Abnormal health Conditions
Some changes in your nails are due to medical conditions that need attention. See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
- discoloration (dark streaks, white streaks, or changes in nail color)
- changes in nail shape (curling or clubbing)
- changes in nail thickness (thickening or thinning)
- nails that become brittle
- nails that are pitted
- bleeding around nails
- swelling or redness around nails
- pain around nails
- nail separating from skin
These nail changes can be caused by a variety of different conditions, including the following,
Depressions that run across your fingernail are called Beau’s lines. These can be a sign of malnourishment. Other conditions that cause Beau’s lines are:
Clubbing is when your nails thicken and curve around your fingertips, a process that generally takes years. This can be the result of low oxygen in the blood and is associated with:
Koilonychia is when your fingernails have raised ridges and scoop outward, like spoons. It is also called “spooning.” Sometimes the nail is curved enough to hold a drop of liquid. Spooning can be a sign that you have:
Nonuniform white spots or lines on the nail are called leukonychia. They are usually the result of a minor trauma and are harmless in healthy individuals. Sometimes leukonychia is associated with poor health or nutritional deficiencies. Factors can include infectious, metabolic, or systemic diseases as well as certain drugs.
Mees’ lines are transverse white lines. This can be a sign of arsenic poisoning. If you have this condition, your doctor will take hair or tissue samples to check for arsenic in your body.
When the nail plate separates from the nail bed, it causes a white discoloration. This is called onycholysis. This can be due to infection, trauma, or products used on the nails. Other causes for onycholysis include psoriasis and thyroid disease.
Pitting refers to small depressions, or little pits in the nail. It is common in people who have psoriasis, or a skin condition that causes the skin to be dry, red, and irritated. Some systemic diseases can also cause pitting.
When the tip of each nail has a dark band, it is called Terry’s nails. This is often due to aging, but it can be caused by congestive heart failure, diabetes, or liver disease.
Yellow nail syndrome
Yellow nail syndrome is when the nails get thicker and do not grow as fast as normal. Sometimes the nail lacks a cuticle and may even pull away from the nail bed. This can be the result of:
- internal malignancies
- pleural effusions (fluid buildup between the lungs and chest cavity)
- respiratory illnesses such as chronic bronchitis or sinusitis
- rheumatoid arthritis
These are just some of the signs of abnormal fingernails. Having any of these signs is not proof of any medical condition. You will need to visit your doctor to determine if your condition is serious. In many cases, proper care of your nails is enough to correct their appearance.