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What Do Your Nails Say About Your Health?

Nail Pitting and Rippling

If you have ice pick-like depressions in your nails, this could be a sign of psoriasis, which is a condition that causes scaly patches on your skin. This nail condition could also indicate inflammatory arthritis or disorders that are related to problems with your connective tissue, such as Reiter’s syndrome and autoimmune diseases like alopecia areata. 

Nail Clubbing

Nail clubbing is a condition that occurs when the tips of your fingers enlarge, eventually causing your nails to curve around your fingertips. This is usually the result of low oxygen in your blood and is often associated with lung disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and AIDS. 

Spoon Nails

If you have soft nails with a depression large enough to hold a drop of liquid, this is referred to as koilonychias, or spoon nails. This condition is usually a sign of iron deficiency, anemia, or liver conditions. Spoon nails are also sometimes associated with hypothyroidism and heart disease. 

Pale or White Nails

Very pale nails are sometimes a sign of serious illnesses such as anemia, liver disease, or malnutrition.  Further, if your nails become completely white in color with a dark pink rim, this is referred to as Terry’s nails. This condition is sometimes attributed to aging, but it also might be sign of more serious conditions, such as congestive heart failure, kidney failure, or diabetes. 

Blue Nails

If your nails have a bluish tint, this generally means your body is not getting enough oxygen through your blood flow. Very cold temperatures could temporarily slow the blood flow to your fingertips, but if this is the case, the blue tint should disappear once you warm up. If your blue nails are not related to being cold, then it could be caused by heart problems or a lung problem, such as emphysema. 

Beau's Lines

Beau’s lines appear as an indention across the top of your nails. These lines develop when injury or severe illness interrupts the growth of the nail at the area underneath the cuticle. Some conditions that can cause this to occur include: uncontrolled diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, zinc deficiency, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, and pneumonia. 

Cracked Nails

If your nails are dry, brittle, or frequently appear cracked through the middle or split at the tip this could mean that you have thyroid disease. If the cracking or splitting nails are also yellowish in color, this might also be due to a fungal infection. 


Onycholysis is a condition that results in your fingernails  separating from the bed of your nail. Usually, once your nail separates, it takes on a green or yellow tint as well. Sometimes, having a detached nail can be caused by an injury or infection. Other times, this could be caused by an adverse reaction to a medication or other product. Onycholysis can also be caused by psoriasis and thyroid disease. 

Yellow Nail Syndrome

Yellow nail syndrome is marked by yellowing, thickening and slowed growth of the nail Usually, yellow nails are a sign of fungal infection. If the infection is not treated, it will lead to crumbling of the nails. Rarely, yellow nail syndrome could be a sign of diabetes, lung disease, or thyroid disease.  

Dark Lines Beneath the Nail

If you start to notice dark lines forming beneath the surface of your nail, you should have this investigated immediately. This condition is often a sign of melanoma, which is the most severe type of skin cancer.