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What your Nails tell about your Health

When we were kids and found a white speck on the nails, we would be very happy. It was a sign that the egret (the commonly found bird relaxing on a buffalo’s back) had laid an egg on our nail and hence brought good luck to us. Sometimes we would catch a glimpse of the bird somewhere in the distance being frequently shooed by the buffalo’s tail and chant the mantra “bagula anda de” as if it would secretly deliver its magical egg on our nails and relieve all the worries of exams, school bullies and unfinished home works.

Now as a saner adult I know that the egret or bagula cannot lay its egg on my nail and though I would like to believe that the white speck on the nail is good omen, it is not. It is in fact sign of calcium deficiency.

Just like this little fact, there are hundreds of health facts hidden in your nails if you only have the time to see. Here is what your nails might reveal about your health,

Pale White Nails – These types of nails are usually associated with aging but if you are not over 50, they might also reveal that you have anaemia, liver problems, heart problems or suffering from malnutrition.

Rippled Nails – When you touch some nails they do not feel sooth but more like the formation of mini crests and troughs. These are called rippled nails and can be the first sign of psoriasis as the disease is a skin condition that starts from the nails 10 percent of the times. The rippled nails may also signal inflammatory arthritis. With the ripples there also might be discoloration and the skin beneath becoming reddish-brown.

Bluish Nails – This condition occurs mostly when the body is not getting enough oxygen. It may be the early signs of lung infection like pneumonia and if the tips are bluish it migh be signalling diabetes.

Yellow Nails – A fungal infection most commonly causes yellow nails. If the infection is severe it may also cause the nails to retract from the nail bed, and the nails can also thicken and crumble. In some cases the yellow nails are also an indicator of diabetes, thyroid problems, lung problems or psoriasis

Puffy Folds – Sometimes the skin around the nails becomes puffy and reddish. This is an indicator of connective tissue disorder or lupus. If you have touched a hot vessel or your finger has pressed hard into something, then the resulting puffiness of course is not lupus or a disorder but an injury whose reason you already know about.

Black lines – If there are black lines visible beneath the nails, these might be the first signs of melanoma a type of skin cancer. If you are concerned you can refer to a doctor immediately.

Cracked Nails – Nails that are cracked and split and not forming a uniform cover over the finger tip might show thyroid problems. But if the cracking is also with yellowness of the nails that might indicate a fungal infection.

Gnawed nails – This might happen as a result of nail biting, but while the reason of the distorted conditions of the nails is known, the habit itself may indicate anxiety, or obsessive compulsive disorder.

Nails therefore say a lot about you than you realise at first glance. They are sometimes the earliest signs of a health problem. Though not all nail anomalies are a sign of a health problem, if you have doubts about the changed appearance of the nails or a consistent odd colour seen on them, it is always wise to consult a doctor.

Image Credit nightrose via cc/Flickr

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