If you're like most people, you have a pretty simple routine for taking care of your nails. Maybe you clip them occasionally and forget about them the rest of the time, or maybe you have a standing mani-pedi appointment at the neighborhood nail salon. Either way, you probably don't consider your nails to be a big part of your overall health.
You might be surprised, then, to realize that the condition of your nails can indicate some serious health problems. Spoon-shaped nails can indicate iron-deficiency anemia, for instance. Chronic liver disease can turn your nails completely white. Rheumatoid arthritis, chronic bronchitis, congenital heart disease -- all sorts of ailments can change the appearance of your nails. Of course, not all changes signal a problem. The appearance of vertical ridges in your nails, for instance, is a natural and harmless consequence of aging.
Yellowing nails are unique in that they can have several different causes, some benign and some very serious. In this article, we'll look at those causes, as well as some of the different ways to treat them. It's worth noting, however, that changing the appearance of your nails is notoriously difficult. Unlike, say, skin cells, your nails aren't made of living cells and, accordingly, can't repair themselves. As a result, many treatments for yellowing nails involve fixing the cause and waiting for a healthy nail to replace the discolored one. So with that in mind, let's start by looking at a treatment perfect for the least serious cause of yellow nails.