Nails and Health: What Do Your Nails Say About Your Health?

The Most Common Nail Signs

Nails are a window to the body. They can tell us about our health, lifestyle, and environment. What can nail health signs give you? Nail health is one of the easiest ways to monitor your overall health. Healthy nails will be smooth, without ragged edges or cracks, and will grow at a steady rate.

The Most Common Nail Signs

Here are some of the most common nail signs on your body:

  • Nail discoloration: This can be due to a number of reasons, including poor circulation, fungal infections, or even some medications.
  • Nail ridges: These indicate that you may have a vitamin deficiency or an iron deficiency.
  • Horizontal ridges: These are caused by exposure to water and chemicals. This is also known as "Beau’s lines.
  • Vertical ridges: These indicate that you may have psoriasis, eczema, or dermatitis.
  • Fungal nail infections: This is characterized by thickening of the nails, yellowing, and crumbling nails.
  • Green or black staining from a bacterial infection: This is most likely due to a paronychia.
  • Curly or kinked nails: This can be attributed to thyroid disorders, diabetes, or fibromyalgia.
  • Brittle nails are associated with celiac disease, anemia, and a lack of vitamin D.
  • Thick nails: This is caused by a lack of vitamins A and B12.
  • Nail ridges that are often raised: This is most likely due to an electrolyte imbalance or hypothyroidism.
  • Elevation of the nail bed: This is usually due to an injury or infection in the nail bed below the root of the nail.
  • Nails that are thin, soft, or brittle:  This may be caused by vitamin A, iron, calcium, or zinc deficiency.
  • Nails with an enlarged or swollen base: This is most likely the result of psoriasis.
  • Harden nails: Vitamin E deficiency.
  • Yellowing of the nails: carbohydrate deficiencies.
  • Nails that are discolored from a fungal infection: This is most likely due to a yeast infection.
  • Nail ridges that are curved or shaped like the letters S, Z, and Y: This is often associated with the use of certain medications like steroids.
  • Nails that grow too fast: This is most likely due to a calcium deficiency.

Nail health signs, such as ridges, thickness, and brittleness, are a good way to tell if you have an infection in your body. The most common infection is nail fungus, caused by a yeast called Candida albicans. It's important to have a strong nail bed and healthy cuticles so that the nails can grow out from the root properly.

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