The Link Between Your Fingernails and Your Health

18 November, 2018
Did you know that your fingernails can tell you whether something is wrong with your health? Here are some of the things that your fingernails could be telling without you even realizing it.

We often consider our nails to be merely part of our physical appearance. However, there is actually a connection between your fingernails and your health, and they may be telling you that something is wrong. 

If your nails are brittle or cracked, then these may be warnings that something is not quite right with your body. Maybe you’re lacking a certain vitamin or you’re suffering from anemia and don’t even realize it.

Taking all this into account, we want to make you aware of some of the things that your fingernails could be telling without you even realizing it.

1. Your fingernails and your health: dry nails

Lady having nails painted

This condition may be related to:

  • Thyroid Problems
  • Anemia
  • Fungi

If your nails have become extremely dry and brittle overnight, then this may be due to anemia or thyroid problems. Unfortunately, cuticle oil will not help solve this problem.

To pinpoint this problem you should check your hormone levels and make sure your thyroid is under control. Moreover, you should bear in mind that this issue is not weight related.

There’s a false belief that only overweight people have thyroid problems or that you may be prone to becoming anemic if you’re underweight. The truth is that these conditions don’t always go hand in hand.


In addition, keep in mind that fungi can also make fingernails dry and weak.

2. Discolored fingernails

If your fingernails are discolored, then you may be suffering from:

  • Fungi
  • Diabetes
  • Liver, kidney, heart, or lung problems
  • Lymphedema

Remember that healthy nails should be pink with white crescents near the base. The different colors your nails could be, along with their possible meanings are as follows:

  • Green = bacterial infection
  • Red streaks at the base of the nails = heart valve infection
  • Bluish = low levels of oxygen in the blood
  • Pale = vitamin deficiency
  • White = hepatitis or anemia
  • Dark streaks at the top of the nail = signs of aging and congestive heart failure
  • Dark lines below the nail = Skin cancer

Keep these colors in mind and examine your nails whenever you can.

3. Cracked nails

Cracked and damaged fingernails

If your hands are always in water, then your nails will constantly fluctuate between being hydrated and dehydrated. Over time, this can cause them to divide and crack. This problem can also cause your nails to peel off layer after layer.

Constantly putting your fingernails in your mouth can produce the same effect. Don’t bite your nails. Furthermore, if you have to put your hands in water then you should wear gloves.

This condition could also be indicative of a deficiency of:

  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Protein

If you notice any of these symptoms, increase your intake of vitamin C. You can do this by consuming fruits like oranges or grapefruits at least once a day. Mango is rich in folic acid so you should also add it to your list of foods to eat if you suffer from a vitamin deficiency.

4. Extremely thick nails

Another connection between your fingernails and your health has to do with the thickness of your nails. If your nails are not discolored and look strong and healthy, then having thick nails shouldn’t be a problem. However, if the nails have recently become too thick but you haven’t had any treatment to strengthen them, then you may have some form of lung disease.

Thick nails are not necessary strong nails, especially if they look like claws. If you’re taking medication and your nails suddenly become thicker, then you should discuss this with your doctor. This is because you may be suffering from an allergic reaction.

See also: 6 Foods to Help You Boost Lung Function

5. Your fingernails have grooves or dents on them

Fingernails with white marks

Sometimes your nails and hands get a little beat up because of work, and, as a consequence, small streaks may start to appear. However, if your hands are not damaged but you note that there are several streaks
on one or several of your fingernails, then pay attention to your hair and your skin.

Mineral and vitamin deficiency can also lead to psoriasis or hair loss. However, this problem is usually resolved by improving your diet or taking a vitamin supplement.

Read more: 4 Vitamins for Healthy Skin

Pay attention to your nails

As you can see, your nails are not only useful for putting on nail polish or for decorating. They’re also very useful for telling us if something is wrong with your health. In conclusion: the connection between your fingernails and your health is a very important one!

Main image courtesy of ©

  • Bacardí Lecomte, I., & Pérez Quiros, M. (2017). Las uñas como método diagnóstico de patologías. El Peu-Revista de Podologia, 2017, vol. 38, num. 1, p. 14-27.
  • Martínez, R. C., Dosil, V. L., & Fernández, R. S. (2006). Uñas y enfermedades sistémicas. Piel21(9), 430-434.
  • Suárez, B. P. (2011). El lenguaje de las uñas. Más dermatología, (15), 4-12.