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Know your nails

Nails – Window on your Health

Did you know that fingernails and toenails play an important role in protecting fingers and toes, improving dexterity and, especially, revealing clues to your general health.

Take a close look at your nails. Are they strong and healthy looking? Or do you see ridges, dents or areas of unusual color or shape? Many less than desirable nail conditions can be avoided through proper care, but some actually indicate an illness that requires attention.

What Your Nails Say About Your Health:
10 Possible Signs of Serious Conditions
Nail Appearance Associated Condition
White nails Liver diseases, such as hepatitis
Yellowish, thickened, slow-growing nails Lung diseases, such as emphysema
Yellowish nails with a slight blush at the base Diabetes
Half-white, half-pink nails Kidney disease
Red nail beds Heart disease
Pale or white nail beds Anemia
Pitting or rippling of the nail surface Psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis
“Clubbing,” a painless increase in tissue around the ends of the fingers, or inversion of the nail Lung diseases
Irregular red lines at the base of the nail fold Lupus or connective tissue disease
Dark lines beneath the nail Melanoma

Tips for Strong, Healthy Nails

To strengthen your nails, avoid infections, and improve their appearance, try the following tips:

  • Keep your nails clean and dry.
  • Avoid nail-biting or picking.
  • Apply moisturizer to your nails and cuticles every day. Creams with urea, phospholipids, or lactic acid can help prevent cracking.
  • File your nails in one direction and round the tip slightly, rather than filing to a point.
  • Don’t remove the cuticles or clean too deeply under your nails, which can lead to infection.
  • Don’t dig out ingrown toenails. See a dermatologist if they become bothersome.
  • Avoid nail polish removers that contain acetone or formaldehyde.
  • Bring your own instruments if you get frequent manicures.
  • If you have artificial nails, check regularly for green discoloration (a sign of bacterial infection).
  • Eat a balanced diet and take vitamins containing biotin.

Finally, ask your doctor to take a look at your nails during your next checkup as the nails are a unique window into the health of our bodies.

For more information go to Muriella’s Corner Online Newsletter

Source: webmd.com

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