Question

Healthy Nails

What can my nails tell me about my overall health?

A Answers (2)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    Your nails can be windows into your overall health. They reflect many things, including nutrition levels, age and the presence of underlying health problems. For example, changes in the nail, such as discoloration or thickening, can reflect heart or lung problems, liver or kidney disease, anemia or diabetes. Medications also can affect your nails. If your nails have changed in appearance recently, be sure to point that out to your doctor. 
  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered

    Nails are more than just fingertip armor, toe protectors, and ornaments; they can also serve as the smoke alarm for more serious health issues. Heart and lung diseases, as well as some infections and immune disorders, may leave traces in your nails (such as a splinter hemorrhage). Changes in nails can be the tip-off to send you scurrying to your doctor. So use your digits not for an in-traffic stress reliever, but as a gauge of your health. Yellow or green discoloration in your nails may result from a respiratory condition, such as chronic bronchitis, or from swelling of your hands (lymphedema). Indentations that run across your nails, called Beau's lines, appear when growth at the area under your cuticle is interrupted. This might happen because of an injury or severe illness, such as a heart attack.

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