Kidney problems are suspected with a condition known as half-and-half nail, in which the lower part of the nail bed is white but a portion towards the tip of the nail is pink. Bluish nails can signal a lack of oxygen, a sign a person might be suffering from one of a number of lung conditions. Green nails can be caused by infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium which is common in the environment. Antibiotics can clear up this condition. Poulin says respiratory tract problems such as nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis can trigger yellow nail syndrome, which he describes as rare. It can be corrected in some cases, depending on the cause. I had a guy in recently, he was an attorney, he was 40 and he had yellow nails on all his nails. And he had a nose surgery and it all went away, Poulin says. Strangely shaped or marked nails are also indicative of a variety of conditions. Thickened, misshapen and cloudy nails sometimes on the fingers, but more often on the toes are generally a sign of infection with a fungus. Called onychomycosis, the condition is unsightly and makes the nails difficult to trim and maintain. Onychomycosis can and should be treated, Poulin says, and the earlier the better. The longer the problem festers, the harder it is to treat, he says. And while thickened toe nails may be merely an esthetic problem for a 60-year-old, when that person is 80 and diabetic, toenails that can\’t be trimmed can trigger infections in the skin around the nail bed, erode foot health and threaten mobility. It may be an open door for cellulitis, for infections of the skin, in diabetic people, Poulin says. (But) this is often neglected. People don\’t look too much at their toenails. A brown or black streak or dot under a nail that persists can be skin cancer melanoma, which can be deadly if it isn\’t caught early. And if there is no evident reason for the change in pigmentation, it should be checked out, says Dr. Mark Davis, a dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic\’s Rochester, Minn. , campus. If patients can remember some trauma to their nail that they actually have a reason for getting blood under their nail and it\’s usually painful then it\’s nothing to be worried about, Davis says. But if somebody develops a new pigmentation on their nail, just like a new mole on your skin, it\’s best to have a dermatologist look at it and make the judgment as to whether it could be a melanoma or whether it\’s just a mole.
And sometimes that can be quite difficult even for the dermatologist to decide. Melanomas under the nail aren\’t common, but they do occur. But because people don\’t necessarily know of the possibility, such melanomas can go undetected, threatening chances of survival. People come very late with melanoma of the nail plate, says Poulin. They have a black streak in the nail for years. Someone who has horizontal groves across all their fingernails has experienced an illness that has interrupted the growth of the nails. The condition, called Beau\’s lines, is associated with uncontrolled diabetes, circulatory diseases or illnesses associated with high fever, the Mayo Clinic says. While nail changes can signal something is going on with a person\’s health, sometimes the message they send isn\’t specific to a particular disease. For example, when you see clubbing of the nails, there\’s like 20 different things that can be associated with that, Davis says. He adds the warning, though, that if that happens and it\’s new, it can be a sign of lung cancer. The term clubbing is used to describe the swelling or enlarging of the tips of the fingers, with the nails curving downwards over the tip. While some people are born with clubbing, if it develops later on it can be a symptom of lung disease, congenital heart disorders, inflammatory bowel disease or liver problems. Spoon nails, on the other hand, come about when the fingernails soften and curl inward from the sides, creating a concave surface. Also known as koilonychia, spoon nails can be a sign of iron-deficiency anemia. Davis suggests paying attention to, but not fretting unduly, over changes to fingernails. If they notice a change in their nails, I think it\’s reasonable to check on it, but not to get overly alarmed about it. Because there\’s lots of things that happen to the nails themselves that have nothing to do with any underlying conditions.
The appearance of your fingernails can give clues about possible issues with your overall health. If your fingernails are discolored, have horizontal ridges, are pitted, or curve, you may have a medical condition that should be investigated by a doctor. It is also a good idea to contact your doctor if your nails curl outwards, a condition known as koilonychia or spoon nails.
Why Do My Fingernails Curl? 1. Respiratory Health Issues Downward curved fingernails can indicate a problem with respiratory health, and are often present in people who have medical conditions such as COPD, chronic bronchitis, asthma and lung cancer. Fingernails often curve downwards as a result of lack of oxygen. They may also be bluish or yellowish in color. If you have downward curved fingernails and trouble breathing, see your doctor. 2. Vitamin and Nutritional Deficiencies If your body is not getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals, your fingernails may curl down or become brittle or soft. It is important to check your diet to be sure that you are getting enough vitamin B-12, iron, and other healthy supplements. You can also take vitamin supplements if you are not getting enough from your diet. Your doctor may decide to check your blood in order to discover any vitamin deficiencies, and a naturopath can assist you in helping you choose which supplements may be best for you to take to ensure your body is getting what it needs. 3. Injury Why do my fingernails curl? It could be due to injury. If you have recently injured your fingers, you may notice that the nails on those fingers have begun to curl downward. It is a good idea to keep the affected nail(s) cut short until the part of the nail that is injured has grown out. Once the injured part is grown out, your fingernails should once again grow normally. 4. Heredity You may have curved fingernails as a result of heredity. Check to see if either of your parent s hands have fingernails that curve downward. It they do, then that is probably why yours do, too. As long as your fingernails are healthy and straight otherwise, then there is probably no reason to worry about them. If you would like to lessen the look of the curve, keep your nails short and squared. It is a good idea to see your doctor if you notice a change taking place with your fingernails. They will be able to check you out in order to determine if there is an underlying medical reason for the change in their appearance. Changes in fingernails, hair, eyes and skin should be investigated in order to properly diagnose and treat any health issue you may have. 5.
Nail Clubbing Nail clubbing takes place over time and causes the nails to curve around the tips of the fingers and become larger. It can be caused by low blood oxygen levels and may be a symptom of lung disease. Some medical conditions associated with nail clubbing include liver disease, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and AIDS. 6. Spoon Nails Spoon nails, also known as koilonychia, are nails that appear to be scooped out and are soft. The scooped part of the nail is often big enough to hold a drop of water. Spoon nails can be a symptom of hemochromatosis, which is a liver condition where too much iron from food is absorbed by your body. Spoon nails may also appear with people who have hypothyroidism, nail-patella syndrome, or heart disease. If you work in an environment where your nails are exposed to petroleum based solvents, you may also experience spoon nails. Fingernails Curling, What to Do Now you\’ve got the answer to: Why do my fingernails curl? the next thing to consider would be how to deal with it. It is important to see your doctor if your nails are clubbed or curved in order to be checked for an underlying medical problem. A physical exam, chest x-ray and blood work are common tests that your doctor may perform. If no problems are found, then there is no need for treatment. It is not uncommon for these types of nail issues to be present in people who do not have a health condition. People with curved fingernails have said the following: Taking vitamin D3 and vitamin supplements for bone health have helped reduce the look of curved nails. For someone who has always had curved nails, it was noticed that the nails appeared to bend where they meet the palm when making a fist. Using several layers of polish and keeping them cut short has helped. Eating a lot of protein can help make nails straighter, such as eating three eggs in the morning, in case the cause is a protein deficiency. This can be better than using supplements because eating protein also fills you up. Biotin can help, especially when combined with vitamin D and calcium supplements for people who have weak, split nails. They can cause them to strengthen. It is also important to keep the cuticles pushed back and massaging the nails can also help.