For thousands of years, the Chinese have associated nails with different internal organs. The health, or lack thereof, of certain nails represented an imbalance within the body. For instance, the thumb nail was associated with the lung and large intestine. Though most medical doctors in the U.S. do not consider this direct correlation, they do acknowledge that certain diseases are reflected in the nail and often this is one of the first symptoms that appear.
Nails that have lost their pink undertone and appear almost white can be a sign of serious diseases. If all nails appear white with a red or dark band at the end, suspect the following diseases: anemia, congestive heart failure, diabetes, kidney failure, liver disease and malnutrition. If only one nail appear white, this may be a sign of a fungal infection.
This is often the sign of a fungal infection which can eventually cause the nail to pull away from the nail bed. They can also be due to lifestyle choices such as smoking or the use of nail polish or acrylic nails. In some cases, they are the sign of a serious disease such as diabetes, psoriasis, thyroid disease, or a respiratory disease like chronic bronchitis.
Clubbing refers to nails that become enlarged and curve downward. This can be a sign of decreased oxygen in the blood and can be the result of several diseases including: lung, liver, kidney or heart disease as well as inflammatory bowel disease and AIDS.
Spooned nails have become very thin and appear concave with a depression in the center. Nails with this deformity curve up at the edges. Diseases associated with this appearance include anemia, heart disease, hypothyroidism and systemic lupus erythematosis—an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack parts of the body as though they were foreign invaders.
Dark lines or painful growths beneath the nail can be the sign of a serious disease with one of the most common causes being melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. An appointment with your parent’s dermatologist or physician should be made immediately.
Home Care Provider
If your loved one shows any changes or problems in their nails, make an appointment with their primary health care provider to ensure there is not an underlying medical condition that warrants attention. If your loved one needs help caring for their nails and assistance with other daily hygiene requirements, consider obtaining the services of a home care provider. These professionals can assist with the daily activities of living, do the grocery shopping and then return to prepare healthy meals, sharing them with your parent and providing that all-important companionship.
The staff at Home Care Matters is available to talk with you and your family about all of your needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable home care in Buford, GA and the surrounding areas. Call (678) 828-2195 for more information.