The Doctors: Are My Nails Healthy?


The Doctors: Fingernail Health

When is the last time you looked to make sure your fingernails are healthy? Most of us probably don’t think about it, but fingernails can be a helpful indicator of potentially serious health problems.

Dr. Glynis Ablon is a dermatologist at UCLA, and she stressed the importance of checking your fingernails at home. A healthy fingernail will have a white moon-like shape, called a Lunula, at its base and a pink nail bed.


The Drs TV: Healthy Fingernails

Find out how your fingernails can warn you about serious diseases and health problems.

The Doctors: Half & Half Nails

A Half And Half Nail, also called Lindsay’s Nail, appears to be half white and half red, and you won’t see the Lunula. This can be a warning sign of kidney disease. It’s typically caused by Edema and Melanin. Dr. Andrew Ordon said up to 70% of Dialysis patients have Half And Half Nails.

The Doctors: Telangiectasia

Dr. Lisa Masterson said dilated or broken blood vessels in or around the nail, called Telangiectasia, are three times more common in women than men. This can be a sign of Autoimmune Disease, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, or Scleroderma. These are different from infected nails, and are tiny vessels. This diagnosis is confirmed using a microscope. Dr. Glynis Ablon said that Telangiectasia can appear anywhere on the body, but is easy to notice around your fingernails.


The Doctors: Opaque Nails

Dr. Travis Stork explained that Terry’s Nails are more opaque than a healthy nail, with more white nail than color. This could be caused by pigment alteration and thickening. But Dr. Andrew Ordon said it could also indicate serious conditions like Liver Disease, Diabetes, and heart problems. Terry’s Nails in children tend to indicate severe malnutrition.

The Doctors: Clubbed Nails

Clubbed Nails lose the arc of a healthy nail, causing thickening and rounding of the nails. There are multiple causes of Clubbed Nails, including genetics. Idiopathic Club Nails occur for no known reason. Acquired Club Nails may indicate Lung Disease or Heart Disease. In children, it may indicate a heart defect. This can be a slowly developing condition.

It is important to pay attention to your nails so you can mention any noticeable changes to your doctor. Dr. Glynis Ablon said it’s important to take off the fake nails and scrub off the nail polish to check on your fingernails regularly.


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