Your nails may be telling more than when you had your last manicure. They may be cluing you and your doctor in to potential health problems. For example, pitted nails may indicate undiagnosed psoriasis. Spoon nails (when the nails curve away from the nail bed to form a spoon shape) may give away an anemic condition, while clubbed nails (typified by an extreme, rounded curvature of the nail) may occur in people with cardiopulmonary disease or asthma.
Before you worry about every bruised nail bed and every hangnail, though, remember that most nail injuries and problems don't lead to a diagnosis of lung disease or anemia. Most of the time, a bruised nail is just a bruised nail. If you notice changes in your nail health, texture or growth, visit your health care professional to determine the cause and treatment.
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Today it's second nature to paint your fingernails and toenails. But it's been a long road to here. HowStuffWorks breaks down the colorful history.