What Your Nails Say About You

Underneath that gel manicure are clues to the state of your health

Just like hair and skin, your nails are indicators of your health. Those irregular bumps, ridges and annoying white spots that won’t fade are signs that your body is not quite in the pink.

Here are some symptoms you may have observed on your digits:

Yellowed nails

If you’ve been going for manicures month after month without a break, your nails will get that yellowish tinge from a lack of sunlight exposure.

If it doesn’t go away even after you’ve given your nails a rest, it could a sign of ageing (in which case, try this treatment) or a fungal infection (when your nails are also thick and “crumbly”), while severe cases could be linked to thyroid, diabetes, psoriasis or respiratory disease.

Vertical ridges

These are a sign of ageing and typically not a cause for concern, but could be sometimes due to nutritional deficiencies, including vitamin B12 and magnesium.

Horizontal ridges

These are usually caused by direct trauma to the nail or a more serious illness, in which case you’ll see it on more than one nail at a time.

The reason? When your body is working overtime to battle an illness, it saves its energy for the important stuff and channels less effort towards nail growth. Horizontal lines across the nail plate can also be caused by a drug reaction.

White spots

These spots are not linked to a calcium deficiency, as many people believe. Instead, they are due to trauma to the nail or in some cases a fungal infection, which you can treat with Loceryl, available at pharmacies.

Spoon nails

If the edges of your nails curve upwards, it could be a sign of iron-deficiency anaemia. Get a blood test to check out your haemoglobin levels if, along with spoon nails, you are experiencing other symptoms of anaemia, such as fatigue and shortness of breath.


Pits or dents in your nails? They’re usually a sign of psoriasis. Nail pitting may also be due to connective tissue disorders (including Reiter's syndrome) or alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss.

For more Living stories, click here or check out 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Cellulite or What Your Blood Type Says About You.

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