Preventive Maintenance: Don’t add another nail in your coffin
March 1, 2003
Your rig has a great diagnostic tool that sometimes gets taken for granted.Wondering about your RPMs? Look at your dash.Time to fuel up?Look at your dash.Overheating?You know where to look.Many roadsi...
Your rig has a great diagnostic tool that sometimes gets taken for granted.
Wondering about your RPMs? Look at your dash.
Time to fuel up?
Look at your dash.
You know where to look.
Many roadside breakdowns could be prevented by just spending a bit more time analyzing the information displayed on the gauges mounted on the dash.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a few gauges hooked up to our bodies!
Well actually, we have 10 within reach – our fingernails!
Fingernail analysis can help diagnose many serious illnesses.
But first, let’s talk a little about fingernails, themselves.
They begin as soft gel-like cells. When they die, they harden, become tightly packed and grow out from the nailbed.
They even come with their own protection – the cuticle over the sensitive skin at the base of the nail protects it from injury, dirt, irritants, and infection.
Because fingernails have such a small amount of water in them, they are one of the toughest tissues in our body (on the same level as bones and teeth).
But of these hard substances, only fingernails become softer when soaked in water because they absorb some of the moisture.
Fingernails grow about four times as fast as toenails (which is great because we don’t have to bend over to cut fingernails).
It’s strange, but longer fingers grow nails quicker than short fingers.
Another strange fact is that nails grow faster in the summer than winter.
And even stranger – whether you’re right handed, or you’re left-handed – your nails grow faster on that hand!
Now that we know a little about nails … let’s see what they tell us about our health.
Take a minute to look at the 10 health gauges at the tip of the fingers and see what they’re trying to tell you.
We’ll look at nine signs that should point you to your doctor’s office:
Spoon Nails: A nail that seems flat, or spoonlike and sunken, rather than rounded could indicate anemia, lack or iron in your diet, syphilis, rheumatic fever, or a problem with your thyroid.
Clubbed Nails: A nail with an extreme upward curve which then curls around the fingertip is a sign of emphysema, TB, cardiovascular disease, or colitis.
Beau’s Lines: If there’s an indented furrow that runs parallel to the tip of your nail, it indicates that either malnutriton, or serious illness has interfered with the growth of your nail.
Some possible causes could be: mumps, measles, heart attack, and carpal-tunnel syndrome.
Lindsay’s Nails (also called half-and-half nails): If the top of your nail by the tip looks pink or brown but the half closer to the cuticle looks white, you may be suffering from chronic kidney failure.
Blue Moon Nails: If there’s a blue tint to the lunula at the base of your nail, you may have heart disease, or impaired circulation.
Yellow Nail Syndrome Nails: If your nails grow very slowly, get very thick and hard, and become a yellow, or yellow-green color, you may have chronic respiratory, thyroid or lymphatic diseases.
Splinter Hemorhage Nails: If your nails have red streaks running from the tip to the nailbed, watch for high blood pressure, psoriasis, or an infection of the lining of your heart.
Brown or Black Discolored Nails: If you see a dark patch, or a collection of small dark freckles that run from your nail into the skin around your nail, you need to get checked out ASAP.
This may be cancer. (This is does not apply if you recently slammed your finger in the door, or otherwise bruised your nailbed.)
Remember: healthy nails are fairly smooth and appear pink. Take a good look at yours. If they point to a problem – schedule a check-up.
Make good use of the 10 great diagnostic tools found at your fingertips!
– Karen Bowen is a professional health and nutrition consultant and she can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.