What Nails Reveal About Health -

Nail changes can indicate diseases

Our nails are considered a reflection of general health. The changes can indicate certain health problems. However, some abnormalities are completely normal and part of the aging process. A dermatologist explains which changes in the nails can indicate which clinical pictures.

doctor Rachel Miest is a dermatologist at the renowned Mayo Clinic (USA). In a current article from the institution, the dermatologist provides information about nail changes associated with what diseases and how nails change with age.

Nails are a reflection of health

Many people develop horizontal or vertical grooves or ridges on their nails over time. However, according to the dermatologist, such changes are completely normal in most cases and are part of the aging process.

"Nails are a wonderful reflection of a person's overall health," emphasizes Dr. and Thin. According to her, certain abnormalities on the nails indicate health problems. These include, for example:

Spotted nails (dimple nails): pitting on the nails, small indentations in the nails Watch glass nails: the nail deforms over a long period of time, rounds, widens and bulges outward spoon: nail plate pressed inwards Beau-Reil lines (Beau-Reil furrows): horizontal furrows that cross the entire nail plate Nail detachment: the nail detaches from the nail bed Yellow nail syndrome: thickening and yellow discoloration of the nails Frosted glass nails (Terry nails): whitish-cloudy discoloration of the nails

Spotted nails or dimpled nails

Tiny pitting and indentations in the nails are common in people with psoriasis. However, these nail holes are also associated with connective tissue diseases such as Reiter's syndrome and the autoimmune disease, alopecia areata.

watch glass studs

Watch glass nails grow as the fingertips widen and the nails usually curve around the fingertips for several years. They are often the result of a lack of oxygen in the blood and can be a sign of existing lung or heart disease.

spoon nails

In spoon nails (koilonychia), the nails are soft and there is a depression in the nail plate large enough to hold a drop of fluid.

Spoon nails can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia or a liver disease called hemochromatosis, where the body absorbs too much iron. Additionally, spoon nails can indicate heart disease or an underactive thyroid.

beautiful lines

Beau's lines develop when nail growth is interrupted by injury or serious illness.

On the one hand, they can develop as part of a serious infectious disease accompanied by high fever, such as scarlet fever, measles, mumps or pneumonia. However, Beau's lines can also indicate uncontrolled diabetes and peripheral vascular disease. They are also a sign of zinc deficiency.

nail peeling

In so-called onycholysis, the nails detach from the nail bed. The detached part of the nail becomes opaque and takes on a white, yellow or green hue.

Loose nails are sometimes associated with injury or infection. In other cases, nail peeling is a reaction to certain medications or products, such as nail hardeners or glues.

Thyroid disorders and psoriasis can also cause the nails to separate from the nail bed.

yellow nail syndrome

In yellow nail syndrome, the nails thicken and regrowth slows. In addition, the nails become yellowish. The syndrome is often a sign of a respiratory disease, such as chronic bronchitis. Yellow nail syndrome can also be associated with swelling of the hands (lymphedema).

frosted glass nails

With so-called sponge nails, the nails appear white and cloudy. A narrow pink band often develops at the apex.

Frosted glass nails are often due to the normal aging process. In some cases, however, they can indicate a serious underlying condition, such as diabetes or liver, heart, and kidney disease. (vb)

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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek

Important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.