A look at the nails can reveal a lot
Fingernails can tell a lot about our health. Whether discoloration, stains, brittle or wavy nails – Often, changes in the nails indicate certain clinical pictures. However, not all abnormalities are cause for concern. There are also some myths in the interpretation of nail health. But when should you better go to a doctor and what can you do against minor deficiencies yourself? Experts clarify.
For example, more common changes include thin fingernails . brittle nails and white spots on the fingernails , The condition of the fingernails may indicate illnesses , Barbara Weigel from the Federal Association for Cosmetics and Foot Care knows how a healthy fingernail should look like: “Firm and still flexible”, says the expert.
Fingernails can reveal a lot of information about our health. (Image: Dan Race / fotolia.com)
The healthy nail
At best, the nail has a smooth surface that is slightly curved and about 0.5 millimeters thick. He has a matt-transparent look. In a well-perfused nail bed, the nail appears in light pink color. But this description does not apply to everyone. Often, fingernails are stained, discolored or creased.
Why do nails give information about health?
The physicians consider nails as appendages of the skin. They consist of the same substances as hair, ie keratin, which is constantly being re-formed by our skin. If the body is weakened by a disease or it lacks nutrients, it can also have an effect on the way the nail grows. These are then visible in the form of certain changes.
A specialist gives information
The specialist for skin diseases med. In his dermatological practice, Uwe Kirschner assesses daily symptoms of illness that are visible on the nails. First, the expert wants to create a common myth of the world. “White spots on the fingernail are not a fault at all, but harmless small air pockets,” explains Kirschner to the “Allgemeine Zeitung”.
White spots and longitudinal grooves are harmless
According to Kirschner, white spots on the nails are caused by mechanical stress and can be triggered, for example, by an impact on the nail bed. Even the common longitudinal grooves should give no cause for concern. Although these do not look very nice, they are not a sign of deficiency symptoms or illnesses. They increase with age as nail growth slows and the nasal bed is less perfused.
Nails symptoms of a metabolic disorder
“For some physical manifestations, I deliberately look at my nails,” says Kirschner. Extremely dry, brittle and brittle nails may indicate a metabolic disorder. However, the nails are not enough for diagnosis alone. As an example, the dermatologist calls a thyroid disorder where patients usually have not only bad and unstable nails, but also often dull skin and hair as well hair loss or have sweats.
Nail warning sign in psoriasis
For sufferers who are under one psoriasis suffer, the dermatologist also checks the fingernails. “If patients with psoriasis have very bad fingernails, then the likelihood is high that the disease will affect the joints next,” says Kirschner. Then you have to consult a rheumatologist as a precaution.
Signs of nutrient deficiency
Brittle and brittle fingernails can also indicate a nutrient deficiency if the body does not have enough nail-forming substances. It can not only lack of vitamins. Fats and minerals such as iron and zinc are also involved in nail formation.
Anorexia and malnutrition
“If a woman comes to me because of bad skin and nails, which weighs only 44 kilograms at 1.70, then it is not difficult to identify the cause,” explains the expert. Malnutrition does not only occur in humans eating disorder on. Older people who do not eat enough, those who undergo obscure diets and those who eat a lot of fast foods are often affected.
Cross grooves can indicate health problems
Although the above-mentioned longitudinal grooves are harmless, transverse grooves on the nails may actually indicate health problems. “They often come some time after severe gastrointestinal infections, high-grade flu fever , chemotherapy or periods of extreme stress, “reports Kirschner. However, the transverse grooves would usually show only after the disease is over.
Most nail damage is self-produced
Kirschner often sees nail damage in his work that comes from external influences. As an example, he mentions women who wear artificial gel nails. “It does not breathe, it becomes prone to infection, and it can cause injuries when the gel nails are peeled off,” the dermatologist warns. Also Spüli, soap, gardening and craft activities can damage the nails.
What you can do to protect your nails
Gloves provide protection for the nails. However, plastic hygiene gloves should not be worn all day long. According to Kirschner, the intake of biotin can improve the appearance of the nails over the long term. “It takes a few months of patience, because the nails grow slowly,” recommends the dermatologist.
Do not disregard this symptom
In part, the strength and beauty of the nails is genetically determined and can only be influenced to a certain degree. One symptom should not be disregarded. A dark patch or black band under the nail may be skin cancer. “That should be clarified by the doctor,” warns Kirschner. (Vb)