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Last Updated Tuesday November 24 2020 11:43 PM IST

Nails tell a lot about your health

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Nails and hairs are made of the soft cells of the skin. Though made from soft cells, nails are good indicators of one’s health and well-being. For instance, if one is afflicted by a disease unbeknown to the person, the first indication of the hidden problem gets reflected on the nails. If that is the case, all the nails get affected soon. The body dynamics due to ailment can be best and easily seen on one’s finger nails.

A brown tinge at the nail base along with a whitish hue at the tip of the fingers indicates kidney-related diseases.

The white half-moon seen at the base of the nails is called lunula. If you notice two lines running parallel to the lunula with the normal nail colour running through it, it could mean a below normal rate of albumin in the blood.

When the finger or toe nail takes on a bright white colour with a dark band at the base of the nails, it is generally an indication of liver disease, especially cirrhosis.

In many instances, long, brown perpendicular lines become visible on nails. This could be the result of a reaction to certain medicines like Minocycline, Zidovudine or Phenytoin as well as due to the malfunctioning of pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands. Deficiency in Vitamin B 12 too could result in such a pattern.

Such glandular malfunctioning could bring about changes not only to nails but also to the skin. Only in very rare cases can this change be an indication of melanoma, a type of cancer. If that’s the case, these lines become brown and turn visible all of a sudden in the elderly. If such signs become perceptible all too soon, a thorough specialist medical check-up is recommended.

Clubbing is another nail anomaly. This deformity of the finger or toe nails indicates cardio-vascular diseases. Those suffering from liver, kidney and stomach ailments also tend to have clubbed nails.

Nail clubbing or digital clubbing occurs when the nail beds become too soft and the nails form a sharper angle with the cuticle, which is the dead skin at the base of a fingernail or toenail. In such a case, the base of the finger or toe often bulge.

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