Your nails can tell you a lot about your health. According to medical research, underlying problems in the liver, lungs and heart can show up in your fingernails and toenails.
While most nail problems are a sign of fungal infection or injury, here are six symptoms to look out for.
Also known as clubbed nails, this condition typically develops over time and causes the fingernails to deform and curve to the outside around the fingertips. Other symptoms include softening of the nail beds and swollen, red finger or toe tips. While rare, nail clubbing can be a symptom of lung, liver or heart disease.
Beau’s Lines is a condition where the nails have deep groove-like indentations appearing horizontally. Beau’s lines may result from circulation problems, peripheral vascular disease or pneumonia — or the cause could be trauma or injury to the nail.
Other culprits include zinc deficiency, high fever and psychological distress. Often the lines dissappear as the nails grow, but it’s always worthwhile to ask a doctor about the symptom if it occurs.
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Not just an aesthetic issue, yellow nails can be a clue that an underlying condition is developing. Yellowish coloring of the nails as well as slow growth can be symptoms of a respiratory illness such as bronchitis.
If a person has Terry’s nails, his or her nail beds have turned an opaque white color except for a dark band at the tip. Terry’s nails can occur in anyone who has certain health conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes or liver disease.
Splinter hemorrhages are tiny blood clots under the nails and appear as long black lines that look like splinters. They can show up in your nails after an injury, like stubbing your toe on a door. But if they appear for no reason, it could indicate an underlying condition.
With spoon nails, technically called koilonychia, the fingernails are quite soft and look like little spoons. The condition can be a sign of hemochromatosis, which is iron overload in the body and can cause heart disease, anemia, or cirrhosis of the liver.
Remember, just because you have one of the above nail symptoms doesn’t automatically mean you have serious health issue. But if you’re concerned about your nails, make an appointment with your doctor.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.