What do you think of when I say “fingernails?” For most people, visions of pretty nail polish in every color and acrylic nails with fancy tips dance across their minds. People who work with their hands may think of stubborn grease stains under and around their nails … nothing that a good sandpaper-like washing with Lava soap won’t cure! If you have small children, you might think of dirty nails that need a good soak in a hot bath.
I, on the other hand, am a little strange. I am a Registered Nurse by trade, so when one mentions “fingernails,” I immediately think of all the things fingernails can be used to assess and help diagnose. My mind is warped that way.
I am by no means here to diagnose anybody, that’s what actual doctors are for. But, here are ten things that your fingernails may be trying to tell you.
10 Things Your Fingernails Are Trying To Tell You
Do you have pale nails?
This could be a sign of anemia, which is an iron deficiency. It’s possible you have problems with your liver (which coincidentally is high in iron). It’s also possible (Let’s think logically) you might just be cold.
Do you have yellowish nails?
Most likely no big deal, this can be anything from wearing acrylic nails, to stains from nail polish, to smoking. If you notice thickening of the nail along with the yellowing, this may be due to a fungal infection (Which, by the way, is contagious). In very rare cases, yellowing of the nails can be a sign of diabetes, liver, lung, or thyroid disease.
Are your nails tinted blue?
This is a good indicator of poor circulation, often due to heart or lung problems. It could also mean (again, use the logical epicenter of your brain) that you are simply too cold.
Do you have vertical ripples in your nails?
This could be totally normal. In some cases it points to other issues such as an inflammatory disease, or a body deficient in Vitamin B, magnesium, or several other nutrients.
Do you have dry, brittle, or cracked nails?
You might be washing your hands too often or using too much nail polish remover (You’re simply drying out your nails). It can also signal a deficiency in several nutrients, including vitamins A,C or B. Rarely, doctors can use this to help diagnose hypothyroidism.
Do you have nails that have been bitten down to the nail bed?
You may have a bad habit of biting your nails. It may also mean you struggle with OCD or anxiety.
Do you have horizontal ridges in your nails?
This is probably not good. It can be a sign of a plethora of things like psoriasis, uncontrolled diabetes, circulatory disease, or a severe zinc deficiency. It can also be arsenic poisoning or carbon monoxide poisoning. In some cases it means Hodgkin’s disease, malaria, leprosy, or trauma. Sometimes these ridges can accompany a high fever.
Do you have fingernails that resemble a spoon, curving upward?
This not only looks crazy, but it can signal hypothyroidism, heart disease, or liver problems.
Do you have nails that are white with a pink band at the top?
This could just be normal aging, or it’s possible there is an underlying condition, like diabetes, liver problems, heart problems, or kidney problems.
Do you have dark lines under your nails?
Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Go straight to a doctor. This is very serious, and is most likely due to a type of skin cancer.
Do you have any of these nail issues? For the love, don’t take my word as gospel! It would be wise to seek the advice of a medical doctor. They can give you a diagnosis, and get you the help you need … or they may just say you’re absolutely normal.
Editor’s Note: Again, this is by no means medical advice. If you came here chances are you’ve already got questions and for the love of all things just go see a doctor already, m’kay?