WHAT THOSE UGLY LINES ON YOUR NAILS MEAN ABOUT YOUR HEALTH (and how to get rid of them)

There are two types of people in life: those who always keep their nails perfect, and those who put their nails at the bottom of their to-do list. However, whatever you do, the nail surface can be an open door to learning more about your health and well-being. In the study of color, texture and surface structure, nails are often associated with malnutrition and disease. Here are five signs your nails are trying to tell you something.

Dry, cracked or brittle nails
Sometimes dry and brittle nails are a reflection of lifestyle changes and the products we use, such as water, nail polish remover, and harsh cleansers. But if your nails are constantly brittle, thin, and brittle, it’s time to see a doctor. Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Toronto, said, “Dry skin, hair, and nails are a sign of an underactive thyroid.” A 2013 study published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism found that gender and age were associated with the highest prevalence of the disease, a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone to support normal body function. Appears in women aged 46-54. Your doctor will do a blood test to check your thyroid hormone levels.

Ribs or bumps
It turns out that wrinkles don’t just appear on the skin: over time, you may notice that your nails are getting more textured. Dr. Skotnitsky says: “Longitudinal grooves in children’s nails are normal as they age.” However, a horizontal spine can mean something completely different. “Sometimes, if you’re really sick and have a fever, your nails stop growing. As a result, horizontal lines called Boch lines appear on the nail, “says Dr. Peter Vignewicz, a dermatologist and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University. “This is a sign of stress,” he added. What if the nails are uneven? Dr. Skotnitsky says: “Pimples or spots can be a sign of psoriasis (a common chronic inflammatory disease that causes red, scaly patches of skin) elsewhere on the body.” In 2015, a Canadian study found that more than 90 percent of patients with psoriatic arthritis had nail changes.

If you’ve ever hit a nail with a hammer (oops!), you know that nasty black bruises don’t heal right away. But sometimes dark spots and lines appear under the nails for no apparent reason, so it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. “Most people don’t know that Bob Marley died of acral lentiginous melanoma, which is characterized by dark lines under the nails,” says Dr. Skotnitsky. “[This form of skin cancer] is more common in people of color and occurs with age.”

yellow nails
If you regularly smoke or use nail polish, nicotine is often the cause of yellow nails. But “if the nail is yellow and the nail bed is raised, it could indicate a fungal infection,” says Dr. Skotnitsky. For patients with these symptoms, the doctor will write a prescription to kill the fungus and prevent it from spreading. In rare cases, yellow nails can be associated with serious conditions such as lymphedema (a build-up of lymph fluid in the tissues) or respiratory problems. These health problems cause the nail to thicken, causing the new nail to grow slowly and turn yellow.

white label
If you work with your hands, you may break a few nails or hit the nail plate and leave a white spot. “The little white spots are called traumatic leukonychia and are harmless,” says Dr. Vigewicz. But if it’s more than a small spot and half of your nail is white, “it could be a condition called Terry’s nail, which is associated with liver disease or severe kidney disease.” In 1954, Dr. Richard Terry first described this condition of nail cirrhosis (a condition that results from permanent damage and scarring of the liver). In this case, the nail is characterized by a white crescent-shaped area at the base of the nail without a hole.

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