What Your Nails Tell About Your Health

What Your Nails Tell About Your Health

As your eyes are a reflection of your soul, nails also reflect the health condition of a person. Healthy nails indicate that your body parts are functioning properly.

But if you ever notice chipped and brittle nails it may be an indication of some serious health conditions. It is really fascinating how various colors and shapes of nails can tell so many things about the functioning of major body organs.

If have not paid attention to your nails then no need to worry because today I will enlighten you so you understand what your nails tell you about your health.

Let’s start by discussing what healthy nails are.

Healthy Nails

What Your Nails Tell You About Your HealthNormal nails typically are pale pink or mauve color. Actually what you are see is not the nail color but it is the color underneath the nail. This is sometimes known as the nail bed.

If you apply any pressure to that area the color will disappear for a moment and then return once the pressure has been released. You will notice that healthy nails are free of horizontal ridges.

Healthy nails also are firm and they will not break very easily. They will be normal length and not bitten short. Biting them will surely lead to ingrown nails and infected cuticles.

You will also notice that healthy hands, nails, and cuticles are moisturized. So it is a great idea to keep them hydrated. Many health professionals would recommend applying petroleum jelly to your nails each night before you sleep. A healthy nail also does not have dark lines or nail fungus.

What Are Unhealthy Nails?

What Your Nails Tell About Your HealthIf your nails have spots, pits, an odd shape, discoloration, thinning, bleeding, pain, swelling or redness around the nail; you have unhealthy nails.

But don’t get riled up after reading the symptoms (if you have any). They may indicate some disease but it is not something incurable. But it is advisable to make an appointment with a podiatrist or dermatologist.

Visit A Dermatologist

Abnormalities of nails are generally harmless but sometimes it may be indicating something serious. Nail abnormalities are not the only symptoms of a related disorder. So don’t assume anything until you have seeked the opinion of a medical professional.

White Nail Syndrome

White nail syndrome commonly known as leukoychia, takes place when nails are growing. White incomplete patches or lines will be seen on the nails, or in some cases the whole nail might turn white. These changes indicate micro trauma, leprosy, cirrhosis or possibly typhoid fever.

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Terry’s Nails

This is a condition where the nails appear to be white and sometimes grainy. This indicates cirrhosis or this symptom might develop in people with kidney failure, congestive heart failure or even diabetes.

Muehcke’s Nails

Narrow whitish horizontal bands appearing on the nails is a condition known as muehcke’s nails. This indicates low level of proteins, liver diseases and malnutrition.

Lindsay’s Nails

Half-and-Half Nails, or Lindsay’s Nails is a condition which turns 20 to 60 percent of the nail with red, pink or brown. This indicates chronic kidney diseases. You need to see the doctor if you think you have these symptoms.

Mees’ Lines

What Your Nails Tell About Your HealthA condition in which there are single or several narrow lines on the nails is known as mees’ lines. This indicates arsenic intoxication, leprosy, tuberculosis, malaria, shingles, arsenic or heavy metal poisoning, cardiac failure or the use of chemotherapeutic drugs.

Splinter Hemorrhages

Sometimes we see blood under our nails. These dark red or brown lines are known as splinter hemorrhages.

This condition is due to trauma, collagen vascular diseases, and infectious endocarditic and heart disease.

Pale Nails

A syndrome in which pale nails become curved and thickened is known as yellow nail. The cause is most of the time due to a fungal infection. This indicates that you might have diabetes, psoriasis or a thyroid disorder. This also could indicates pulmonary disease and lymphedema. Your lungs need immediate attention if you have such symptoms.

Black Lines on Nail

If you see dark or brown vertical lines on your nails, this indicates chronic diseases like melanoma, or benign nevus. This is very common in dark skinned individuals, but this is not supposed to be ignored. Another indication could be chemical staining.

Nail Speration

Nail separation includes a condition known as onycholysis, in which the nail is not connected to the finger. It actually is slightly lifted up. Also you’ll see discoloration. This indicates that you might have trauma, infection or psoriasis.


What Your Nails Tell About Your HealthOnychomadesis is a brief, subtle breakage of nail growth that can lead to dis-attachment of the nail from the bed.

