The Doctors: Five Health Clues From Your Nails
Dermatologist Dr. Glynis Ablon joined The Doctors TV show to share five health hints your nails could be giving you. Dr. Travis Stork said that many times people just look at their nails and wonder what color to paint them, but your nails actually reveal a lot of systemic diseases.
The Doctors: Hard, Yellow Nails Can Mean Lung Problems
The first health clue is a yellow nail, and Dr. Andrew Ordon said that they weren’t talking about using the wrong nail polish color. He said that when all your nails are yellowed, you lose the lunula which is the white half-moon part at the bottom of your nails.
Dr. Ablon said that all of the nails will also be thickened, but this is not a fungus. It can be from yellow nail syndrome, which will include fluid around the lungs, lymphedema and yellowed nails.
After inspecting my nails, I don’t have a lunula on my two pinky nails or my left ring finger. Do you have your lunulas?
The Doctors: Beau’s Lines and Illnesses
The next heath clue is the appearance of Beau’s Lines. A Beau’s Line is a horizontal crease across the nail, and it can be single or multiple. It infects the nail bed itself and is associated with a specific illness.
Dr. Ablon said that her mom currently has Beau’s Lines and recently suffered from meningitis. She said that being extremely ill affects the growth of your nails, so you can see when exactly you were sick based on the Beau’s Lines in your nails.
She said that it takes about three to four months to grow out a nail, and protein deficiencies and zinc deficiencies can lead to the lines.
The Doctors: Mees’ Lines and Congestive Heart Failure
The Drs. then talked about Mees’ Lines. These are also horizontal lines that can be single or multiple, and they’re a milky white color. Instead of involving the nail bed, they affect the nail itself.
Usually it happens in more than one nail. Dr. Ablon said that this is seen in patients with congestive heart failure and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Chemotherapy can also cause both Beau’s and Mees’ Lines.
The Doctors: Bacterial Endocarditis Causes Splinter Hemorrhages
Next up was the splinter hemorrhage, and melanoma. Splinter hemorrhages are typically seen in more than one nail. They can have streaks or be brownish in color, and can mimic a melanoma. They’re more vertical and look like a splinter under your nail.
Bacterial Endocarditis can cause splinter hemorrhages, and they’re something that usually go away after a disease is controlled. Dr. Travis Stork said that Bacterial Endocarditis is when you have bacterial vegetation growing in your heart valves, and you could have it without knowing it.
Bacterial Endocarditis will spit out mini clots, and that’s where you get the splinter hemorrhage from.
The Doctors: How to Prevent Melanoma in Nails
Dr. Ablon said that when she sees a pigmented lesion, she looks at the Hutchinson’s sign. The Hutchinson’s sign is the proximal nail fold, and if she sees any pigment, she knows she needs to do a biopsy.
Melanoma is usually a longitudinal band, and if it’s more than three millimeters or is blurred it’s something to worry about. Your big toe and your thumb are the two places where you’re most likely to see melanoma.
Bob Marley actually died from Acral Lentiginous melanoma that was under his toenail. Dr. Ablon said that nail polish is a great idea to protect your nails from letting the sun get in there. Ladies, take this news to your husbands…I think I see some manicures in your future. Unfortunately for men, they just need to stay out of the sun to protect their nails. Find out more about melanoma in your nails in this video.