Nail Color Changes you Should Watch Out For


Your nails tell so much about your health, so it matters that you pay attention to them because they will tell you if something is wrong with you. When you're healthy, your nails should be light pink, semi-transparent, intact and with a white little moon just above the cuticle. Occasionally, you may spot white dots or lines, but these are nothing to be worried about.



The things you should really watch out for are the signs of underlying illnesses somewhere else in your body. Below are some of the nail color changes you should be wary of.

White or cloudy nail. When the nail turns ti this color, it may indicate heart disease, renal failure, liver cirrhosis, pulmonary tuberculosis, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis.

White and grainy with a pink or red strip at the top because of an increase in connective tissue and a decrease in blood supply in the nail bed. This change in nail health can be found in 80 percent of patients with liver cirrhosis, as well as in patients with congestive heart failure, hyperthyroidism, malnutrition, diabetes, or HIV.

Abnormal blood flood in the nail bed is linked with hypoalbuminemia, liver disease, malnutrition, and nephrotic syndrome; it is also a side effect of chemotherapy.

Half-and-half nails, also known as Lindsay’s nails. The bottom half of the nail appears white while the top half is a darker pink-brown. This is because there is swelling in the nail bed at the bottom and increased melanin (a type of skin pigment) production at the top. Chronic renal disease or HIV could be the cause of this condition.

Horizontal white lines in the nail could indicate heart failure, Hodgkin disease, renal failure, system-wide infection, or poisoning by arsenic, thallium, or other heavy metals.

Splinter hemorrhages. These thin, dark red or brown vertical lines in the nail bed look like splinters beneath the nail. Possible causes include cirrhosis, mitral stenosis, oral contraceptive use, pregnancy, peptic ulcer disease, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, and trauma. A classic association is with subacute bacterial endocarditis (infection of the heart valves).

Yellowing of the nails is associated with lymphedema (impaired lymphatic drainage), pleural effusions, and bronchiectasis.

Blue nails could indicate Wilson’s disease, argyria (silver poisoning), or quinacrine therapy (used to treat lupus and other health conditions).

Lunulas that appear red could indicate alopecia areata (hair loss), carbon monoxide poisoning, cardiac failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic urticaria (hives), cirrhosis, collagen vascular disease, oral prednisone treatment, or psoriasis.

Vertical brown streaks. These are common among people with dark skin; however, they can indicate melanoma and should be checked by a doctor. A benign nevus (overgrowth of cells) or chemical staining (including from some nail polishes) could also be the cause.

Changes in nail texture and shape could also indicate problems elsewhere in the body, so you should watch out for these signs as well. If you start noticing these changes or if your nails start to look different to you, consider it a sign to call or visit your doctor.


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