Fingernails are a great indicator that something could be wrong internally that you aren’t quite aware of yet. Nails are made out a keratin, the same thing the body uses to make your hair. Fingernails grow about one tenth of an inch (2.5 mm) each month, and at that rate it can take approximately 3 to 6 months for growth to completely replace a nail. The nails are one of the most noticeable parts of the body, as they are a prevalent part in most day-to-day activities.
Look for clues your nails may reveal about your health:
- Beau’s Lines: This is characterized by indentations that run across the nails and appear when growth under the cuticle is interrupted by injury or even a severe illness. The little lines could be signs of a zinc deficiency or something more severe. Certain conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, scarlet fever, measles, mumps and pneumonia, could be associated with Beau’s lines.
- Nail Separation: The condition’s medical name is onycholysis, which occurs when the fingernail becomes lose and separates from the nail bed. This could simply be a result of injury, infection, or a reaction to a particular drug. However, a more serious reason for the detachment could be thyroid disease or psoriasis.
- Yellow Nail Syndrome: This can cause unpleasant embarrassing, as can many of the other previously mentioned nail problems. When this happens, nails thicken, but new nail growth becomes stunted. This syndrome could be a result of respiratory disease such as chronic bronchitis or general swelling of the hands.