How to read nails

Holistic Wellness

Do you know that your fingers and toes and their nails are not just for nail art — they are actually the windows that tell a story of your health and beauty? Today we will discuss the ‘Story of the Nails.’
When young, the only time you are concerned, is if and when you notice that your nails are either too soft and peeling, or too brittle and break easily, especially, as a young lady/gent, who delights in the pleasure of keeping a perfectly manicured pair of hands and feet.
As the years roll-by, you tend to notice other changes; for lack of knowledge, you tend to take it for granted, as a normal occurrence that is inevitable!
Sadly not, this is where it all begins. Let us understand the reasons why, shall we? Let’s go …Paying attention to your nails is very important. Yes, nail varnish makes the hands look elegant, but once the polish comes off, closely scrutinise any changes to your nails.
Regardless of what you’re doing with your nails, you need to start reading the signs they’re sending. What are your nails trying to tell you?

Dry & Peeling nail Cuticles
At times a painful condition — very simply, your body is asking for hydration. Drink more water, and ensure you moisturise your hands after each hand wash, the chemical in the hand wash dries the skin.

Gnawed Nails
Biting your nails may be nothing more than an old habit, but in some cases, it’s a sign of persistent anxiety that could benefit from treatment. Nail biting or picking has also been linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you can’t stop, it’s worth discussing with your GP.
White Nails
White spots, no need to worry. However, a sudden onset of all-white nails or white lines, check in with your doctor, they can be symptoms of a liver disorder or other infections.

Curved, Indented Nails
The curvature will eventually grow out. If it persists, it could symptomize a faulty iron metabolism. Check in with your dermatologist.

Cracked or Split Nails
Dry, brittle nails that frequently crack or split has been linked to thyroid disease. If you are not already under medical supervision, check in with your GP.

Yellow Nails
Nail polish and nicotine can dye fingernails yellow. Give your nails a rest from nail polish, and take a smoking break! However, if the nails thicken with a yellow hue, it could indicate a fungal nail infection or a more serious condition of the lungs or other disorders. Check in with your GP.

Rippled Nails
If the nail surface is rippled or pitted, this may be an early sign of inflammatory arthritis.

Ridged Vertical ridges
Usually harmless and a consequence of ageing

How to strengthen nails
A healthy diet and lifestyle is your answer. However, your GP will prescribe a nutritional Biotin supplement [vitamins] if required to strengthen nails.

Healthy nails
They should generally be pink in colour, and white as it grows off the nail bed. If they are strong and don’t break easily, it’s a sign that you’re in good health. Keep up the good diet, exercise and nail care regimen! Drink plenty of water.
These are just the basic ‘tell-tale’ symptoms. If you note any major changes in the nails of your hands or feet, check in with your General Practitioner immediately.
And so to follow — Look out for ‘The story on what your fingers and toes reveal’ about your health and beauty, in the next issue.

Dr MaryAnn Roberta