Not many people are aware that fingernail or toenail abnormalities can tell a lot about your health. Although they’re often a sign of a fungal nail infection or injury, these can sometimes indicate a more serious underlying disease.
According to dermatologist Christine Poblete-Lopez, MD, “Your nails are a very good reflection of your health. Many things can occur in the nails that can signify systemic or skin problems.”
She also advises paying particular attention to anything on or around your fingernails or toenails that is different than normal. “Anything that doesn’t look normal ought to be addressed. Your best course of action is to see a doctor as soon as possible.”
Visit your GP if your nails have changed in color, texture, shape or thickness and you don’t know why (you haven’t injured your nails or been biting them).
This guide gives the most likely reasons for the following nail problems:
You may not always be able to prevent underlying conditions that affect your nails, but Dr. Poblete-Lopez recommends staying hydrated and eating a well-balanced diet to protect not only your nail, but your overall health as well. A diet rich in B vitamins and zinc is especially important as these nutrients can significantly strengthen your nails.
The dermatologist also explains that in many cases, changes to your nails can be normal and don’t indicate any undiagnosed health condition. However, consulting your doctor is always best, especially if you have queries.
“Some nails may not appear smooth or they might have longitudinal strips or ridges. As long as whatever you see is consistent throughout the distribution of the nail, it’s likely OK,” she says. “If there’s something out of the ordinary, though, it’s reasonable to see a dermatologist.”
Image sources: TheHealthyArchive