How do you know if you have or are at risk for cardiovascular problems? High blood pressure? High cholesterol? Well, yes, those are common indicators. But what about the condition of your nails? As it turns out, there are a number of nail changes that can indicate cardiovascular diseases.
Splinter hemorrhages, which are thin red or reddish brown lines under the nails, can be a sign of heart valve infection or vasculitis [source: Medline Plus]. While they may look like splinters, they're actually lines of blood.
Congenital heart abnormalities can lead to clubbing of the nails [source: Medline Plus]. In clubbing, nails soften and appear to float above the nail bed, which has usually become wider and rounder than normal. Additional nail signs that can indicate cardiovascular problems are spoon nails (nails that look scooped away from the finger) and pale or blue-tinged nails [sources: Mayo Clinic; WebMD].
The next condition may not be as serious, but it's a problem that plagues many.