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Nails can convey more information about our health than we think… In this nail and health article we will be able to discover and understand some changes in the nails that indicate the presence of a possible disease.

The nails are responsible for protecting the tissues of the fingers. They are made up of layers of a protein called keratin, which is also present in other parts of the body (hair, the skin…). A healthy nail, both hand and foot, has a uniform and smooth color; on the contrary, there is the possibility that it is warning us of a problem in the body. That is why Nails and health are linked.

Changes in shape or color are a sign that something is wrong. Por ello, It is very important to pay attention to the hands and feet and to be attentive to any alteration in their usual appearance.

According to the experts of www.dosfarma.com, the leading Spanish online pharmacy in the market, there are many changes that can occur in the nails and not all indicate the presence of a serious health problem. Por ejemplo, excessive humidity or prolonged exposure to chemicals (nail polishes, Cleaning products…) can explain weak and brittle nails.

Nails and health

Nails and health: The most common nail disorders.

So that, It is important to know when a change in the nails is telling us that it is time to visit the doctor. Para ello, first, it is necessary to know which alterations are the most frequent to be able to recognize them:

1. White spots. La leuconiquia, or the appearance of white spots, may be due to multiple factors. When they are little, they are usually totally innocuous and it is possible that they have appeared due to trauma or the lack of some nutrient, like zinc. A small bump can produce a white spot. As usual, heals on its own and disappears when the nail has fully grown back, which takes between six or eight months, or up to twelve in the case of feet.

They may also be due to psoriasis, a chronic disease that affects the skin and causes flaking and redness. About half of the people who suffer from this disease also have nail psoriasis, es decir, in the nails.

2. Curved nails, spoon-shaped. Koilonychia, or nails in spoon, occurs when the edges of the curve curl up, to the point that the deepest center remains, similar to the shape of a spoon. This alteration is due to several factors, como iron deficiency or anemia. A turn, can be a symptom of some kidney diseases, hepatic or thyroid-related. An example is hemochromatosis, a condition in which the body absorbs too much iron from food.

3. Beau's lines. They are grooves or indentations that cross the nail from side to side. They occur because, for some reason, nail growth has been interrupted (por ejemplo, a sharp blow to the finger). They can appear in cases of diabetes, especially when the disease is not well controlled.

4. Terry Nails. This alteration means that the nail becomes an opaque white color., except for a small pink or brown line at the tip. They appear in cases of poorly controlled diabetes or from liver or kidney disease.

5. Yellow nails. They are due to multiple reasons, as excessive use of cosmetics or nail polishes, although they can also hide a health problem. Por ejemplo, fungal infections produce changes in color, texture and shape. In the same way, las Lung diseases they may also have this symptom.

Nails and health

6. Acropachy. It happens when fingertips widen and fingernails curve around, making a semicircular shape. They are a symbol of liver or kidney disease, although they also appear in people with AIDS.

7. Stippled nails. Grooves appear, similar to small marks from a punch. Son common in people with psoriasis, to whom small holes appear or, incluso, part of the fingernail separates.

8. Linear subungual hemorrhages. They are small hemorrhages in the form of thin red lines that extend in the direction the nail grows. They are caused by some heart-related infections, such as endocarditis or vasculitis.

9. Hippocratic fingers. It is an alteration that, entre otras cosas, makes the nail curve downward. Relates to ailments that affect the amount of oxygen in the blood; por ejemplo, lung cancer.

«Nails say a lot about our health. En muchas ocasiones, increasing the intake of vitamins and minerals solves the problem, as well as keeping hands well hydrated and protected from chemicals and excessive moisture. Instead, in other situations, they are warning us that something is wrong in the body. Subtle alterations, such as the appearance of holes or stretch marks, they can give us a lot of advantage in the early diagnosis of a serious ailment ».

Carmen Desmonts Salazar, DosFarma Pharmaceutical

What about brittle nails?

Brittle nails It is one of the most common nail problems and there are multiple reasons why they become weak and break easily. In many cases, it is due to external factors that are easy to fix or avoid.

Nails and health

One of the possible causes is aging, although it can also occur by lack of nutrients, like zinc or iron. Asimismo, vitamin C accelerates collagen production, a substance responsible for the nails to grow quickly and with more force. También vitamin D it is necessary for them to have shine and strength. A lack of both vitamins would explain weak nails, brittle and dull.

Equally, la prolonged exposure to polish can make nails brittle and flaking. En general, the abuse of enamels can make them rough and dull and even stain them some color, if the pigment penetrates.

It is also possible that they are due to excess humidity or the use of cleaning products without gloves. Another possibility is that they become brittle by a thyroid gland disorder.

As we mentioned before, brittle nails are one of the most common problems y que, por suerte, it is fixed with some ease.

How to take care of nails or treat them so that they are perfect?

These are the most useful tips that the experts of DosFarma they give us to avoid having them weak or, in case of having them, reinforce them so that they recover their original state and can perfectly reflect this union of nails and health:

Nails and health
  • Take them short. The longer they are, more likely to break or crack, especially if they are not strong enough. Además, long nails encourage microorganisms to accumulate under them and cause an infection.
  • A diet rich in vitamins and minerals. We have already commented on the importance of zinc (present in the liver, red meat or hazelnuts) y el iron (in seafood, spinach and red meat). They are also necessary C vitamin (broccoli, Red pepper, kiwi, naranja…), la vitamin D (Sun light) y la Vitamin E. The latter is a powerful antioxidant found in almonds, hazelnuts, green leafy vegetables or vegetable oils.
    If required, you can increase the intake of these nutrients through a supplement or food supplement, in order to facilitate the necessary intake to regain the health of the nails.
  • Do not abuse enamels. Permanent manicures do not have to affect the nails, only if they are made with poor quality products. Then, its chemical components hinder the natural creation of keratin. If you notice that they open in layers or fold, it is best to avoid these products and rest a few weeks until they regain strength.
  • Do not use chemicals without protection. Bleaches, detergents, acetone… All of these products weaken the nails if used regularly.. Those who habitually work with an aggressive chemical element must wear gloves.
  • Avoid excessive humidity. Keeping your nails clean and dry is one of the keys to keeping them strong and healthy.. An excess of water deteriorates the cuticle and nail plate (the pink surface) and it dries them out. Además, humidity facilitates the growth of fungi and bacteria. Por ello, it is recommended let your hands breathe periodically and do not abuse gloves and socks, especially if we spend time in humid environments.
    Equally, This advice should also be taken into account when washing hands and feet. We must always dry them very well to avoid moisture remaining.
  • Keep a hydration adequate. Using a moisturizing hand cream will help strengthen your nails., while hardening them, will smooth cuticles and keep them healthy. This step is even more important in the colder months, since low temperatures dry out the skin a lot.