Your nails are a reflection of the health and wellness of your body. You can tell you a lot from looking at fingernails

It is true that abnormalities of the nails can often provide early clues to common medical problems or severe systemic diseases.

Take a few moments and examine your unpolished fingernails under a good light.
You will gather a new appreciation for how your lifestyle affects your nails and overall health

Wasting away of Nails; Nail loses luster and becomes smaller, Injury or diseaseThickened Nail Plate: Poor circulation; fungal infection; heredity; mild, persistent trauma to the nail
Pitted Nails sometimes yellow-to=brown: Eczema or psoriasis; hair loss condition
Very soft Nails: Contact with strong alkali; malnutrition; endocrine problems; chronic arthritis
Spoon shaped Nails: Iron deficiency; thyroid disease
Clublike Nails – swollen finger ends: Chronic respiratory or heart problems; cirrhosis of the liver
Horizontal ridges: Injury; infection; nutrition
Longitudinal ridges: Aging, poor absorption of vitamins and minerals; thyroid disease; kidney failure
Colorless: May indicate anemia.
Red or deep pink: Can indicate a tendency to poor peripheral circulation.
Yellow: Could indicate fungus, diabetes, psoriasis, use of tetracycline, or heredity.
White, crumbly, soft: Maybe a result of a fungus infection
No Moons: Possible underactive thyroid; genetics
Overlarge Moons: Possible Overactive thyroid; genetics; self-induced trauma (habit tick)
Complete loss of Nail: Trauma
Nail Plate Loose: Injury; nail psoriasis; fungal or bacterial infections; medicines; chemotherapy; thyroid disease; Raynaud’s phenomenon; lupus
Brittle, split Nails: Nail dryness, nails in contact with irritating substances (detergents, chemicals, polish remover); silica deficiency
Pale, brittle nails, spoon-shaped or with ridges down the length – can signify anemia; this lack of iron can be due to inadequate nutrition
Thick, distorted fingernails can signify a fungal condition: If you have a fungal infection distorted fingernails could also be due to arterial sclerosis, so see your health care conditioner to rule that out.
Clubbed fingernails can signify a problem with your blood flow. See your health care practitioner.
White spots on your nails – is often due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
Brittle and lifting easily from your nail beds, along with dry skin, always feeling cold and hair falling out – could indicate a problem with your thyroid gland;
Excessively flexible nails, may signify deficiency of calcium and sometimes protein.
Infected Nails: RED, TENDER, SWOLLEN, PUS: Bacterial or yeast infection
Whitish hue at the base of fingernails may signify liver trouble. If it’s a matter of cleansing your liver, taking milk thistle (silymarin) capsules, available at your health food store;
Splinters that don’t hurt – could be subacute bacterial endocarditis, a very serious condition. See your health care practitioner immediately!
Purple or black: Usually due to trauma, or may also be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Bluish nails – probably mean you aren’t getting enough oxygen; combined with a cough and shortness of breath means heart failure or chronic lung trouble and you should see your health care practitioner;
A Brown or Black streak:, that begins at the base of the nail and extends to its tip could be a diagnostic clue to a potentially dangerous melanoma. See your healthcare provider.
Minerals and Absorption: Health and strength in nails depend on a good balance between calcium and silica in the diet and a system, which can metabolize and make good use of these minerals efficiently.
Sometimes there is a deficiency in other minerals like Magnesium, which is also involved, in structural health and this is the reason that a little Dolomite is useful to ensure sufficient Magnesium (and Calcium).
We often don’t have enough Silica in our Diet and often have far too much Calcium. We are told that we must drink milk to grow strong bones and all the rest, but in fact, westerners mostly have too much Calcium and not enough of the other minerals required and are actually worse off than we would have been without milk at all.
Internal treatments using Equisetum (also called Horsetail) which is very high in Silica with Yarrow and Comfrey have good nail nutritional value.
Circulation and Stress:.
When the correct herbs and supplements alone don’t seem to make much difference to nail health, it is generally because of a circulation problem, which compounds a nutrient delivery problem.
Ingredients in our diet and carried within the blood, but if the blood supply is not sufficient to get enough of the minerals down to the nails this can cause a nutrient deficiency in these areas.
There are many people who suffer from cold hands and feet or even circulation problems specific to the fingertips like Reynard’s disease and for these herbs like Nettle, Rue and Prickly Ash can improve peripheral circulation. Use Nail Doctors – Cuticle Therapy Oil, to help stimulate circulation
A simple dietary, circulation and metabolic tonic is Rosehips tea, which also contains biotin, another ingredient essential to healthy nails.
Reynard’s disease mentioned is a particular condition where the circulation at the fingertips is restricted through the action of stress on blood vessels serving the fingertips.
This restriction can be so severe that the tips even die like in cases of frostbite.
The effect of stress on the metabolic efficiency of fingernail health is important.
This is where eating patterns and habits again feature in my recommendations for patients worried about the health of their fingernails.
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