Unhealthy Nails Can Mean an Unhealthy Body

Wilsonville dermatology specialists

While your nails offer the chance to accessorize with a favorite outfit or show off a little of your own flair, our Wilsonville dermatology specialists want you to know that how your nails appear can also reveal certain clues about your overall health. A spot of a white, a slight rose hue or some uneven bumps can all be a potential sign of a disease. Problems with the heart, lungs and liver can all manifest as symptoms that appear on your nails.

Your Wilsonville dermatology specialists want you to know what a healthy nail should look like so you have a comparison to use as a base. A healthy nail should appear smooth, without any grooves or ridges – and consistent in color, free of any spots or discoloration.

So that you have the knowledge to understand what your nails might be trying to say, here are a few symptoms to more serious problems you may want to keep in mind.

Pale or White Nails

Even though your nails shouldn’t have much of a color to them, they shouldn’t appear pale either. Overly pale nails can occasionally be a sign of a number of potentially serious illnesses that include anemia, heart disease, liver disease and malnutrition.

If your nails appear mostly white, with just a touch of a darker colored rim, this may indicate an underlying liver problem, such as hepatitis. If your fingers also appear slightly jaundiced – a slightly yellowish color – that may also be another sign of liver trouble.

Yellow Nails

Nails that have been damaged by the use of harsh products or dyes may become yellow or darker in color. This type of damage is only temporary and should eventually go away as your nail continues to grow. However, if your nails continue to be yellow, there may be an underlying issue to blame.

Yellow nails can often be an indication of something minor like a mineral or vitamin deficiency, or something far more serious, such as diabetes, psoriasis and a thyroid condition. In some rare instances, yellow nails can be a sign of skin cancer.

Blue-Tinted Nails

Nails that have a blueish tint are the result of a low oxygen level in the body, a condition known as cyanosis. When oxygen levels drop in the body, the membrane below the skin – and visible through the nail – turns a purplish/blueish color.

Extremely cold temperatures can also cause your fingernails to turn blue. That’s due to the cold temperatures causing your blood vessels to constrict. The narrowing of the vessels makes it difficult for the right amount of blood to reach your nails.

If your nails return to their normal color after warming your hands, then the issue is pretty harmless. However, if your nails remain blue, there could be an underlying disease or abnormality that’s interfering with the body’s ability to properly deliver oxygen throughout the body.

Rippled or Cracked Nails

If the surface of your nails appear pitted or rippled, this could be an early sign of arthritis or psoriasis. When nails appear brittle, dry, and crack or split easily, it could be a sign of thyroid disease. However, nails with a yellowish color that crack is more likely due to a fungal infection than disease.

Our Wilsonville Dermatology Specialists Can Help

Healthy nails mean a healthy body. If you have any questions about the health of your nails, feel free to ask any member of our team during your next visit to our Valley View clinic in Wilsonville.