If eyes are the windows to the soul, then fingernails are the windows to your health. From simply looking at changes in the compressed keratin that sits atop our fingertips, doctors can sometimes identify the first signs of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, lung disorders, liver and kidney problems, as well as certain vitamin deficiencies. Watch for changes in previously healthy fingernails, and bring up any concerns to your health care provider.
Pale, white nail beds can be an indicator of anemia or liver problems.
Horizontal ridges (sometimes called Beau’s lines) can indicate circulatory problems (like Raynaud’s disease), diabetes. Can also be caused by a severe illness, like a high fever or pneumonia.
Vertical ridges are not usually a cause for concern, but could be an iron deficiency.
Dry or brittle nails may indicate a vitamin A or iron deficiency.
Hang nails can be a sign of a lack of protein, folic acid, or vitamin C.
White bands may indicate protein deficiency.
Splitting nails may indicate hydrochloric acid deficiency.
Pits or depression in the nails are a possible sign of psoriasis.
Darkening of nails may indicate insufficient vitamin B12.
White spots can indicate zinc deficiency.
Yellow, thick, slow-growing nails are a possible indicator of lung problems.
Yellow-tinted nails with blue color at the base may be a sign of diabetes.
Half white, half pink nails can indicate kidney problems.
Red beds are a possible indicator of heart disease.
Rippling of the nail surface may indicate psoriasis or arthritis.
Inversion of the nail can indicate lung problems.
Red lines at the base of the nail fold can be a possible indicator of lupus or connective tissue disease.
Dark lines under the nail may indicate melanoma.
A nail coming off the nail bed can be an indication of thyroid disease, psoriasis, or an allergic reaction to nail products.