FHF Optimyz December 2023 DigestionWestin Nova Scotian Wellness

5 health warnings from your nails

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Have you been listening your own nails’ advice? Abnormal nail traits can have many causes, from direct trauma to a deeper underlying issue.

Speak with your physician if you have any of these abnormalities or would like to learn how your nails can help determine your overall health.

Signs of fingernail health


Pitting of the nails is most commonly associated with psoriasis (with 10% to 50% of patients having this trait). Nails that are concave and spoon-like (Koilonychia) can be a sign of anemia or even iron surplus.

Splinter hemorrhages

These reddish, brown splinter-like lines underneath your nails may be caused by tiny damaged blood vessels beneath the nail. They can also be a serious sign of endocarditis, an infection of the valves in the heart.

Inflamed nail beds

Known medically as Paronychia, red, swollen and painful nail beds caused by infection or irritation to the nail can last for days at a time (Acute Paronychia) to more than six months (Chronic Paronychia). It is three times more common in women than in men.


Yellowish discolouration in nails is most likely caused by frequent nail varnish usage. However, it is also commonly associated with fungal infections or potentially jaundice, which may indicate liver issues.

Loose nails

It is not uncommon for a nail (especially toe- nails) to become loose after injury and sometimes even fall off. However, loose nails generally occur when the nail is over groomed or sharp objects are used in grooming. It can also be caused by allergic reactions to cosmetics or poor circulation, as in Raynaud’s disease.

More Inspiration: Check out the 2020 Top 100 Health Influencers across Canada right here.


  • Alex Hurst is a writer for HUM@Nmedia covering Optimyz and Silver magazines in print and digital editions and is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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