You can tell a lot about someone and their health by their hands, but more specifically, their finger nails. Sure they're fun to paint, have manicures on and pick when you're nervous, but what the nails exhibit about the body and their own general health is quite impressive and something you should keep in check. Here are seven things that can happen to your claws to know about...
We've all heard that old wives' tale that white spots on your finger nails are due to a calcium deficiency, but that's not typically so. These can be caused by lots of factors, most likely a small trauma to the nail matrix at the base of the nail, before the nail even starts to show. If it's damaged, the white spots can show themselves as the nail grows and develops. Another cause is prolonged polish use, but if you're quick to change colours and keep your nails mostly clean, it shouldn't be an issue.
If you do notice the spots are a powdery consistency, you might likely have a fungal infection and need to go to the doctors' office to sort that out.
Brittle finger nails
Brittleness is thanks to a dry nail palate, which can be caused by using too much nail polish remover or prolonged exposure to water with chemicals in it, like the kitchen sink or swimming pools. It can also be caused by what's known as hypothyroidism (when your thyroid gland is working too slowly). Best way to fix it? Think about getting a product that adds moisture back into your nail and bed.
This shocker could just be staining from nail polish, so don't panic, but on the other hand, it could also indicate diabetes, or respiratory disorders if the nail thickens like the above image. This will need the attention of a doctor.
These are thankfully totally normal. It just means your nail and matrix is aging. Think of them as the wrinkles of your nail. The best way to manage it is to keep a tube of hand moisturiser nearby.
This is known as 'koilonychia' and might indicate that you have an iron deficiency or anaemia. A supplement will fix this problem, but be sure to check with the doc because liver and heart disease as well as hypothyroidism can be linked to this problem, too.
If your nails are starting to look they have been chipped away by a mini ice pick, then you might be looking at finger psoriasis. It can also happen to people with alopecia areata. Creams with Vitamin A or D can often help, but check with a dermatologist.
This one is a doozie and can often signal a bigger problem you might be dealing with. An increase in the tissue around the ends of your fingers can indicate lung disease and this problem can be brought on by low oxygen in the blood. That's not all, though. This symptom can also be associated with inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, AIDS and liver disease, so it's definitely worth visiting the doctor if you're noticing this happening to you.