Changes in the nails can be a sign of a local disease like a fungus infection or a sign of a systemic disease like lupus, heart disease, liver disease, thyroid issues or anemia. Here are some examples:
1. Pale, whitish nail beds may indicate a low red blood cell count consistent with anemia. 2. An iron deficiency can cause the nail bed to be thin and concave and have raised ridges. 3. People with Lupus can have nails that show up as angular blood vessels in their nail folds. 4. Psoriasis starts in the nails up to 10 percent of the time and causes splitting and pitting of the nail bed which can be very painful. 5. Heart disease can turn the nail beds red. 6. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can show up in the nails through persistent nail-biting or picking. 7. Thyroid disease can cause abnormalities in the nail beds, producing dry, brittle nails that crack and split easily. 8. White nails could indicate liver diseases, such as hepatitis. 9. Yellowish, thickened, slow-growing nails could indicate lung diseases, such as emphysema 10. Yellowish nails with a slight blush at the base indicates possible diabetes 11. Half-white, half-pink nails are a sign of kidney disease. 12. Red nail beds can signal heart disease 13. “Clubbing,” a painless increase in tissue around the ends of the fingers, or inversion of the nail, may indicate lung diseases 14. Dark lines beneath the nail can be a sign of Melanoma
These conditions are extreme, but if you do show any signs of the above, please see your practitioner as soon as you can.
Common nail problems however, can be annoying and embarrassing. Read on to discover best nail care practices...
Best practices for nail care
To strengthen your nails, avoid infections, and improve their appearance, try the following tips: —Keep your nails clean and dry. —Avoid nail-biting or picking. —Apply moisturizer such as coconut oil to your nails and cuticles every day. See "My Favorite Products" for excellent ideas on what works best for me. —File your nails in one direction and round the tip slightly, rather than filing to a point. —Don't remove the cuticles or clean too deeply under your nails, which can lead to infection. —Don't dig out ingrown toenails. See a dermatologist if they become bothersome. —Avoid nail polish removers that contain acetone or formaldehyde. Try to use natural, organic products. —Bring your own instruments if you get frequent manicures. —If you have artificial nails, check regularly for green discoloration (a sign of bacterial infection). —Eat a balanced diet and take vitamins containing biotin. Finally, ask your doctor to take a look at your nails during your next checkup. Fox says this is becoming more routine "because the nails offer such a unique window into the health of our bodies."