Believe it or not, your fingernails are like a window to your body’s immune system. They can tell you if you are healthy or if there may be a medical condition brewing that needs further attention from a physician. Your fingernails can indicate if you have an inflammatory condition, diabetes, hypothyroidism, or some other ailment.
Yellow nails can be a sign of a fungal infection. However, it can also be a tell-tale sign of something much worse taking place in your body.
If yellow nails continue to be problematic after a course of fungal medication, you may want to be screened for thyroid conditions or diabetes. Sometimes, however rare, yellow nails can be a precursor for skin cancer.
If you see that your nails have yellowed over time, it is best to make an appointment with your doctor and have some blood work done.
Your nails should be smooth and clear in color. If you ever see that they are starting to look rippled or pitted, you should see a physician.
Rippled or pitted nails is a sign of psoriasis, eczema, or other inflammatory arthritis conditions. They may also be a sign of iron, calcium, zinc, or vitamin A deficiency.
Black Nail Beds
While black nail beds are typically caused by some sort of injury, if no assault took place, you should see a doctor. Black nail beds or black lines in the nails can be a sign of melanoma or other cancers. [READ: Benefits Of Collagen Supplements For Skin, Hair And Nails]
Split, Cracked, or Brittle Nails
Fungal infection usually causes nail splitting and cracking. However, sometimes, nail splitting can be indicative of a thyroid problem. [READ: Home Made Solutions For Brittle Nails and Dry Hair]
Other symptoms are usually also noted, but overlooked, including:
- Weight gain
- Joint pain
White nails can be a sign of liver problems. Common in people with hepatitis, if your nails have turned white over time, you should see your doctor.
Discolored and Misshapen Nails
Nails that are discolored, yellow or brown, and are oddly misshapen are typically from a fungal infection. Toenail fungus is tough to get rid of since they are often in the nail bed. This area is hard to access with traditional treatments.
A variety of organisms causes fungal infections. Yeast, mold, and other fungus are often to blame.
Issues like athlete’s foot are caused by several different fungal infections and are easily transferred from toe to toe and foot to foot. It is very contagious.
Age also brings toenail fungus, as well as those with diabetes, vascular disease, and suppressed immune systems.
Puffy Cuticles and Nail Skin
An infection called paronychia often causes skin that is red and swollen around the nails. However, if the skin issue is not resolved after taking antibiotics, you may have lupus or another type of connective tissue inflammatory disease.
Something as simple as your nails are often overlooked when it comes to diagnosing diseases and disorders. However, they can be a sign that something is awry with your immune system. If your nails are suddenly discolored, breaking, rippled, or just odd-looking, you should bring this to the attention of your doctor. They can run bloodwork to see if everything is normal or if something comes back as unusual. You can learn more about fingernail health here.