Your Fingernails May Be Telling You Something

Your Fingernails May Be Telling You Something

Your fingernails are front and center yet few people really inspect their own. Like so many other topical clues your body can generate, fingernails are the first responders that could be shouting caution.

Many men are oblivious to color changes, dents or spots which can be subtle or very conspicuous yet considered a sign of masculinity. Many women paint their fingernails so any attempt the body makes to launch a warning signal is covered up with deep reds, day glow and sparkles that dazzle, possibly at a cost.

Take a moment and inspect your fingernails. If any of these signs are present you may want to have your doctor check them out.

Ghost Nails

If the white part of your nail is a thick but somewhat see through or pale color you could be suffering from anemia. This is low blood iron which has been linked to fatigue, rapid heart beat, shortness of breath, chronic headaches, dizziness, pale skin, leg cramps and insomnia. If this applies to you, eat more dark green leafy vegetables, beans, tofu or red meat.

White Spots

You can hit your nail and live with a white spot for a few months until it grows out but if the spot does not go away it could be what is known as Muehrcke’s lines. These are markers for malnutrition, kidney or liver disease. Also, white spots could be signaling a zinc deficiency.

Cracked, Split, Broken

If you think your nails are brittle, think again. Unexplained cracked, split or broken nails may be an indication of psoriasis, hypo or hyperthyroidism.

Psoriasis, a skin condition, could be manifesting in the nails first before a systemic outbreak. A thyroid imbalance can throw your body into havoc through stubborn weight gain, weight loss, temperature challenges and mood swings to name a few.


Soft nails may tend to flake as well as feel soft when touched. This is often a sign of a keratin deficiency. Keratin is the protein rich compound that keeps your skin and nails healthy. Nails can sometimes become soft during a crash diet or other food change. Eat more protein rich foods and take biotin, which is vitamin B7 that supports skin and nail growth. Soft nails can also be the result of the digestive condition, Crohn’s disease.

Black Lines

Nail changes can of course occur due to injury, but if black lines appear and do not go away your body could be shouting melanoma. This is a very serious skin cancer that should be treated immediately.


You want your nails to be pink with a small patch of white at the base. If yellowing occurs it could be a fungus attacking the nail bed. Topical remedies like tea tree oil may help but if it is too deep you may need an oral prescription to fight it from within. Constant yellowing fungus in finger or toenails may be a sign of diabetes, a weak immune system or poor circulation.


You may have experienced an occasional blood spot under your nail which is more often than not caused by trauma. However, in rare cases, it could be an indication of a heart valve problem.


Depending on how you use them, fingernails can get banged up pretty bad. When ridges appear it may be beyond your weekend warrior collateral damage and be a cry for more important nutritional choices.

Blue Nails

If your nails have a blue hue this means your blood oxygen is suffering. According to Dr. Shilpi Agarwal, a board-certified family medicine and integrative and holistic medicine physician in Los Angeles,

“This could be caused by respiratory disease or a vascular problem called Raynaud’s Disease, which is a rare disorder of the blood vessels.”


This is more of a personally grooming tip. Although long nails are associated with sexiness they could be making you or others sick. ABC News reported on why fingernail length could be a health hazard,

“In a study released at the Infectious Disease Society of America meeting in San Francisco, researchers found that artificial and natural nails longer than 3 millimeters beyond the tip of the finger, or the length of a pencil tip, carry more harmful bacteria and yeast under them than short nails. A number of deadly, infectious outbreaks in neonatal intensive care units that were linked to long nails prompted the research.”


Don’t ignore signs your body is trying to tell you, especially on such a conspicuous area as your fingernails. Doing so could help you prevent more serious health problems down the line.