You may be obsessed with nail art or manicures but that’s not where you should focus your energy. Do you know that every year Americans spend more than $700 million on nail polish alone? But what if we tell you nails can help you understand your health and even get ahead in your health check-ups.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the shape, texture and colour of your fingernails can reveal a lot about your health problems. In fact the change in your nails can also predict any medical issue you might be going through. So how can nails help you keep your health in check?
1. Stay away from yellow
Yellow nails are never a good sign. Yes your nails can acquire a yellow-ish hue owing to your age or because of an old nail paint, but in most cases, yellow nails are a sign of fungal infection. Some medical studies have connected yellow nails to thyroids and diabetes. If you find your nails yellowing gradually, seek doctor’s help.
2. Are your nails too dry?
Extremely dry and brittle nails are also connected to some unfortunate diseases.If your nails break off easily or are never in shape, or if they are too dry and flaky, chances are you have tendencies of thyroid disease. Cracked nails or split nails can happen due to a specific condition called hypothyroidism, which is a disease and should be identified swiftly.
3. What is clubbing?
You probably have clubbed nails but you don’t even realize it. Clubbing is when your nails are overgrown and the tips start curving downwards. You probably see it and think it’s natural but clubbed nails are related to heart disorders, lung diseases and irritable bowel syndrome.
4. Notice those white spots?
Probably the only nail condition which is not very telling. You probably have multiple white spots on your nails but they should not alarm you. White spots often appear on fingernails after some sort of nail trauma, and are not to be taken too seriously.
5. Horizontal ridges
Have you ever noticed horizontal ridges on your nails? They may be totally normal but should not be totally avoided. The ridges or unevenness are sometimes caused by nail trauma but can be associated with a high fever or a prolonged illness. Doctors explain that these ridges occur as the body works harder to fight the bacteria and germs.
6. Discoloured lines are never good
Have you ever noticed strange faded lines on your nails, which sometimes turn into dents? Doctors believe that discoloration is a sign of melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer. Which is why you should always consult a doctor if you experience it.
7. Do you bite your nails?
You might be a nail-biter, as are millions of people around the world. But do you know what it suggests? Nail biting is a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. People often bite their nails under stress or if they’re suffering from OCD. Interestingly, if OCD takes over your life and messes with your daily routine, it is essential to talk to a doctor.
8. Beware of infection
Do you know biting your nails can cause infection and sometimes it can lead to something serious? As you bite your nails, yeast or bacteria or other germs which are often found in our saliva or skin can enter your nails and cause infection. Remember our skin and nails have different immunity guards. And deals with germs differently.
9. Should be careful with kids
Scientists have noticed that nail-biting is a habit which starts from a very young age, mostly teenage or adolescence. People rarely develop a habit of biting nails as an adult. Which is why parents need to be careful about letting their children develop this unseemly habit.
10. What causes bluish nails?
Have you ever seen your nails turn blue? If not, that’s a good sign. But you must note that if your fingernails turn bluish it is a sign of lack of oxygen in your system. This is obviously associated with a lung or a heart disorder.
11. What are spoon nails?
Ever had your nails curl upwards like a spoon? Spoon nails can be a serious sign of physical disorder and you must be careful. If you ever see your nails growing upwards like a spooning structure, you might have symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia or a heart disease.
12. How to get healthy nails?
It is important that you maintain a set of healthy nails. Remember that you use nails to eat and to wash and clean yourself and it is of utmost importance that they should be hygienic. Doctors recommend a healthy and balanced diet for getting healthy nails, preferably low on salt but high on minerals. Especially free-range eggs and meat that is grass-fed will lead to healthier nails, when consumed.
Most people do not hydrate their nails or moisturize them. This is a mistake, as nails, much like hair and skin need hydration to stay healthy. You must wash and moisturize your fingernails at least once a day.
14. The nail bed is important
If you suffer from excessive nail breakage, your nail might need more moisture than usual and your nail bed must be taken care of. You can use oil around the nail bed to keep it healthy.
15. Don’t try to mess with the cuticles
Don’t be brash or careless while cutting your nails as you might end up hurting or manipulating your cuticles. Always take at least 10 minutes to cut and shape your nails.