This could indicate severe trauma as well as hand, foot, and mouth disease. Also these symptoms are seen in children.

Brittle Nails

Iron deficiency causes the nails to become brittle. Brittle nails may also appear because of hypothyroidism. Some symptoms associated with this condition is fatigue, weight loss and anxiety.

You may also see some peeling due to iron deficiency. If the cracking or splitting of the nails come with yellowing as well, it indicates a fungal infection.

Weak Nails

Nails may be softening due to overexposure to moisture or chemicals. It may also be accompanied by fatigue and weakness. There is a possibility that an underlying disease could be the culprit, such as anemia or hypothyroidism.


Ridges may be formed due to iron deficiency or may also be due to some disease associated with kidneys. If you are facing anxiety, weight loss, mumps or diabetes, you should seek the opinion of a medical professional.

Blue Nails

If you see a blue tint on your nails it reflects that your body and systems are not getting enough oxygen. This may be highlighting issues with your lungs but this symptom is also common with people who have heart conditions.

Puffy Nail Folds

If your nail folds are puffy and swollen and they are also painful sometimes, it may be due to the inflammation of the nail fold. This inflammation may be caused by lupus or other issues associated with connective tissues.

Change in Nail Texture

Apart from visible changes in shape and color, change in texture also can be an indicator to look out for. Tiny depressions can be seen on nails. This indicates problems in nail plate layering.

You may see some deep or shallow depressions. They appear to be more common on fingernails than toenails. This indicates psoriasis, eczema, and the autoimmune disease lichen planus.

Clubbing Nails

Clubbing takes a long time to appear and it characterized by swelling of finger tips and and the round shape of nails. Nail clubbing sometimes indicates low levels of oxygen in the blood and could be an indication of a sign of lung disease. It is also linked with AIDS, liver disorder, heart disease and bowel disease.

Gnawed Nails

What Your Health Tell About Your NailsNail biting is a common habit but it may also be associated with some nervous disorders. An obsessive compulsive disorder or anxiety may also lead to excessive nail biting that causes the gnawed nails. If you can’t control your habit of nail biting you should see a doctor.

To avoid fungal infection and disorders being spread through fungal infections, you need to keep your nails clean and clear. Dirty nails can cause a number of problems.

Clean nails lead to a clean and healthy life. Dirty nails may also contribute to issues of your gut and stomach because of the germs you will swallow with food or while you are biting them. Keep your nails clean to have a happy and healthy life.


Prevention lies in taking care of your nails and there are also vitamins and nutrients to assist in healthy strong nails. Nail abnormalities could be avoided by treating the underlying disease as well as adopting clean and good care habits. You should practice healthy habits such as:

  • You should not bite or tear your nails. It not only makes them look ugly but also pose a great threat to your oral health.
  • Try to avoid the temptation of pulling out your hangnail. It is painful as well as not a healthy habit.
  • Try not to trim your nails right after you bath because your nails get very soft at that time.
  • Use a good quality nail cutter and also moisturize them frequently. You can also use sharp manicure scissors.
  • Don’t keep the nail wet and dirty. Stay away from activities that keep them in this condition. Keep them clean and dry.
  • Try to trim your nails in such a way that offers the least possible damage. For example don’t hurt the cuticles. Trim your nails in a straight shape and gently round the tips.
  • Let you nails breath and live free from nail paint and other artificial things such as nail polish removers, artificial nails and nail polish. Long term use of these synthetic materials can be very harmful.
  • There is no harm in a manicure and pedicure but get them done from a professional. Be sure to choose a reputable salon and products for manicures and pedicures.

There is a huge variety of nail abnormalities and what I have mentioned here is just few of them. You should pay attention to any nail abnormality and get it checked.

But don’t worry not all changes necessarily means that there is a very serious health issue associated with it. It may be due to a change in weather or even a simpler dermatological condition. The quickest way to be sure is to see a dermatologist.

I hope you have learned some ideas of what your nails tell you about your health. Don’t forget to share it and I would love to read your thoughts about healthy or unhealthy nails in the comments below. Be Well!

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