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What your fingernails say about your health, part 2 of 2

Today , let’s talk about what your nails can tell you about your health, according to several sources I studied. (They include American Academy of Dermatology; the Arthritis Foundation; Mayo Clinic; Fawcett, Linford, and Stulberg’s “Nail Abnormalities: Clues to Systemic Disease,” Dr. Andrew Weil; and Web MD.)

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Cracked or split nails: thyroid disease (or, with yellow nails, a fungal infection)

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Nail separates itself from the nail bed (“Plummer’s Nail): can lead to bacterial and yeast infection, often indicative of low thyroid

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Spoon nails, look concave and look scooped away from the finger: another sign of hypothyroidism

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Red, puffy skin around the nail: lupus or connective tissue disorders, or it could be an infection

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Dark lines beneath the nail: be seen immediately, can be a sign of melanoma skin cancer

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Splinter hemorrhages: thin red or reddish brown lines under the nails: can be a sign of heart valve infection or vasculitis

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Very pale color: nutritional deficiency, heart disease, anemia

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White nails: liver problems, jaundice, possibly even hepatitis (not always!)

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Yellow nails: fungal infection (nail bed may retract, and nails may thicken/crumble), thyroid disease, lung disease, diabetes or psoriasis are also possibilities. Of course, if you paint your nails for a long period of time, they will yellow as well. Dip your nails in lemon juice to overcome that. And if discoloration continues, diabetes is a condition to evaluate, especially if you also have symptoms like increased thirst and urination.

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Bluish nails: oxygen deprivation, asthma, low hemoglobin, lung infection, possible pneumonia, some cardiac issues

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Rippled or pitted nails: autoimmune conditions such as arthritis, psoriasis, sometimes skin under the nail is reddish/brown

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White spots on your nails: I was told many years ago that this is a calcium deficiency, but research uncovered that this isn’t true. It’s a sign of past injury to the base of your nail, and doesn’t show up for many weeks. They can also indicate a reaction to nail polish or hardeners or can be a symptom of a mild infection, according to Dr. Weil.

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