Fingernails are the barometer of your health – what do your hands reveal?

April 24, 2009

The nail unit: the barometer of your health.

What do your fingernails say about your health? According to the ‘American Academy of Dermatologists’, your nails may reveal a lot more than what you expected!

In order to understand the nature of fingernail problems, it is necessary to have some knowledge of the structure of a normal nail. The basic components of a normal nail unit include (see also the picture above): (1) the nail plate, (2) nail bed, (3) proximal nail fold, (4) lateral nail fold, (5) eponychium, (6) cutticle, (7) lunula, and (8) nail matrix = the root of the growing nail.


One should realize that the cause of nail problems may vary from person to person. For example, most people sometimes experience problems with having brittle nails and/or cracked nails. The leading causes of this problem are: malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, lack of moisture and absence of nail care – however, a cracked or brittle fingernail can also be the result of certain circulatory and respiratory problems!

• Eliz Greene (author of The Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart) says:

“If your nail bed is red, it is a sign of heart disease. If your nail bed is pale, it is a sign of anemia. If you nail is half pin and half white, it is a sign of kidney disease. White nails are a sign of liver disease.

Slow growing, yellowing and thickening nails indicate lung disease. Yellowing nails with a slight blush at the base are a sign of diabetes.

Black, brown, or purple marks under a nail that has not been injured should be seen by a doctor immediately. This could be a sign of melanoma, the most lethal form of skin cancer.”

Source: Fingernails & your health

5 Responses to “Fingernails are the barometer of your health – what do your hands reveal?”

  1. I don’ agree with the above post, and would like to pick up on a few of the OP’s points. Not everyone will see it this way and though I am one of them, I do respect your right to have your view. Either way I have enjoyed reading Fingernails are the barometer of your health – what do your hands reveal? Hand Facts: News about hands!.

  2. […] READING: • Common diseases in the fingernail & toe nail! • News about fingernails! • Fingernails are the barometer of your health! Posted in fingernails, nail | Tagged alopecia areata, disease, eczema, finger, fingernail, […]

  3. Very interesting article, and it’s true. Vitamin Deficiency and improper nutrition will cause all sorts of physical changes for the worse. make sure you know what you need and what you are getting vitamin wise.

  4. tamsenstanifordlac Says:

    We in the Oriental Medicine field also look at nails to help us get a better idea of a person’s health. Dry, brittle nails, dry cuticles, and discolorations are common signs of the body’s disharmony. Using this information in our diagnostic assessment helps us better understand a person’s pattern of imbalance; and helps us tailor the treatment to best suit them. It’s truly amazing how much information our bodies can give us in ways like this.

    • handfacts Says:

      Hello Tamsenstanifordlac,

      Thanks for your comment!
      Yes, especially the discolorations are for sure very interesting!

      Best wishes from The Netherlands,


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