What your weak nails tell you about your health
Did you know that your nails can say a lot about your health? Well, brittle or weak nails can be a sign of serious health issues, such as thyroid disease. Of course, your nails might experience slight changes as you age, but if you continuously experience problems with your nails, it is best to ask a medical practitioner about it. Anyway, there are several ways to strengthen and prevent health problems with natural approaches. Read on to find out what are weak nails and what health issues might trigger them.
What are weak nails?
Your fingernails and toenails represent a great indicator of your health status. Nails consist of several layers of proteins named keratin. As such, healthy nails look and feel smooth and firm while having an overall even color and no signs of discoloration. But when your nails start to degrade, you should assess their status and try to heal them. The main signs and symptoms of weak nails include:
- Nails that tend to split at ends;
- Frequent peeling;
- Easy breaking or chipping;
- Ridging all over the nail’s surface;
- Issues in growing longer nails.
Besides this, several factors can increase the chances of experiencing weak nails like:
- Fungal nail infection;
- Lichen planus, a condition that has a direct effect on skin and nail health;
- Nail psoriasis.
Of course, many other risk factors can lead to weak nails such as iron deficiency, frequent hand-washing with harsh or chemical-rich soaps, sunburn, windburn, extended exposure to cold, nail polish remover, or recurring nail trauma.
So what are your nails telling you about your health?
Having weak or brittle nails can be a direct result of the factors mentioned above. Also, frequently using chemical-based cosmetic products can alter your nail structure and weaken them. But at the same time, weak nails can be a direct consequence of the following health problems.
#1 Thyroid issues
Weak nails can be a significant sign of hypothyroidism, a health problem that happens when your thyroid is underproductive and doesn’t produce enough hormones for your body’s needs. And if you are having additional symptoms like weight gain, depression, or memory loss, these are all indicators of issues with your thyroid.
#2 Skin and nail psoriasis
Many of those who have psoriasis get a late diagnosis, mostly when the disease is in its later stages. But if you monitor your health carefully, you can spot the early signs, especially if it is the case with nail psoriasis. The main symptoms for nail psoriasis are fragile and damaged nails and, in some instances, loss of nails.
#3 Autoimmune disease
Another thing your nails might tell you about your health is whether or not you are suffering from an autoimmune disease. Weak nails can indicate you are suffering from disorders such as alopecia. If you are experiencing constant nail chipping and ruptures, it is best to opt for a medical appointment. Funny-looking nails can be an indicator of a severe health problem.
When you experience ridges that run along the length of the nail, it is named Beau’s lines. Usually, these don’t pose any health risks and might indicate you recently hit your nail. Still, Beau’s lines can be a notable sign of a systemic trauma that is undergoing, such as untreated diabetes, malnutrition, or pneumonia.
#5 Nail injury
Of course, anyone had at least one nail bump into a hard object that resulted in white spots or even purplish ones. This is known as leukonychia, and it is a clear indicator of nail trauma. Still, if you don’t feel like you hit your nail and still experience this issue, it might tell you that you have heart problems, renal failure, or even arsenic poisoning. Anyway, these health issues need to be accompanied by a couple of disease-related symptoms to pinpoint such a severe health problem.
#6 Vitamin D deficiency
Weak nails can indicate you don’t have enough vitamin D in your body. Also, lack of vitamins A and C can lead to brittle nails and a tendency to nail breakings. It is best to discuss with your doctor about this problem and request additional blood tests to check vitamin D levels in your body.
It is normal to have nail pigmentation depending on your lifestyle and health. Still, if you frequently experience nail pigmentation, this can indicate the existence of malignant melanoma, a severe skin cancer form. Thus, if you observe dark spots on your nails, it is best to check those with your medical practitioner.
#8 Iron deficiency
Another deficiency that can lead to weak and spooning nails is iron deficiency. Also, any iron-related disease can have a direct impact on your nail health, including hemochromatosis.