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What Your Nails Reveal About Your Health

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 5. Clubbing of the Nails

clubbing of nails

The term “clubbing of the nails” means the ends of the fingers swell and the shape of the nails become curved and rounded.

It can also soften the nail beds, making the nails susceptible to breakage. Nail clubbing can happen to your fingernails or toenails.


Most often, clubbing of the nails occurs due to reduced oxygen in the blood, which can indicate lung, heart, liver or kidney disease.

Studies have found that three out of 10 people who have non-small-cell lung cancer are likely to have this symptom.

Nail clubbing is also associated with inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary diseases and AIDS. Other possible causes include celiac disease, dysentery, Graves’s disease and an overactive thyroid gland.

If you’re experiencing clubbing of the nails, usually over the course of years, it is important to speak to your doctor.


6. Spoon Nails

spoon nails

Spoon nails, also known as koilonychia, is an abnormality of the nails from which they become abnormally thin and flat or even concave in shape. It is more common in fingernails, but it can be seen in toenails, also.

A 2012 study published in the Permanente Journal reports that spoon nails is a sign of chronic iron deficiency, which may be due to malnutrition, gastrointestinal blood loss, worms, gastrointestinal malignancy or celiac disease.

This type of nail problem resolves after a patient starts iron replacement therapy; however, it will take several months for the nail shape to return to normal.

Other possible causes of spoon nails include high altitudes, hypothyroidism, heart disease, hemochromatosis (excess iron absorption), trauma, exposure to petroleum products and even genetics.

As spoon nails can be due to several reasons, a prompt evaluation for possible iron deficiency or another underlying cause is necessary.

7. Pitted Nails

pitted nails

Pitted nails means there are depressions and small cracks in the nails. Usually the depressions can be seen in the uppermost layer of the nail plate, which arises from the proximal nail matrix. These depressions vary in morphology and distribution depending upon the cause.

A 2009 study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology highlights the common causes of pitted nails, which include psoriasis, Reiter’s disease, lichen planus, vitiligo, alopecia areata, hemodialysis, eczematous dermatitis and chronic renal failure.

This kind of nail problem more commonly affects fingernails as compared to toenails.


Speak to your doctor if your nails are covered with pits or dents to determine the cause.

8. Terry’s Nails

terry's nails

Terry’s nails is a problem in which the nails become opaque with a narrow pink band at the tip.

A 1984 study published in Lancet found that 25.2 percent of 512 consecutive hospital in-house patients had Terry’s nails.

The study reports that this problem was found in patients suffering from liver cirrhosis, chronic congestive heart failure and diabetes mellitus.

Older people are at a higher risk of suffering from Terry’s nails. It can also be due to lack of proper nourishment, chemotherapy and an overactive thyroid. Terry’s nails have also been observed in HIV patients.

If most of your nails appear white with a narrow pink distal band, consult a doctor to rule out the possibility of a serious health problem.

9. Horizontal Depressions

horizontal depressions

Deep horizontal depressions on the nail beds are known as Beau’s lines. Interrupted nail growth causes grooves to form at the base of the nails.

Interrupted nail growth may be due to a previous nail injury or trauma, chemotherapy, a drug reaction, uncontrolled diabetes, circulatory diseases or an illness associated with a high fever like pneumonia or mumps. It can also be a sign of zinc deficiency.

Exposure to extremely cold temperatures can also result in Beau’s lines. A 2005 study published in High Altitude Medicine and Biology reports that a hypobaric environment at high altitude caused a disruption in nail matrix formation, leading to the appearance of Beau’s lines.

If you haven’t experienced any nail trauma and have Beau’s lines, consult a doctor immediately.



What Your Nails Reveal About Your Health was last modified: September 24th, 2017 by Top10HomeRemedies
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