7 Fingernail Problems That Are Actually Serious Health Warnings


What if a health problem was right in front of you and you didn’t even notice it?

It’s important to catch the warning signs of health issues early enough to do something about it. And a surprising number of warnings come from our fingernails. Unfortunately, most people don’t know what to look for.

That all changes today. We’ve put together a guide to fingernail issues that serve as major warnings about your health. Keep reading to discover exactly what your fingers have been trying to tell you!

Nail clubbing

One of the most serious fingernail problems is nail clubbing. This occurs when the connective tissue overgrows and fluid accumulates in the nails. This increases the diameter of your nails and enlarges the terminal portions of your toes or fingers.

By itself, nail clubbing is already very annoying. But if you’re dealing with nail clubbing, you should know that it can be a warning sign of hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy. This can lead to lung cancer, and those with lung cancer account for the vast majority of nail clubbing cases around the world.

As you can see, nail clubbing is pretty scary. Now, we’re going to take a look at six more fingernail problems that can give you warning signs about your health!

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Spoon nails

One of the easiest fingernail conditions to spot is spoon nails. As the name implies, this is a condition where your nails look a bit like spoons turned upside down. Many who have this condition say it looks like a small scoop was taken out of their fingernails.

If you have spoon nails, you may also have iron deficiency anemia. Alternatively, you may have hemochromatosis, meaning that your body is taking in too much iron from the foods you are eating. Finally, spoon nails may be a warning sign of both hypothyroidism and heart disease, so be sure to treat this nail condition seriously.

Terry’s nails

Terry’s nails is another fingernail condition that is easy to spot. If you have this condition, it means that your nails look mostly white with the exception of a small pink band near the top of the nail.

If you’re lucky, Terry’s nails may simply be a sign that you are getting older. But it’s worth consulting with your doctor because these nails can be an early warning sign of some very serious health problems. These problems include diabetes, kidney failure, liver disease, and congestive heart failure.

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Beau’s lines

Do you have indentations running across your nails? This may mean you have Beau’s lines, a condition made more apparent after you experience an injury or major illness.

And these lines have been associated with several major health issues. For example, Beau’s lines are associated with measles, pneumonia, mumps, and scarlet fever. The condition is also associated with a zinc deficiency. Most concerningly, though, Beau’s lines are associated with peripheral vascular disease and diabetes.

As always, we recommend that you check your body for these warning signs and then talk to your physician to rule out major health problems.

Nail separation

Chances are that you don’t need an in-depth description of nail separation. This is, of course, a condition in which your nails come loose from the nail bed and begin separating. As for the nails themselves, they may look different after separating. Specifically, they may look green, yellow, or white.

If your nails separate after an injury, you may not have much to worry about. If there has been no recent injury, your nails could be reacting to products such as adhesives or nail hardeners. 

What if you haven’t been injured and haven’t been using these products? In that case, you should know that nail separation is associated with both thyroid disease and psoriasis!

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Yellow nail syndrome

You have probably figured out by now that your nails changing color is usually a bad sign. And that is certainly the case with yellow nail syndrome.

Those who suffer from this syndrome will have slow nail growth and thickened nails. The nails in question will appear yellowish. This scary syndrome is associated with lymphedema, otherwise known as swelling of the hands. It can also be a sign of chronic bronchitis or another major respiratory illness.

Nail pitting

Nail pitting is another frightening nail condition. You can tell you are dealing with nail pitting if your nails have depressed areas that look a bit like icepicks.

If you suffer from nail pitting, you may also suffer from psoriasis. In fact, the very fingers the pitted nails are on may have telltale patches of skin. Additionally, many who have nail pitting also have Reiter’s syndrome or other connective tissue problems. They may also have alopecia areata, a condition that causes you to lose your hair.

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