Have you ever wanted to try self-diagnosing yourself? Well, you can’t do all of it entirely by yourself (you need medical training after all), but if you learn how to recognize problems in your hands, then you might have the ability to detect very serious problems before they become serious.
If you notice any of these flaws in your fingernails, either changes your lifestyle or see a doctor. Your nails might just change because you have an iron deficiency, but you could develop other health problems too.
Press firmly on your fingernail. It should turn white as you exert pressure on it, but the whiteness should go away once you relieve the pressure. If it doesn’t—or if your nails look ghostly white all the time, then you probably have an iron deficiency. Doctors call this condition anemia.
Anemic people don’t have enough blood, enough iron in their blood, or enough oxygen in their blood. They may experience all three problems at the same time. Your body needs the iron and the oxygen in order to function properly, and the ends of your fingers and toes turn white when they don’t get enough oxygen. When your cells don’t get enough oxygen, they can’t stay alive, so your fingers and toes may become ischemic. Ischemia occurs just before your cells start to die and fall off.
Nobody wants anemia to progress this far. Catch it just as your nails turn ghostly because you can easily heal at that point. You just have to increase your iron-intake, and you have to drink more water. If that doesn’t work, go see a doctor!
Do you have any nails that look more yellow than others? Have they grown in thicker, or do they hurt when you press on them? If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, you have a fungal infection. The nail might not even hurt yet, but you could still have one.
Yellow nails also indicate other problems. If you’re at risk for diabetes, you might want to visit your doctor if you notice your nails yellowing. Diabetics often have problems with immunity, so fungal infections strike more frequently. They can’t fight them off quite as well either. Consult your doctor! You may only have a fungal infection, but you could also have something scarier as well!
Don’t panic right away though! If you painted your nails with red, orange, or yellow fingernail polish, that could also cause your nail to yellow. Try using whitening toothpaste or mouthwash on it to make the color go away, or just let it grow out.
Most people have a pinkish, darker area just before the whiter part of the nail begins. However, if that line looks very dark, like deep purple, brown, or black, then you either bashed your finger really hard or you have melanoma (skin cancer). If you didn’t bang your finger in any way over the previous week or month, then you should go see a doctor right away.
Again, if you bashed your finger, you should expect some kind of line to appear. However, if you have two or more parallel white lines on your fingernails, then you have a problem. You may just have a protein deficiency, so eat more meat or beans!
You may have a far more serious problem though. These lines often appear when you have liver or kidney problems, which disrupt the blood flow to your fingers. You should see a doctor because you will need medication to fix it.