8 important disease signals in nails

Our nails are important structures that support the fingertips and enable touch and transportation, and they are also at the center of our lives cosmetically. Our nails, which are one of the most important indicators of being well-groomed, can also be a sign of many serious diseases. Dermatology Specialist Dr. Şenay Ağırgöl explained some of the diseases that changes in the nails may indicate and made warnings.

yellow nail
The condition in which the nails and surrounding tissues gradually thicken and the nails begin to turn yellow is referred to as ‘yellow nail syndrome’. “The yellow color that affects all nails is important and this picture may be associated with lung diseases, lymphedema and chronic sinusitis,” said Dr. Şenay Ağırgöl continues as follows: “Yellow discoloration in skin diseases is most commonly seen due to fungi. When the fungus progresses, it destroys the hardness of the nail. The nail thickens, becomes soft and brittle, and then falls off. “If it is detected early, it can be easily treated, but as the thickness increases, it is necessary to use medication for months.”

spoon nail
The change in the curvature of the nail, with the middle of the nail becoming sunken and the edges raised, is referred to as ‘spoon nail’. Dermatology Specialist Dr. Şenay Ağırgöl emphasized that spoon nails most often occur due to iron deficiency anemia and said, “Spoon nails can also occur in esophageal diseases such as thyroid, type 2 diabetes and plummer vinson, or cancer. “If the nails have started to take the shape of a spoon, it is useful to at least have the amount of iron in the body checked,” he says.

sweat nail
It is called ‘sweat nail’ when a small part of the nail bed at the tip turns red and brown in the form of a thin band and the other part turns completely white. It can be a symptom of liver diseases, cirrhosis, autoimmune hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, Reiter’s syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases or kidney failure. Dr. states that the incidence of sweaty nails increases with advancing age. Şenay Ağırgöl says, “If the base of the nail is white and the tip has a crescent-shaped appearance, it is necessary to consult a physician.”

Curved nail
Normally, a diamond pattern is seen when two nails touch each other, but when the curvature of the nail increases, this appearance is distorted. Curved nail; It can be a symptom of lung diseases, heart diseases, lung cancer, pericardium infections, congenital heart disease, lung abscess, inflammatory bowel diseases, cirrhosis and digestive system cancers. Unilateral bulge increase may also indicate a problem in the veins on the same side.

ferrule nail
Ferrule nails, which are formed by tiny pits on the nail, usually occur due to skin diseases. If hand eczema, one of the most common causes, continues for a long time and is not treated, it can also damage the nail structure. In addition, pits can be seen in psoriasis, sarcoidosis, lupus and lichen diseases. Ringworm, which affects all nails, can also develop due to severe ringworm.

white nail
Whiteness may cover the entire nail, or it may be linear or dotted. Although white nails are mostly caused by problems such as manicure and nail biting, sometimes there may be an underlying systemic or genetic disease. It can be caused by arsenic and heavy metal poisoning, vitamin deficiencies, kidney failure, nerve diseases, polycythemia vera, hemochromatosis, Kindler syndrome and lupus diseases, as well as organ transplantation and side effects of medications. Dermatology Specialist Dr. Şenay Ağırgöl emphasizes that skin diseases such as psoriasis, lichen, nail fungus, ringworm and vitiligo can cause white nails and says, “Not every white nail is a disease, but it is useful to be evaluated by a physician.”

nail separation
When the nail plate separates from the nail bed, the nail may turn green or brown due to the entry of color-causing bacteria. Fungi can also be added to the nail through this opening, and as a result, the nail can thicken. Although nail separation usually occurs as a result of factors such as trauma, nail fungus and eczema, sometimes the cause cannot be found. The most important step in the treatment of nail separation is to avoid trauma, water and detergent. Care should be taken to avoid adding infection to the separated areas. The nail bed should not be cleaned harshly. Cotton gloves should be worn under plastic gloves when cleaning. Permanent nail applications should be avoided until the nails recover.

brittle nail
‘Brittle nails’, which are most commonly seen in fingernails, generally occur when the water and fat content in the body decreases. Traumas, skin diseases such as lichen, ringworm and darier disease, eczema, systemic diseases such as thyroid diseases, nutritional disorders and rheumatic diseases, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin E deficiencies and side effects of medications can also cause nails to break. Brittle nails should be treated first if there is a disease that causes them. Supportive and fortifying foods can be given. Iron, zinc and biotin may be effective in reducing nail brittleness. Nail moisturizers and short-term application of nail polish can also support the nail.

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