Fingernails can actually tell you a lot about your health. A normal healthy nail should be smooth and have a consistent color. As you get older your nails may become more brittle or can develop vertical ridges. These are really nothing to worry about, however there are some abnormalities that may warrant a closer look.
If your nails are mostly white, but have darker rims it could indicate that there is something wrong with your liver. Your nails may also appear yellow, which is a sign of jaundice. If your nails are very pale it could indicate that you have anemia, malnutrition, congestive heart failure, or another type of serious disease.
If your nails have white dots that appear on them this is often called milk spots. Typically these spots are benign, but in some cases it could indicate an underlying disease.
If your nails are yellow, thick, and grow slowly it is typically a sign that you have a fungal infection. When the infection gets worse the nail bed could retract and may detach from the bed in places.
Yellow nails can also be a sign of a respiratory infection. In some cases yellow nails may indicate a condition that is more serious such as lung disease, diabetes or thyroid disease.
If your nails are blue it can be a symptom of another disorders manifesting and certainly worthy of further investigation.
Sometimes nails will turn blue when cold, but they should return to their normal color when temperature reaches normal levels. Fingernails may also turn blue due to low hemoglobin levels.
Green nails are often the result of an infection caused by the environment. A person with a low immune system may be susceptible to this type of infection.
Small holes in your nails may be a sign of psoriasis, an autoimmune disease called alopecia areata or even connective tissue disorders.
Ridges may appear vertically or horizontally. Vertical ridges are often a sign of nutritional issues. Horizontal ridges are often associated with liver disease, diabetes, or other chronic illnesses. Damage to the nails can cause ridges as well. As mentioned, some ridges are simply a sign of aging and nothing to really worry about. However, if you are noticing other health issues you should see your doctor to determine the true nature of symptoms.
Overall your nails offer some very accurate signs to the state of your health. If your nails are smooth and pinkish in color they are normal and showing no signs of underlying illness. However, if your nails are rough, have pits, or are a different color than normal, it could be a sign of other illness which should not be ignored.