Nails are important parts of the human body as they reveal the chronic ongoing disease process in your body. Given this important role that nails play in your body, it's critical you take good care of them.
That said, here is a list of changes that occur in nails which suggest a systemic abnormality.
Pale nails: You have probably seen someone with pale nails before, haven’t you? Pale nails are as a result of diseases like anaemia, heart failure, liver disease, malnutrition.
White nails: Similarly, white nails could be as a result of a number of diseases. Well, these diseases include hepatitis (liver abnormality), chronic kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and hypoalbuminemia.
Blue nails: Ever wondered what it feels like to have blue nails? Perhaps you have not. Well, blue nails indicate cyanosis. It is seen in lung problems like emphysema and some forms of heart disease.
Rippled nails: Additionally, ripple nails can be a big threat to your nails. Essentially, this condition is always associated with psoriasis and inflammatory arthritis.
Dry, brittle, cracked nails: Just like Siamese twins, dry brittle cracked nail and thyroid disease are almost inseparable. You should watch out for that as well.
Cracked and yellowish nails: Whenever you see cracked and yellowish nails, those are a red flag. They primarily indicate fungal infection.
Puffy nail folds: Another symptom you should be worried about is puffy nail folds. Medical scientists say that they indicate infection or inflammation that can be due to lupus or any other auto immune connective tissue disorder.
Blackish discolouration of nails: Blackish discoloration of nails should never be treated with kid gloves. Well, the reasoning is that it indicates melanoma of nails (cancer of melanocytes).
koilonychia: It is the terminology used for spooning of nails. They are characteristically seen in iron deficiency anaemia (which is part of Plummer Vinson Syndrome), hemochromatosis, heart diseases and hypothyroidism.
White spots on nails: This can occur as a result of trauma and fungal infection.
Brittle nails: How about brittle nails? The truth is, brittle nails should matter to you. Basically,they are seenin thyroid disorders and vitamin deficiencies. If you are a dishwasher, swimmer, and photographic developer (chemical exposures), you should be careful so as to not to develop brittle nails.
Yellow nail syndrome: This is characterized by thickening of nails, yellowish discoloration of nails and slow growth. Essentially, this is seen in bronchitis and lymphedema.
Vertical ridges: With respect to vertical ridges, they are seen due to aging.
Horizontal ridges: Another sign to be waryof is horizontal ridges. Unarguably, horizontal ridges are seen in conditions like high fever.
Pitting of nails: Pitting of nails is seen in psoriasis, alopecia areata, and atopic dermatitis.
Clubbing: It is softening of nail bed with increasing nail fold and nail bed angle. As regards the effect it has on the nails, the tips of the fingers appear larger and bulging. This can be attributed to low oxygen supply. The causes can be lung diseases, inflammatory bowel disease and cardio vascular disease.
Terry nails: These are white nails with narrow pink strip at the top. They are seen in liver diseases, congestive cardiac failure, kidney failure and diabetes mellitus.
Gnawed: Gnawed is a clear-cut sign of abnormality. Undoubtedly, when nails have gnawed, it indicates psychopathology.
Cracking and splitting nails: Cracking and splitting nails are seen in fungal and thyroid disease.
Nail biting: Last but certainly not least is nail-biting. It can be an old habit or may point towards obsessive-compulsive disorder.
To be clear, whenever you see any of these 20 signs, it is an indication that something is wrong somewhere. In that case, you are strongly advised not to resort to self-help or self-medication. The reasoning is that the earlier you contact a specialist, the better for you. Have you observed any of these symptoms, why not contact a doctor now?