YOUR NAILS CAN INDICATE HEALTH PROBLEMS
By Herbalist Wendy Wilson
Forget the palm reading to see what is going with your health and take a serious look at your nails. Just as your blood, your urine and your hair can offer clues into your health so can your finger and toe nails can indicate a health problem. Keep in mind that the nails are really skin cells and like to breathe. Wearing nail polish and fake nails can suffocate the nail (especially at the nail bed) and make the nails vulnerable to fungus infections. Let’s take a look at some of the health conditions our nails can be showing us.
THIRTY & COUNTING
According to medical science, there are about thirty different health conditions that can be spotted by looking at nails. For instance, your nails could signal that you have a heart, kidney or cancer problem. Those with pulmonary or heart conditions such as emphysema could show signs of the problem when the tissue beneath the nail becomes thick forcing the nail to club around the finger making it look bulbous. The nails will curve over the bulbous finger and this is known as “clubbing”.
NAIL LINES & DENTS
Have you noticed your nails developing strange horizontal or vertical lines or strange dents called pitting? The nail is a good indicator what is going on inside your body. You could have nutritional deficiencies or even poison. If your nails display small surface dents not due to trauma, it could be a sign you have skin problems such as; eczema, psoriasis or cancer. The pitting of the nail can also be due to arthritis. If you see parallel lines, which can appear white or black, this can indicate a serious health condition. White parallel lines are known as Muehrcke’s lines is most likely because of low protein in the blood; a malnutrition issue. When this happens the liver can be affected and be in distress. The dark lines can indicate skin cancer and usually show up on just one nail. If the nails have brown or red streaks it could indicated a number of conditions including a heart valve infection Nail lines or grooves going across the nail from left to right (not from trauma) is a sign of extreme stress called Beau’s lines.
NAIL SHAPES & COLOR
Fingernails can have different shapes to them. The shapes that go outside the normal are the ones to be concerned about. For instance, if the nail develops a spoon shape in which they raise up on the sides and in the front of the nail instead of curving down, this is called Koilonychia and is often a sign the person has lupus. When the nails become discolored it could indicate a medical condition. Aside from trauma, yellow nails usually indicated a lung condition such as tuberculosis. Brownish nails are associated with a thyroid condition or pregnancy. There is also a condition where the nail can be half white and half darker which indicates renal failure. Medicine thinks the impurities in the blood from failing kidneys changes the pigment at the nail bed.
FOODS, DRUGS & NAIL HEALTH
If you have red nails (not due to nail polish) it could indicate you have too many fatty acids and cholesterol from a diet consuming too much sugar, salt and dairy. Most often the liver is not functioning normally and there are some blocked arteries. If the nails turn purple (aside from trauma or lack of oxygen) it suggests a digestive system is off often due to a diet with too much sugar and not enough fruits and vegetables. In some instances, pharmaceutical drugs (such as chemotherapy drugs) can turn nails purple. Other drugs that can turn your nails purple are; blood pressure drugs, medication for headaches, amphetamines and cocaine.
DETACHED OR INFLAMED NAILS
Sometimes trauma to the nail can cause it to become loose and fall off. If you have loose nails not due to trauma it can be from several things. Often loose nails point to a circulation problem called Raynaud’s phenomenon. This is a unique circulation issue where only certain areas of the body seem to have a blood flow disruption. Another reason for loose nails is a reaction to prescribed medicine or an overactive thyroid. If the skin that supports the nail called the “nail fold” becomes red and inflamed it is often from trauma, infection or some irritation such as ingrown nails. However, it can also be an indication of diabetes or HIV.
There are some medical procedures that can cause trauma to the nail and permanently affect the health of the nail. For instance, if you repeatedly deal with an ingrown nails and the podiatrist recommends a procedure to prevent the nail from becoming ingrown, this could traumatize the nail bed. The procedure uses acid to destroy part of the nail root attempting to prevent it from growing in a curved position causing the ingrown nail. However, this often leaves the nail vulnerable to a fungus infection. If this happens the nail will yellow and become thick at the nail tip and the infection grows toward the nail bed. Once there, the nail will rise up off the toe being attached only at the nail bed. The nail is tender and any pressure is painful. Trimming or cutting the nail will make it crumble and break off. Often a full grown nail in this condition will fall off and be replaced with a nail showing the same signs of fungal infection. This process of growing the nail out (takes 12 months). The nail falling off will repeat itself and if the condition is not corrected eventually the nail will not grow back. If I had ingrown nails I would continue to have the nail treated by cutting away the portion of the nail that is digging into the toe and skip the surgical acid treatment.
Nail fungus affects more people each year and the drugs, surgery and lasers used in an attempt to correct the issue are expensive and have some serious side effects. Always do your homework before getting the treatment. For instance, the drugs for nail fungus can damage your liver. The surgery is temporary and the lasers may work in a small percentage of the cases. What I would do is use a natural therapy that will address the fungal infection without the risks of side effects. I would use garlic juice and drip it under the nail and place it on top at the nail bed. Leave on all night. You may have to do this therapy for months but slowly signs of improvement will develop. You’ll notice that the nail is not as tender or discolored and feels more secure (attached). The nail also starts to thin and flatten out. In some instances the garlic therapy may require a year to repair the nail and kill the fungus. However, the therapy is painless, has no side effects and is very inexpensive.
For those seeking a natural and gentle approach to health I can tell you what I would do. There are many things we can do to improve our health and the appearance of our nails. For instance the garlic juice I just mentioned you can find at Apothecary Herbs. A lifestyle change is due and more fruits and vegetables and avoid the dairy and sugar will help. Apothecary Herbs also offers many medicinal herb formulas to strengthen weak areas such as: Kidney Bladder Kit, Lung Congestion Kit, Smoker’s Helper (to quit smoking), Body Foundation Food for super nutrition the lifestyle is missing, Dandelion root if cancer is suspected, Heart Cholesterol, BP and Circulation formulas, Milk Thistle to help repair the liver and Headache formulas so you can avoid toxic drugs. Call Apothecary Herbs to order or for a free product catalog 866-229-3663, International 704-885-0277 http://www.thepowerherbs.com, where your healthcare options just became endless. This week only orders over $50 can save 15% with coupon PUMPKIN5. Hurry Expires 10/24/15 12 pm EST and cannot be used with other discounts.