Though your fingernails may seem like a very insignificant part of your body, they are actually indicative of your overall health in many different ways. Your fingernails reflect how well you eat , how much you sleep, and the state of your internal health. Learn more about the top eight ways that your nails can show you that something’s going wrong.
1: Heart Problems
Heart disease is a serious threat in the United States, and your fingernails can actually warn you about possible cardiovascular problems. Thin red or brown lines under your nails may be a sign of a heart valve infection, while congenital heart problems often cause your nails to club.
2: Oxygen Deprivation
Your body relies on getting enough oxygen to function properly. However, if there is not enough oxygen, your extremities are often the ones to get the shaft. That’s why fingernails may be a sign of oxygen-related health problems, like emphysema, pneumonia, asthma, or low hemoglobin.
3: Lack of Nutrition
Sometimes, the body is strong enough to overcome any nutritional deficiencies you may put it through. However, over time, these deficiencies get expressed in a variety of ways. If you aren’t getting the protein, omega-3 fatty acids, or iron you need, your nails may start to splinter, get pale, or break.
4: Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the world, and it can pop up just about anywhere in your body. Surprisingly, it can even develop under your fingernails. A specific type of melanoma is very likely to develop under the fingernails, and many people don’t even know to check that part of your skin. Skin cancer under the nails often manifests as dark lines.
5: Thyroid Disorders
Irregularities in your fingernails can indicate a thyroid disorder. If your nails start splitting away from the nail bed, this may be a sign of hyperthyroidism. Nails that take on a concave shape and seem to round away from the finger are often a sign of hypothyroidism.
Different types of arthritis can cause quite a range of nail conditions. Weak nails that easily split, yellow nails, a puffy nail fold, or red lunula can all indicate joint problems. If you notice any of these symptoms, you may be at risk for osteoarthritis, lupus, psoriasis, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Your fingernails are particularly prone to infections, thanks to how easily they can break and how weak the skin is right around your fingernails. If the skin around your nails becomes red and puffy, it is likely that you’re dealing with an infection. Snagged or ingrown nails are common culprits, but artificial nails can also lead to nail infections.
If you have diabetes , the glucose in your body often connects with the proteins in your fingernails. This causes nails to take on a yellow tint. If your nails stay yellow for any prolonged period of time, you may want to get checked out for diabetes.