Do You Know That Nail Color Tell A Lot About Your Health?

The nail is a unique structure that functions to improve the fine touch sensation, to protect the distal digit and it also enhances the appearance of the hands. The nail is a specialized keratinous appendage that is produced by a germinative epithelium. The nail unit consists of:

  • Nail bed
  • Hyponychium
  • Proximal nail fold
  • Matrix

Examination of the nail is important as it reveals the overall vitality and underlying pathology of the body. It also indicates the nutritional status and inner emotional state of the person. The nail bed lies beneath the nail plate and it derives its pink color from the vascular supply. The matrix of the nail is the germinative epithelium and from the matrix, the nail plate is derived. The nail plate is surrounded by the proximal nail folds that protect and support the nails. The hyponychium is the portion of the nail that lies under the free edge of the nail plate. Deficiency of vitamin A, biotin, essential fatty acids and lack of moisture leads to dry nails and brittle nails that are more prone to crack easily.

 Do You Know That Nail Color Tell A Lot About Your Health?

Color of nails

The color of the nails indicates the overall health of a person and the color of the healthy nails should be the healthy pink color. Any changes in the color of the nails indicate the diseases, trauma and any nutritional deficiency. Several systemic diseases can lead to changes to the nails.

1. Green nails

The green nails indicate the disease known as green nail syndrome or chromonychia. Green nail syndrome is a nail disorder that is characterized by the greenish discoloration of the nails along with onycholysis, separation of the nail from the nail bed. Green nails are highly associated with the fungal or bacterial infection of the hands or foot. Predisposing factors that are linked to green nail syndrome include prolonged exposure to water, use of detergents and soap, nail trauma and all the other factors that cause onycholysis. The green nail syndrome is treated with oral antifungals and antibiotics for several months and a few weeks later the nail discoloration vanishes.

2. Yellow color

The yellow color of the nail is an indication of yellow nail syndrome, a rare nail disorder characterized by the yellowish discoloration of the nail and are accompanied by thickened nails, lymphedema, and respiratory manifestations. The exact cause of this discoloration os poorly understood but it can be idiopathic, secondary to other conditions like thyroid disorder, connective tissue disease, and malignancy or it can also be a result of an effect of drugs. According to the studies, the long-term discoloration of the nail is related to the type and severity of its associated condition and it can be associated with the reduced survival rate as compared to the general population. Also, it is believed that the yellow nails can also be a result of smoking. Nicotine which is one of the most harmful chemical presents in the cigarette can result in the development of yellow nail syndrome.

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3. Blue nails

Blue fingernails represent a low level of circulating oxygen in the blood cells or it indicates constriction of the supply of blood due to cold. The blue discoloration of the nail can also be a result of a critical disease like pulmonary obstruction, arteriovenous malformation, emphysema or other lung diseases. It can be present with the condition known as cyanosis, a disease which is characterized by the blue discoloration of the skin and mucous membrane and is caused by the increase in the deoxygenated hemoglobin level. The decrease in the total amount of red blood cells or the hemoglobin in the blood that lowers the ability of the blood to carry oxygen is known as anemia.  

4. Black nail

The black nail is often an indication of trauma, a condition of extremely distressing and disturbing experience. It can also be an indication of systemic diseases such as deficiency of vitamin B-12, chronic kidney disease, bacterial infection, adrenal gland problems, liver disease, and breast cancer. Diabetes mellitus and syphilis are also common possible causes of black nails. Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the blood sugar level of the body becomes extremely very high. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection which is caused by the bacteria, Treponema pallidum.

5. White nails

The white nail is often said to be a result of the fungal infection or can be due to diseases such as anemia, edema, diabetes mellitus, renal failure, and chemotherapy. Edema is described as an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the interstitium and causes swelling and severe pain. Iron deficiency anemia can also be also a cause of white nails.




Tags:  Healthy nails, Vertical lines on nails, Nail diseases chart