Friday, Dec 02, 2022

Experts explain what changes in the colour or texture of your nails tell about your health

Change in the texture or colour of the nails could be a serious symptom of serious health conditions and must not be overlooked.

healthy nails, nail colour texture change, yellow nails symptoms, dark nails symptoms, brittle nails symptoms, hard nails, nails health, diabetes symptoms, thyroid symptoms, arthritis symptoms Your nails say so much about you health. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Sometimes, little changes in your body can signify a change in the status of your health. For instance, your nails. Nails happen to be one of the most overlooked parts of our body, but also happen to be a prominent teller of one’s health. Other than the obvious signs that nails show about a person’s hygiene and cleanliness, the nails can also show signs of fatal health disorders, even skin cancer. Talking to, Dr Pankaj Pahwal, Chief Medical Officer of Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, explained how the change in the colour and texture of nails are actually significant symptoms of acute illnesses.

Change in colour of nails

If the colour of the nails is yellow, the condition commonly signifies anaemia. “This condition of thick and yellow nails also signify fungal infection under the nail beds,” Dr Pahwal said. In addition, yellowing of nails is also a sign of respiratory diseases, diabetes and thyroid —although less often. Brittle and yellow nails are most commonly seen in women, because they are more prone to anaemia biologically, and fishermen, because of being in constant touch with water.

Yellow and brittle nails could also be a sign of a condition called psoriasis in which skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, dry patches.

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Unnaturally white nails are significant in detecting liver and kidney diseases and doctors immediately send the patient for a kidney/liver tests, in that case, said Dr Pahwal. Dark stripes’ formation on the nails may sometimes be a form of skin cancer that affects the nail bed and is called subungual melanoma.

Change in the texture of nails

Brittle and pale nails do not just signify anaemia, but also fungal infections and Staphylococcus bacterial infections. In addition, a deficiency of Vitamin A, B and C is also detected by brittle nails, according to Dr Pahwal. Cracking and splitting of brittle nails can also lead to the detection of thyroid disease, particularly hypothyroidism.

Clubbing is a nail condition in which case, fingernails curve inwards and get enlarged. Dr Pahwal said that it is a sign of respiratory problems, including chronic bronchitis and lung conditions.

Beading of the nails is another condition that is a common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and thyroid.


The doctor suggested that it is important to maintain the hygiene of the nails by cleaning them from time to time to avoid fungal infections like onychomycosis, which if not taken care of, could prove fatal. Vitamin A, Vitamin B biotin and Vitamin C rich foods like most fruits, vegetables and dairy products must be consumed in adequate proportions to have healthy and clean nails.

First published on: 02-09-2016 at 06:17:22 pm
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