As noted on Mercola, the texture, color, and shape of your natural nails can reveal a lot of important information about your internal health.
Although some nail symptoms are harmless, some may be symptoms of chronic illnesses, including cancer. The rate of growth of your nails is also a way to learn more about your health, i.e. healthy nail grows, averagely speaking, around 3.5 mm per month (but, there are other contributing factors to the growth, for example, diet, meds, aging).
Hence, if you happen to notice some changes in your nails like discoloration, swelling or if your nails have changed their thickness level or shape, make sure you consult your physician or dermatologist as soon as possible to determine the underlying reason.
And, do not forget to check out the 10 most common nail symptoms you may experience and their meaning in the list shown below.
Ten most Common Nail Symptoms & their Meaning
- White spots
In most cases, they are a consequence of nail trauma and are not a cause for concern. They fade away on their own or are grown out. In some cases however, the white spots may be an indicator of a fungal infection.
- Spoon nails
Nails that tend to curve upwards at the edges and have a shape similar to a spoon are often a sign of some specific health problems like heart illness, hypothyroidism or iron deficiency.
- Dark discolorations
Black streaks or dark spots on the nails may be a symptom of melanoma or skin cancer.
- Pink strips
If you have been noticing narrow pink strips at the top of your nails, also known as Terry’s nails, you may be suffering from diabetes, kidney failure, congestive heart failure or liver illness. In other cases, these streaks are not a cause for concern and are a result of aging.
- Pits and dents
Nails that have a lot of pits and dents are not uncommon among psoriasis sufferers. They may also occur in patients suffering from connective tissue disorders of alopecia areata, a type of autoimmune illness.
- Brittle and cracked nails
Even though there are specific lifestyle factors that may contribute to brittle, dry, and cracked nails, they may also happen as a result of thyroid disease or a fungal infection. When the nails are brittle, you may be lacking vitamins A, B, or C.
- Horizontal ridges
Ridges on the nails may be a result of a trauma or a disease with a high fever, for example, pneumonia or scarlet fever. There are cases when these ridges may be caused by psoriasis, untreated diabetes or a zinc deficiency.
- Vertical ridges
These ridges are a common symptom of aging and are not usually problematic. Nonetheless, in some people, they may develop as a consequence of nutrient deficiencies.
When the nails curve downwards and the fingertips enlarge, you may be suffering from low levels of oxygen in the blood which is often linked to lung disease. The clubbing may also have to do with heart or kidney illness, IBS or AIDS.
- Yellowish nails
Sometimes, due to overuse of nail polish or constantly wearing acrylic nails, your nails may become yellowish. In other cases, the yellow discoloration may be a symptom of a fungal infection. Although less common, yellow nails may be associated with diabetes, thyroid illness or chronic bronchitis as well.