color in conjunction with a discoloration of the skin, it may be an indication of melanoma (skin cancer).
13. Nail ridges
Vertical ridges along the nail are actually nothing to worry about.
14. Hematoma under the nail
If you notice spots of red/brown/black color under the nail, it’s most likely indicative of a hematoma, caused by mild trauma to the nail. The AOCDsays that the best treatment is to elevate your feet and ice the injured toe.
15. Horizontal ridges
Horizontal ridges along the nail, known as “Beau’s lines”, occur in cases of zinc deficiency, as well as diabetes, and as a result of high fever. (Source:Mayo Clinic)
16. Thin nails
The AAD warns that constant use of gel nail polish and the subsequent use of UV light and other chemicals can result in thinning of the nails. If this is the case, allow some time for the nails to recover before resuming your gel manicure.
17. Cracked / Missing nails
The NCBI warns that if any part of your nail looks similarly to the discolored, cracked nail in the image on the right, it may indicate that you have a fungal infection called onychomycosis.
18. Pincer nails
According to the NCBI, ill-fitting shoes, excessive trimming, a hereditary condition, and in rare conditions – tumors, can result in the formation of curved “pincer nails”.
19. White spots on the nails
Are there white spots on your nails? WebMD says it’s most likely a result of harsh manicure, nail trauma or ever a hereditary trait.
20. Nail pain
If your nails look healthy but are sore or even painful, visit your doctor and have your nails checked. Pain in the nails can be any of the above reasons, so having them looked at by an expert is not a bad idea.
Source: E-mail From of a renowned Doctor