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Breathing ?
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Anxiety
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 Health Hint #36
What Your Fingernails Reveal about Your Health
 
 
Excerpted from "A Year of Health Hints"
365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer



You may see your hands hundreds of times a day, but do you ever examine them? Probably not. Yet taking a closer look-especially at your fingernails-may not be a bad idea. They're a good indicator of overall health.

Spoon-shaped nails, for example, may simply be an inherited trait-or they can be a clue to a thyroid deficiency or iron deficiency anemia. Nails that have no 'moon," or white crescent at the base, and are thin and brittle might indicate an underactive thyroid. Still other changes-like brittleness or pitting-may be signs of other nutritional deficiencies or injury to the nail bed. While no one can diagnose a health problem on the basis of nail irregularities only, the table on page 42 may tip you off to possible health problems. (Consult your doctor if you see any significant changes in your nails.)

Barring any medical explanation for nail problems, the following tips can help your nails look healthier and more attractive.

Eat a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats,
and low-fat dairy products.
Wear gloves when you do household chores or hobbies, to avoid contact with detergents or harsh
chemicals that can dry or damage nails.
Clean nails with a nail brush, especially if you garden or work with messy materials.
Clip cuticles and rough skin, to prevent tears.
File nails in one direction only, using an emery board, not a metal nail file.
Don't use your nails as tools, to remove staples and so forth.
If you polish your nails, use polish remover sparingly,

Nail Symptoms and What They Mean

Problem Possible Causes
Brittleness Frequent immersion in hot water; generally poor health; impaired circulation; possible deficiency of vitamins A, C, or B6, niacin, calcium, or iron; thyroid deficiency
Clubbing Chronic lung disease, or lung cancer; congenital
heart disease; congenital or hereditary defect
Pitting (may be normal) Eczema, psoriasis, trauma
Ridges Emphysema, heredity, kidney failure, old age,
rheumatoid arthritis, trauma
Separation (when nail plate lifts
off nail bed)
Allergy to nail lacquer and hardeners, fungal
infection, iron deficiency anemia, pregnancy,
psoriasis, trauma
Splitting at top edge Immersion in water for long periods, nail polish
removers
Spoon Shaped Thyroid deficiency; iron deficiency anemia

SOURCE: HealthyLife® for Women (Southfield, Mich.: American Institute for Preventive Medicine, 1986).

 About The Author
This article has been taken from A Year of Health Hints: 365 Practical Ways to Feel Better & Live Longer, a book published by the ...more
 
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