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What Your Nails Say About Your Health

Did you know that signs of certain health conditions show up in your fingernails? Surprisingly, many illnesses and disease can affect the look of your nails. Small distinctions in the shape, size, texture and the color of your fingernails can provide clues into a deeper problem you may not be aware of.

Here are some signs and what they mean:

Nail Clubbing:

Nails normally curve at a slight upward angle from the nail bed. Nails that curve downward could be indicative of lung, cardiovascular, liver or inflammatory bowel disease or HIV infection.

Spoon Nails (koilonychia):

Nails that are abnormally thin or flat–or even concave enough to hold a drop of water. This condition could be a sign of severe iron-deficiency anemia or other systemic illnesses.

Horizontal Indentations (Beau’s lines):

These lines may be a sign of injury to the nail or of peripheral, diabetes or zinc deficiency. They can also occur as a result of high fever or chemotherapy treatment.

White Bands (Muehrcke’s nails):

This is characterized by a pair of horizontal white lines running parallel to the nail base. It can be associated with liver or kidney disease and can also be caused by chemotherapy treatment.

White Nail Plates (Terry’s nails):

This is characterized by white nails with a dark band at the tip and is usually present on all fingers. This condition is associated with liver disease and often congested heart failure, diabetes and HIV. It also occurs with normal aging.

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