When was the last time that you took a good look at your fingernails? When you look at them, you might see that they are not as attractive as they once were.
Sometimes the markings on them are subtle. There may be a slight change in the color throughout your nail. It could be that there are white spots on your fingernails or other imperfections that you just don’t like.
Even if the imperfections are small, such as little ripple marks on your nails or little bumps, they are something that you should look into. Maintaining healthy nails is more important than many people realize. The reason for this is that a person’s overall health can usually be judge by looking at the health of their nails.
Steps for Keeping Your Fingernails Healthy
The human nail is extremely strong and resilient. However, it is also susceptible to bacteria and fungus. The following are a few things a person can do to maintain good nail health.
- Maintain dry nails, and keep them clean.
- Don’t bite your nails.
- Keep nails and cuticles moisturized by applying creams.
- Nails should be filed in one direction, and the tip should be round.
- Take care of your cuticles. Cleaning too deep under your cuticles or too deep under your nails will lead to infection.
- Do not try to remove ingrown toenails yourself. Seek medical attention.
- Be selective in choosing nail polish. Avoid polishes that have acetone or formaldehyde.
- Maintain a balanced and healthy diet, and take vitamins for nail health.
Every year during your regular physical, ask your doctor to take a look at your nails. They may notice certain imperfections in your nails that are telltale signs of more serious diseases.
Your Nails and Your Overall Health
Your nails tell you so much about your overall health. A doctor in a Cleveland clinic once encouraged the patient to have his lungs looked at because she noticed a bluish tint on his nails. This bluish tint was a sign that something was happening within his respiratory system that was preventing his body from getting sufficient oxygen. After an examination, the patient confirmed that there was fluid in his lungs.
There are certain conditions, such as hepatitis, heart disease and liver disorders, that may affect the appearance of otherwise healthy nails. Changes in the nails can be an indication of a disease or infection in the nails themselves. It could mean that an individual has fungus in their nails or that their hands have bacteria on them. Or changes in the nails can be a symptom of more serious and systematic diseases. Two examples of diseases that show themselves in the nails are lupus and anemia.
Individuals who have iron deficiency might also exhibit symptoms in their nails. Their nails might become thin, or they might be concave. For this reason, many doctors will ask their patients to show them their nails. Patients who have angular blood vessels in their nails might be dealing with lupus. Patients who are in the beginning stages of psoriasis will start to have indications of it in their nails. It is common for a disease to cause the nails to split, or there might be some pitting in the nail bed.
Individuals who are at risk for heart disease may have nail beds that are exceptionally red. Emotional and psychological diseases, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, may first show themselves by an individual biting their nails or picking at the cuticles. Doctors who are observant may see these things, and based on these things, make observations about their patients’ health.
Individuals who are fighting with thyroid disease likewise may show symptoms in the nails. Dry, brittle nails that are constantly cracking and that are easy to split are an indication of an individual having abnormalities in the thyroid.
Take a Trip to the Dermatologist
Fungus is one of the most common reasons for discoloration and changes in texture in the fingernails. At times, these infections can be difficult to treat without professional help. Professionals will be able to prescribe prescription strength anti-fungal medication. Patients should be alert and look out for any changes in the color of their nails that did not come as a result of an accident. This especially the case when talking about warts that are around the nail bed. These can be indications of the start of skin cancer.
In conclusion, the human nail is a wonderful thing. It is a strong tool that allows us to accomplish many things, and it provides protection for the tips of our fingers. The human nail is also a good indicator of illness. So take care of your nails. If you notice any abnormalities or changes, consult a medical professional immediately.
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