Tender Loving Care for a Healthier You
Your state of health may be reflected by your hair and nails.
A Window on Health
Some diseases and serious conditions can be detected by changes in the nails. Common health conditions and their effect on nails include:
CONDITION NAIL APPEARANCE Liver Diseases White nails Kidney Diseases Upper half of nail is pink or brown, lower half is white Heart Conditions Nail bed is red Lung Diseases Yellow nails, slowed growth rate; abnormally curved and shiny Anemia Pale nail beds; spoon-shaped Diabetes Yellowish nails, with slight reddening at the base
Nail Care Tips
Many nail disorders result from poor nail care. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends the following tips to help keep nails healthy:
1. Keep nails clean and dry to prevent bacteria from collecting under the nail.
2. Soak thick toenails in warm salt water for ten minutes and apply a 10 percent urea cream (available at drug stores without a prescription). Trim as usual.
3. Cut nails straight across and round slightly at the tip for maximum strength.
4. Use a fine-textured file to keep nails free of snags.
5. Avoid biting fingernails.
6. Seek treatment from a dermatologist for sore ingrown toenails.
The Nail File
Nails are composed of a hardened protein called keratin, a substance also found in the skin and hair. A fingernail or toenail consists of these parts:
Nail Plate: The visible part of the nail on fingers and toes; composed of keratin
Nail Bed: The skin beneath the nail plate
Nail Root: The area under the cuticle, the hidden part of the nail unit where growth takes place
Lunula: Crescent-shaped white area at the base of the nail, usually most pronounced on the thumb
Cuticle: Thin tissue that overlaps the nail plate and rims the base of the nail
Nail Folds: The folds of skin that frame and support the nail on three sides
Felon: An infection around the nail. …