What your nails say about your health


We all have different types of nails; the shape, size and even the thickness or texture differ. Some of these characteristics are due to genetics, but others can be signs of your health issues and can tell you things about your body you didn’t know. Do note that you need to consult your doctor for confirmation!

White lines

Thick white lines that run horizontally are called Muehrcke’s lines. These lines are in the vascular bed beneath the fingernail. Muehrcke’s lines can be an indicator of hypoalbuminemia, abnormally low levels of albumin in the blood. It could also be a sign of a lack of protein. However, note that smaller white lines are usually from nail trauma or injury to the nail bed and will eventually grow out or fade over time.

Dark discolorations

Dark discolorations can only mean one of two things. If you haven’t recently slammed your finger against a door or caused trauma to your nail through some kind of self-inflicted action, then you need to consult your doctor as it could be a sign of a benign mole.

Dry, cracked and brittle nails

This is a very common issue most people have. If you find that the issue is temporary, then it can be from things such as harsh chemicals like dishwashing liquid, cleaning chemicals and overuse of nail polish remover. However, if you find that this is an ongoing issue, it might be something more serious such as hypothyroidism, which is an underactive thyroid.

White spots

Growing up, I was told many times that white spots on my nails meant I had a lack of calcium in my body. This actually isn’t the case. White spots are due to slight trauma to the nail and are not associated with a calcium deficiency.


If your nails are covered in little pits or dents then it is a possibility that you might have psoriasis. Not sure what this is? Psoriasis is a milder form of eczema and is a condition in which skin cells build up and form scaly skin that typically looks like dry, red, itchy patches.

Yellow, thick nails

Normally, thick nails are an indication of a fungal infection. However, a yellow tint can mean an overuse of dark coloured nail polish, in which case taking a break from nail polish use can sort out the issue. Other causes of yellow coloured nails can be due to age and smoking.

So there you have it, the truth about your nails. If any of these symptoms raise a red flag, consult your doctor immediately. However, in most cases, the best thing to do is let your nails breath by avoiding an overuse of nail polish, to avoid trauma to your nails (if you can) and to just give them time to grow out.