Hyderabad: Nails give an indication of poor diet, stress, kidney problems and cancer. Examining nails is an age-old method of assessing health and most doctors do this. Dr K. Seshi Kiran, a senior general physician at Yashoda Hospitals, said, “Changes in nails may signal a significant systemic disease which must be consulted with a proper medical professional.” There are about eight well-established theories which helped in identifying diseases through nails. They are: lung problems, arthritis, vitamin and mineral deficiency, physical stress, malnourishment, kidney and liver problems and cancer.
Some diseases can be suspected by looking at nails. Like anaemia (low hemoglobin), psoriasias, a skin condition may result in nail pits. Half and half nail (part of the nail is pale) may be a feature of low albumin in blood. Nails and fingers will turn blue if a person has low oxygen and cyanosis. Infective endocarditis (infection of heart valves which is a deadly condition) may have nails with bleeding points.
Dr Hari Kishan B, a senior general physician at Apollo Hospitals, noted, “We often see the condition of brittle nails which is due to lack of calcium and vitamin deficiency. It is also seen in the elderly where there is often splitting of nails. Low levels of vitamin C and lack of proteins in diet also cause splitting of nails.” Women who paint nails regularly are often not aware of the changes in their nails. In a recent case, it was found that a young woman went for nail art and the artists asked her to see a doctor where diagnoses revealed cancer. This may be a rare case but many nail artists are not aware of the health specific symptoms. People with emphysema and other lung problems frequently develop what's known as clubbed nails. When this happens, fingertips become rounder and the curve of the nail changes to concave. Small little pits or indentations can be a sign of arthritis or eczema. People who aren’t eating well and have a vitamin or dietary deficiencies may have thinner nails. Horizontal lines, also known as Beau's lines, are associated with serious physical stress. They look like an indented line across the nail and frequently occur in people who have gone through chemotherapy. When people are iron-deficient, their nails can turn spoon-like. Instead of curving down and covering the finger normally, they'll start to rise up on the sides and front.