Your Nails may Indicate Poor Health

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UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020

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Did you know that the appearance of your fingernails can provide many valuable health tips and indicate poor health? Examining your nails can provide clues to everything from the quality of your immune system to the state of your mental and physical well-being. Keeping an eye on your nails may just warn you ahead of time of any oncoming illness or encourage you to change certain habits, thus improving your overall health and saving you money on term life insurance. Below are some nail issues and what health problems they could signify.

Nail Shape and Health

The shape of your nails can also provide numerous health tips. If your nails are spoon-shaped, you may be anemic. If they are unusually long and narrow, it could signify damage to your pituitary gland or a hormonal deficiency. If they are wide and square, it could indicate damage to your thyroid gland or hormonal imbalances. If they are club-shaped, it could be indicative of numerous chronic diseases including emphysema, cancer, tuberculosis, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, AIDS, cardiovascular disease and chronic cough. Nails that look scooped out or spoon-shaped are associated with hypothyroidism, heart disease, iron deficiency anemia and a liver disorder called hemochromatosis. For these reasons, it is important to pay attention to any changes in your nails.

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Nail pitting is characterized by small depressions in the nails and it is most often a sign of immune system related disorders such as psoriasis or alopecia areata. A separation of the fingernail from the nail bed or an ongoing fungal infection can also be caused by a malfunctioning immune system. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may want to seek medical attention.

Nutrient Deficiency

If your nails are thin or splitting, you may be deficient in essential fatty acids such as omega 3’s, magnesium or zinc. If you have white spots on your nails, you may be deficient in calcium or zinc. Pitting brown spots can indicate a deficiency in vitamin C or folic acid. Vertical indented lines can signify digestive system damage and consequently an inability to properly absorb nutrients. If your nails have any of the above characteristics, it may be a good idea to exam your diet.


Ragged nails with bitten edges are a visible sign of stress; however, a less well-known signifier of too much stress or anxiety is a ridge across the thumbnail. White horizontal lines, as well as brittle peeling nails, can also be caused by emotional stress. If your nails are showing these signs, it may be wise to exam ways to reduce the stress in your life.

Keep in mind that it takes approximately six months for your nails to grow out. Any abnormality that has begun in the past six months reflects a new health issue, while nail abnormalities that you have been dealing with for longer are more likely to reflect ongoing, chronic health issues. Keep an eye on your nails and your overall health. You may just save money on your term life insurance.

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Nutrients Your Diet May Be Missing

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