The eyes may be the window to the soul, but your fingernails may provide a peek into the status of your health. Remember, the symptoms listed here may signal the health problems listed; they do not provide definite diagnoses. But if you notice any of these, let your doctor know.
- Pale or bluish nails: This may indicate anemia.
- Pink color slow in returning after nail is squeezed: This may indicate decreased or slowed blood circulation.
- White spots: These result from injury to the nail; they're not due to zinc or other nutrient deficiency as some people believe.
- Beau's lines: These horizontal depressions occur after a traumatic event, such as a high fever. You might even be able to determine how long ago the event occurred by the length of the nail and the rate at which it grows.
- White lines parallel to the lunula (and not the cuticle): These may indicate some sort of systemic (body-wide) insult.
- Clubbed nails: These nails are shaped like the backside of a spoon and may indicate cardiopulmonary disease or asthma.
- Spoon nails: These dip inward and could indicate certain types of anemia or injury.
- Pitted nails: These punched-out-looking spots may signify psoriasis.
- Anything resembling a wart around the nail: This could be a skin cancer and needs to be examined by a doctor.
- Dark spot: This could be melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. If the spot "bleeds" into the cuticle or nail folds or if you're fair skinned, this is a serious warning sign that requires immediate medical attention.