October, 2013

Nail Abnormalities and What They Mean

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Nail abnormalities such as breakage, discoloration or ridges are relatively common. It’s important to have any nail concerns evaluated by a doctor, however, as they can be indicative of underlying health problems.

Let’s take a look at a few common nail abnormalities and what they could be trying to tell you about your health:

Dry and Brittle Nails. Nails that chip and break easily can be a sign of a nutritional deficiency or anemia. An iron or protein deficiency can result in weak nails, as can a lack of B-complex vitamins such as B12, calcium, biotin, hydrochloric acid or zinc. LIC Urgent Med offers vitamin B12 injections, which can be very beneficial in treating anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency.

Ridges. Our nails naturally develop slight vertical ridges as we age. However, severe and raised ridges can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia. Nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin B12 or keratin can result in fingernail ridges. Hormonal changes can also cause ridges to appear.

Abnormal Curving. The condition of an abnormally shaped fingernail is called koilonychia. Nails that curve upward in a “spoon” shape have a form of koilonychias that is indicative of a vitamin B12 deficiency or iron-deficiency anemia. Vitamin B12 injections would help to remedy this condition.

Beau's lines. These appear as horizontal grooves or indents in the nail, and can show up on one or more fingers. These lines can occur following an injury to the nail, such as being hit by a hammer, or an illness that is accompanied by a high fever. Diabetes, malnutrition or zinc deficiency can also cause Beau's lines to develope.

A Bluish Hue. Nails that have a light blue or pale purple tint can be an indicator of cardiovascular or lung problems, such as pneumonia, asthma or emphysema. They can also be a sign of certain heart conditions or nutritional deficiencies. Circulation problems may also cause nails to turn blue.

If you’ve noticed a troubling change or irregularity in one or more of your nails, click here to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.

Board Certified Physician in Astoria

To learn more about nail health and treatment options for various nail abnormalities, contact us today and schedule an appointment. Our offices are located in Astoria, and we can be reached at (718) 204-7550. We hope to hear from you soon.

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