• Mayo Clinic Minute

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Fingernails are clues to your health

Psoriasis can affect fingernails and toenails, causing pitting, abnormal growth and discoloration.

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month. And experts at Mayo Clinic say it's important to keep an eye on your nails, as they can provide clues to your overall health.

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Many people develop lines or ridges from the cuticle to the tip. Dr. Rachel Miest, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist, says that the ridges are actually completely fine and just a part of normal aging. But there are other nail changes you should not ignore that may indicate liver or kidney problems, nutritional deficiencies and other issues.

Here are six examples:

  1. Pitting
    This could be a sign of psoriasis.
  2. Clubbing
    Clubbing happens when your oxygen is low and could be a sign of lung issues.
  3. Spooning
    It can happen if you have iron-deficient anemia or liver disease.
  4. "A Beau’s line"
    It’s a horizontal line that indicates a previous injury or infection.
  5. Nail separation
    This may happen as a result of injury, infection or medication.
  6. Yellowing of the nails
    This may be the result of chronic bronchitis.

"The fingernails are absolutely a wonderful reflection of a person’s overall health," says Dr. Miest.

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