What Do Your Nails Say About Your Health?

What Do Your Nails Say About Your Health?

Toenails go through a lot of wear and tear daily because they are exposed to all kinds of dirt. There are a variety of toenail problems, that can lead to staining, darkening, and even infection. Nail problems can indicate a range of health issues, and therefore they need to be monitored and taken care of. 

Nails perhaps are one of the most ignored parts of our body, especially the toenails. Toenails go through a lot of wear and tear daily because they are exposed to all kinds of dirt and infection, especially if you wear open-toe sandals. There are a variety of toenail problems, that can lead to staining, darkening, and even infection. Nail problems can indicate a range of health issues, and therefore they need to be monitored and taken care of. Here is some expert-approved advice:

Health Concerns Associated With Nail Problems 

The colour, shape, and condition of your nails can indicate any unlying health issues. Let’s take a deep dive into various nail problems and the health concerns associated with them.

1. Chewed Nails- Tension 

As per a study, approximately 25-30 % of people gnaw their nails regularly. But why do people bite their nails so much? Stress can be a significant factor in nail-biting since it diverts your attention from difficult situations.

If you are regularly biting the nail, you should know what triggers it and take appropriate action. Experts advise keeping a stress ball with you always to combat stress or find an alternative method to relieve yourself from stress, instead of biting your nails.

2. Dry & Brittle Nail, Which Break Off Easily - Dehydration 

Proper hydration is vital for your nail health. Lack of hydration could result in dry nails that break off easily. Drink at least eight glasses of water every day to restore the hydration level of your nails. It is also important to ensure that your diet is rich in hydrating food items, such as cucumber, watermelon, celery, and more.

3. Yellow Stains On Nails- Smoking 

The nails of cigarette smokers are usually yellow. The two harmful ingredients of cigarettes- tar and nicotine stain your nails and the nail bed, making it appear yellow. Moreover smoking blocks the supply of oxygen to your nails, thus giving them a yellow hue.

The most effective option to prevent future damage to your nails is to quit smoking. Vitamin B12 supplements can restore nail health.

4. Dull, Weak & Lacklustre Nail- Exhaustion 

As per experts, lack of sleep can be evident in your nail health. Dull, weak, and lackluster nails indicate that you are not getting enough sleep. A good night's sleep is essential not only for your skin and hair but for your nails as well. Make sure that you get at least 8-10 hours of quality sleep at night.

5. Depression In The Nails- Anaemia 

There is a depression in your nails and your nails are scooped out, which means you are suffering from iron deficiency. The best way to combat iron deficiency is to eat lots of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, and dried fruits like apricots, dates, raisins and red meat, and poultry items.

6. Formation Of Small Pits & Dents On Nails- Psoriasis 

The formation of small pits and dents on the nail surface indicates that you are suffering from dry skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Consult a doctor for your skin concern.

7. Cracked Or Split Nails- Nutrient Deficiency 

Cracked or split nails are a common condition that is mostly seen in elderly people. The nails crack or split in between when they become brittle. Drugs, trauma to the nail, illnesses, or nutrient deficiencies can cause brittle nails. You can take biotin and zinc supplements.

8. White Spots On Nails - Nails might Have Undergone A Mild Trauma 

The appearance of white spots on nails is common and is usually not a cause of concern. White spots usually appear on your fingernails and are very rarely seen in toenails. It may be due to your nail rubbing against any hard object, a white line or spot may appear which disappears when your nail grows out.

9. Pale Yellow, White, Crumbled Nails- Toenail Infection 

If your toenail is crumbled at the edges and is yellow or pale white in colour, then it's a toenail fungus or onychomycosis. This infection is caused by opportunistic fungi. As per experts, toenail fungus can occur in people of any age group but is particularly common among older people.

Depending upon the symptoms and treatment options there are 4 types of toenail fungus:

  • Distal Subungual Onychomycosis is- A most common type of toenail fungus in which the nails become thick, discoloured, and crumble easily.
  • Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis- Ailments that suppress the immune system can cause proximal subungual onychomycosis, which turns the nails white near the cuticle.
  • White Superficial Onychomycosis- In this condition, the nail becomes white and starts crumbling.
  • Candidal Onychomycosis- In this condition the nail completely separates from the nail bed.

Based on the symptoms you can identify the type of toenail fungus and treat it accordingly.

Consult a doctor who will prescribe appropriate treatment for your nail problem.

What Are The Best Ways To Maintain Nail Health? 

Maintaining your nails in good shape that looks trendy doesn't need to be costly or time-consuming. Follow these steps and look stunning with your gorgeous and sturdy nails. Frequent manicures can make your nails susceptible to yeast-related or bacteria-related infections. It's not necessary to do regular manicures to keep nails in shape if you adhere to these simple guidelines.

  1. Taking biotin supplements is beneficial in adding strength to your nails.
  2. Moisturize your cuticles with cuticle oil as cuticles play a vital role in protecting your nails against any infection.
  3. Trimming your nails regularly helps to keep them in shape and maintain healthy-looking nails.
  4. Clean the nails with a nail brush instead of using sharp tools.
  5. Wear gloves while washing clothes or utensils to protect your hands and nails.
  6. Use a sharp scissor or clipper to trim your nails. The nails should be rounded slightly towards the tips to ensure maximum strength.
  7. You can keep nails in good shape without snags, by using a nail filer.
  8. Avoid biting your fingernails or cutting off the cuticle. Doing so can cause damage to the nail.
  9. If your toenails have become hard and difficult to cut then soak your foot in warm, salty water. Fill a tub with warm water and add 1 teaspoon of salt to it. After soaking your foot for 5-10 minutes, your nails may have softened and you may now be able to cut them.
  10. Avoid digging out ingrown toenails, especially when they are damaged and sore. Consult a dermatologist if you have an infection on your toenail.
  11. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and fit well.
  12. Wear flip-flops when you go to the pool or at the showers in public. This reduces the chance of getting infections from the fungus that may develop inside your toenails.

Consult your dermatologist if your nails swells, or causes pain. These may be signs of serious nail problems.

Image Credit: www.freepik.com

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