For signs of health, look no further than your hands.
As early as 400 B.C.E., Hippocrates taught that the nails reflect the condition of the inner body. 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.
Nails grow at different rates due to age, nutrition, and health factors. Under the best of conditions, a nail grows about .004 inches a day or 1/8 of an inch each month. It takes about six months for a new nail to grow from cuticle to tip.
Use this diagnostic chart to look at and understand the condition of your nails:
Complete loss of nail: Trauma
Nail plate loose: Injury; nail psoriasis; fungal or bacterial infections; medicines; chemotherapy; thyroid disease; Raynaudís phenomenon; lupus.
Wasting away of nails, nail loses luster and becomes smaller: Injury or disease.
Thickened nail plate: Poor circulation; fungal infection; heredity; mild, persistent trauma to the nail.
Pitted nails sometimes with yellow to brown “oil” spots: Eczema or psoriasis; hair loss condition.
Very soft nails: Contact with strong alkali; malnutrition; endocrine problems; chronic arthritis