Healthy Nails

Healthy Nails

Healthy Nails
For healthy fingernails, pamper them daily with a gentle buffing or a massage. This increases circulation to the nails, keeping them from cracking and peeling. Rubbing petroleum jelly, vitamin E or a cuticle cream into the cuticles at night will keep them moisturized and also promote nail strength. Wear gloves when washing dishes or cleaning to prevent nails from becoming brittle, and don't use nail polish remover that contains formaldehyde or acetone, both of which are drying.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    In general, looking at the fingernails and toenails is not a reliable way to tell if you are healthy or not. But a careful examination of the nails can provide clues to certain diseases.

    Here are some examples:
    • Fungal infection: Toenail fungal infections affect up to 5% of the population. For most people, the condition is primarily cosmetic. Treatment is optional. But if an infection is painful or occurs in a person with diabetes, treatment may be offered.
    • Lung disease: Conditions such as lung cancer, lung scarring (pulmonary fibrosis) and cystic fibrosis may be associated with clubbing of the fingernails. With clubbing, the nails take on a raised, rounded appearance, like a club. But it's not completely reliable: many people with lung disease do not have clubbing and healthy people sometimes have clubbing, too.
    • Psoriasis: "Pitting" (small indentations) in the nails and thickening of the nails are common in people who have psoriasis. In fact, these nail changes may be the first or only sign of this condition.
    • Endocarditis (a heart valve infection): A heart valve infection is a serious condition, and can be hard to diagnose. Fever, shaking chills and rash are common symptoms. The appearance of multiple red lines under the nails -- called "splinter hemorrhages" -- may suggest the diagnosis.
    • Anemia: People with anemia tend to have pale nail beds. However, it's usually difficult to say whether a nail bed is pale enough to indicate anemia. Blood tests are more reliable.
    Serious illnesses of almost any type can affect the appearance and growth of the nails. Your doctor may be able to tell if you were sick up to several months ago by the appearance of a horizontal ridge or indentation in finger nails, called Beau's lines. These lines may occur after any serious illness, including those associated with a high fever or severe nutritional deficiency. They may also appear soon after getting chemotherapy for cancer.

    So, there are situations when the nails offer a glimpse into your health. But, most of the time, there are better ways.
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    A , Orthopedic Surgery, answered
    Dents and grooves on fingernails and toe nails can be caused by several things including stress, vitamin deficiencies, and cysts from arthritis.

    It depends on the exact characteristics and appearance of the nail. One of the most common problems I see in my practice is a deep groove in the fingernail accompanied by a large cyst over the end joint of the finger, near the nail.

    The cyst puts pressure on the tissue that the nail grows from and causes changes in nail appearance. The groove resolves when the cyst goes away.
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    A , Dermatology, answered
    If you get a really bad flu or a fever, three to six months later you may notice a white horizontal band or indentation on some of your nails. It's called a Beau's line, and indicates that the nails stopped growing during a period of physical or emotional stress.

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    A answered
    Alterations in the appearance, shape, and texture of your nails can indicate an underlying health condition. For example:
    • Thickened nails may be a sign of psoriasis.
    • Red nail beds may be a symptom of diabetes.
    • Pale nail beds can indicate anemia.
    • White nails have been associated with kidney disease.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Brittle nails can be a normal result of aging. However, they can also be a sign that you may have a thyroid disorder or another medical condition.

    If you have concerns about your brittle nails, talk with your doctor. He or she can help determine the cause and suggest a treatment or management plan to restore their strength. If there is no underlying reason for your brittle nails, your doctor may recommend that you do the following:
    • Moisturize your nails daily.
    • Keep them trimmed (straight across and slightly rounded at the top).
    • Stay away from harsh polish removers.
    • Try a biotin supplement to thicken your nails.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered

    Nail appearance and structure can give clues as to your overall health. Healthy nails should look the same color throughout and feel smooth to the touch. White spots or vertical ridges usually are not signs of a health problem. But changes in color or growth pattern can be a sign of heart, kidney, or lung problems. The color of nails also could be a sign of diabetes and anemia (low iron in the blood). Stress can also cause brittle nails and ridges. Consult a dermatologist for more information.

     

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Vertical ridges are a normal variation of the nail, and they tend to increase as we get older. In black women, these lines may get darker.

    Sometimes the long lines can be a sign of lichen planus, a disease that affects the skin, mouth and tongue. And despite what the name seems to imply, it has nothing to do with lichens. Other skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema can also affect the appearance of nails.

    If you are concerned, talk to your doctor.
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    To prepare for your appointment, make a list of important questions to ask your doctor. Make a list of any symptoms you've experienced, as well as notes on your medical history, allergies, and current medications. You might want to ask about treatments that are available to you and get referrals for a dermatologist or podiatrist. You may also want to bring a friend to help you remember what to ask and to help keep track of your doctor's answers.
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    You should see a doctor if you experience pain or notice any changes in your nails. Your doctor can diagnose the underlying problem for your condition and prescribe treatment. Some nail conditions indicate a more serious medical disorder, so it is important to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding your nail health.

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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Taking certain medications can lead to changes in your nails. In particular, some antibiotics can cause your nails to lift away from the skin underneath (the nail bed). Chemotherapy medications can affect how your nails grow. If you are taking a new medication and notice changes in your nails, tell your doctor. 
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