What can my nails tell me about my overall health?

What can my nails tell me about my overall health?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
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. 
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

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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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 cuticle...

s 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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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.