12 changes in your fingernails that could signal other problems

A healthy fingernail is bendable, slightly curved downwards, and is light pink in color. If your nails don’t look like this, it could be harmless, but sometimes the changes in your nails could be due to more serious illness. You shouldn’t necessarily  take the following 12 nail symptoms lightly.

1. Brittle nails

This isn’t only a problem among women. A lot of times brittle nails are just caused by frequent contact with warm water either from cleaning, washing the dishes, and/or frequent use of nail polish remover. However, brittle nails can also be a sign of a poorly functioning thyroid. Other symptoms of this are fatigue, weight gain, and hair loss.

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2. Upward curving nails

If your nails are curving upwards, it could be a sign of a lack of oxygen in your body. This could be due to a malfunction of the heart and/or lungs.

3. Sideways grooves

Grooves in your nails can be warning signs of serious health problems such as infection or heart attack.

4. Lengthwise grooves

These usually appear in old age. Thin grooves may be a sign of psoriasis, certain circulatory disorders, and/or a type of alopecia. Seek medical attention if there is just a single wide grove, as this could be a nail tumor.

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5. White spots

Usually these white spots don’t have anything to do with nutritional deficiencies, but rather mark former damage to your nail. Don’t worry, the white spots will eventually grow out of your nail bed.

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6. Pale nails

Have you noticed that your nails are getting more and more pale? This could be a sign of anemia, which oftentimes affects smokers or diabetics.

7. Thick, yellow nails

Doctors call this change the “yellow nail syndrome.” This often presents with bronchitis and other illnesses that impact the airway. However, yellow nails can also be a sign of water retention and/or a nail fungus.

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8. Brown or black nails

If you didn’t paint your nails one of these colors, you probably just have a small wound beneath your nail. But if a brown or black spot appears without any prior injury, seek medical attention, as this could be a sign of a serious skin disease.

9. Blue nails

If your blood doesn’t have enough oxygen, your nails often turn blue. This could be a sign of lung disease or a weak heart.

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10. Half and half nails

If your nail is light colored, but the tip is reddish or brown, it could be a sign of a serious kidney problem.

11. Nails falling off

This is often cause by inflammation of the nail bed. However, it can also be a sign of diabetes, iron deficiency, or a thyroid problem. In rare cases, this may be caused by a nail tumor.

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12. Dimples

If little slivers of blood appear on a dimpled nail, it could be due to psoriasis. Sometimes the nail is completely destroyed from this. However, the condition doesn’t always spread to your nails.

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If you find one of these symptoms on your own nails, there’s no need to panic. Most changes are completely harmless, but it might be a good idea to mention anything you notice to your doctor.