A nutritionist has shared the warning signs you should be looking out for on your fingernails which could indicate underlying health problems - from white spots to ridges. Fiona Tuck, from Sydney, says changes in our nails can hint at problems our body is experiencing internally, which could take weeks or months to show up otherwise. Recently, a gran said her manicure appointment "saved her life" after her regular nail technician noticed a change in her nails and urged her to get them checked out - with tests revealing she had lung cancer.
Nutritionist Fiona said there are a few simple signs to be aware of that could hint at issues including nutrient deficiencies and sinister illnesses. She added that people should always consider if external factors have affected a nail first, such as fake nails, accidental physical damage or using products like hand sanitiser before seeing a doctor, as reported by Daily Mail.
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White spots or lines
One of the most common changes to fingernails, the appearance of white spots usually points to lack of zinc and calcium. To reverse the deficiency, focus on foods that contain the two vitamins, with Fiona suggesting dairy products and leafy green vegetables for calcium, and pumpkin seeds, oysters, poultry and red meat for zinc.
Pale or blue colouring
Healthy nails will usually show a natural pinky colour in the nail bed, but if this changes to become pale or blue it could suggest low blood circulation around the body which can be solved by increasing levels of exercise. A change in colour can also hint at a lack of iron in the body, which Fiona says can be determined through a blood test or looking at your diet. She added that correcting the deficiency would see the deformity in the nail "change or grow out".
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Ridges and vertical lines
Nails forming ridges and vertical lines can be indicative of further deficiencies or issues associated with the gut when it is not absorbing or receiving enough nutrients. "Ridges in the nails could be a sign of numerous nutrient deficiencies, such as protein, iron, zinc or minerals," Fiona said. She advised to look at your diet and what you eat daily to determine what your body might be lacking in a bid to reverse it.
Nails curving downwards are more common in older people and can indicate severe issues with lung conditions or disease. Fiona said: "When the nails are clubbed or if they curve downwards, this can relate to breathing difficulties, lung conditions or even cardiovascular issues. The nails often look enlarged at the ends of the fingers."
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Pitted nails is a less common condition, with tiny dots or pricks on the nail usually occurring "when there's a kind of autoimmune condition taking place within the body". Fiona said it's common among people who have psoriasis or alopecia, adding that some factors can be genetic but it's worth getting them checked out by a specialist.