Is It Normal For My Nails To Look Like This?

If the saying is that eyes are the window to the soul, then what does that make your nails? The barometer of your overall health, of course. That’s because everything from nutrition and age to infections and diseases can all show themselves through your nails.

Now this isn’t to say that every little change in nail texture, thickness, or rate of growth, is something to be concerned about, since these occur naturally with age. However, there are subtle shifts in your nails that may be trying to tell you something more.

However, before we get to the specifics, here are a few fast facts about nail health:

1.    On average, fingernails grow 3.5 millimeters (aka: 1/10 of an inch) per month.

2.    While your nails may be hard, they’re actually made from the same protein as hair, keratin.

3.    Your nails actually grow fastest in the summer—another great reason to schedule that upcoming manicure.

4.    Contrary to popular belief, small, white spots on your nail(s) are not indicative of a calcium or zinc deficiency.

Unfortunately, though, because we spend so much of our time working to change the appearance of our nails by cutting, filing and painting them, it can be tough to tell just what normal looks like. So in the name of nail health, and overall wellness, it’s time to hit pause on the pampering. Give your nails a breather every once in a while, and keep a look out for these sneaky changes:  

·         A dark, brownish streak. This could be a sign of melanoma skin cancer.

·         A nail lifting up. This could be a sign of a fungal infection, psoriasis, injury from an aggressive manicure or injury from cleaning under your nails.

·         Brittle or thin nails. This could indicate a thyroid imbalance.

·         Redness and swelling around a nail. You probably have an infection. Often times, candida yeast is the culprit.

·         Greenish black color. You probably have an infection. Unlike redness that is usually caused by fungus, this discoloration is likely the result of bacteria.

·         Pitting nails. These may be triggered by psoriasis, atopic dermatitis or alopecia.

·         Yellow nails. This is most likely the result of a fungal infection, but it could be a sign of something more serious, like lung disease or rheumatoid arthritis.

·         Thin reddish line. This may be a splinter hemorrhage, which can be the result of a heart valve infection.

·         Deep grooves or gaps. These could be triggered by chemotherapy, an injury or major stress.

·         Curved nails. These can be hereditary or a sign of lung, heart, liver or stomach disease.

·         Horizontal, white lines. Small, white spots are no big deal. But if you notice lines that span across you’re whole nail, this may be the result of nutrition deficiencies. In more serious cases, it may be the result of liver or kidney abnormalities.

Keep your nails—and your overall health—growing strong.
Before you start analyzing the appearance of each and every nail, remember: it’s common to experience minor changes in your nails as you age. However, if you do notice something abnormal for you—and your nails—it’s never a bad idea to see your trusted health care partner. With trusted providers, extensive services and the latest treatment options, GMG Primary Care will help you nail all of your health needs and goals.


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