Five nail problems not to ignore

Keeping your nails healthy means they’ll always look good – but sometimes, you’ll be doing everything you can and your nails still won’t be looking their best. Here are five nail problems you should get sorted as soon as you notice them…

Brittle or crumbling nails: this can be a common sign of ageing, but it can be a symptom of other things – skin conditions, a thyroid problem or even arthritis.

Discoloured nails: while your nails can become discoloured from applying nail varnish too often, depending on the discolouration it could be a sign of something else. Yellow nails can be caused by a fungal nail infection which is easily treated, and can also be a sign of TB, sinusitis or jaundice. If your nails are a green/black colour, this is due to an overgrowth of bacteria; if they’re grey this could be a side effect of medication, whilst brown nails can come alongside pregnancy, malnutrition and thyroid problems.

Loose nails: this is common after injury, and can sometimes be caused by too many manicures – cleaning underneath the nail with a metal tool or sharp object too often. However, it can also be a sign of health problems such as sarcoidosis (clumps of cells) or a fungal nail infection.

Clubbed nails: when the tissue underneath the nails gets too thick, the fingertips themselves will become round and bulbous – the nails will then curve over the round fingers. It is often completely harmless, caused by increased blood flow to your fingertips, and it tends to run in families. But if it develops suddenly it can be a symptom of endocarditis, IBS or cirrhosis.

Pitted or dented nails: small dents and/or pitting on the nail surface can be a sign of skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, and can also be linked to certain types of arthritis or alopecia.

If you think you have any of these nail problems or any other issues, book an appointment with your GP to discuss what can be done to keep your nails healthy and at their best.

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