Nails: the signs that should worry you

Nails help us to grip objects and protect our fingers. Their health is therefore important for the actions of our everyday life. Their appearance also implies our social life as sick nails can make it difficult. Thus three doctors were able to illuminate Medisite on the visible signs that must worry us.

Colorful tasks

Fading or changing the color of the nail are two of the most common signs when the nail is in poor health. Bluish coloration under the nail, reddish spots, a very white color on the top of the nail, can hide some diseases.

According to Philippe Presles, a general practitioner, "too-pale nails are usually associated with liver disease, anemia, heart problems or kidney failure, and in less developed countries this may reflect a deficiency in vitamins C ".

A hematoma is often the first cause that can make the nails blue. However, if the dark spot does not change over time it may be melanoma. In this case, it will be necessary to consult a doctor quickly in order to make more in-depth examinations. "Respiratory failure is also one of the factors of this color on the nails," adds our expert. The blood does not circulate well enough and the level of oxygenation of the blood drops to the fingertips.

The yellow color on the nails may show a sign of "inflammation of the thyroid gland, skin infection such as psoriasis, diabetes, fungal infection (mycosis), or lung disease such as bronchitis ", explains our doctor. If the nails get thicker and grow more slowly, it is strongly recommended that you make an appointment with your doctor.

The small reddish spots with fatigue define a heart abnormality in people with heart problems. The use of syringes contaminated with bacteria for intravenous injections is also a risk factor.

Nails that take off: attention mycosis!

One or more nails that come off are mostly the signs of nail fungus. Scientifically called onychomycosis, it is an infectious pathology due to the presence of parasitic fungus, the dermatophyte.

A fungus can be "painless but can be noticed via a nail thicker than usual, a yellowish color, a crumbling fingernail".

It is important not to wait for the condition of the nail to deteriorate. A fungus that is not neat will eventually drop the nails and spread on other nails. "If the fungus manages to attack the cells of the matrix, which are above the base of the nail, the consequences will be almost irreversible", says Dr. Claudel, dermatologist.

Fungus represents 50% of cases of nail diseases and affects 6 million French per year. "Onycholysis, a form of mycosis that is characterized by the gradual detachment of the nail," reports our dermatologist. It is a pathology that can come from several factors: manicures too aggressive on the nails, very corrosive chemicals, the presence of psoriasis, eczema or cancer.

Intense pain

Pain in one or more nails can be caused by various infections. For Dr. Philippe Presles "the pain is often pulsating, which follows the pulse around the nail, when it is at the toes, the pain increases with walking and evolves quickly.It is usually accompanied by redness, a sensation of warmth, swelling and, sometimes, a flow of pus ".

The ingrown toenail that is infected is the most common cause at dermatologist appointments.

The infection comes when you cut the nail too short. "The presence of a foreign body, such as a grain of sand, or because of too tight shoes which, by crushing a part of the skin against the nail, makes it penetrates into the flesh" and promote infection, he adds.

A superficial cut or a trivial insect bite can result in a paronychia. These small wounds heal most of the time without any complications, but it can happen that a bacterium, most often Staphylococcus aureus, develops under the skin. In this case, the finger becomes red and swollen in the hours following the injury, and a sharp pain can be felt. The paronychia are usually located around the finger nails and must be treated quickly to prevent spread of infection and the formation of an abscess and a pocket of pus

Nail biting is a bad habit that can make your nails and fingers very painful. Onychophagia, related to stress or anxiety, increases the risk of infections due to lack of hygiene of the gesture. "Putting your hands in your mouth and vice versa will only aggravate the problem," concludes our GP.

Presence of small holes = a risk of psoriasis

Some generalized diseases such as psoriasis can cause small holes in the surface of the nail. Psoriasis is a common skin disease that affects about 2% of the population. The essential cause of this pathology remains for the moment unknown.

Nevertheless, we recognize several factors that can influence the occurrence of psoriasis: heredity, inflammatory skin phenomena related to an immunological reaction of the body of the patient (especially during infections), stress, and some drugs (anti -hypertensives and antidepressants).

Nail damage is common and is manifested by small depressions on the surface of the nail and sometimes by thickening of the skin at the end of the nail. Finally, psoriasis can much more rarely be characterized by the appearance of small lesions filled with whitish purulent fluid.

Too fine nails

Poor health can result in different symptoms. Too thin and brittle nails can alert you. These signs are mostly related to genetic causes or calcium deficiency. "A disorder of the thyroid that plays a role in the regulation of metabolism, energy and growth can make the nails thin and extremely fragile," says Dr. Claudel. This dysfunction will lead to slower growth of the nails or even detachment of the nail from the skin.

The appearance of very fine nails is often the announcement of the arrival of menopause. Around 50 years in women, the production of hormones decreases, the nails are less hydrated and then more fragile.

Maintain your nails

For Dr. Hill-Sylvestre, dermatologist, the "natural Marseille soap is recommended with a brushing of the nails.Application of a biological care like vegetable oil will allow to maintain them well".

Special foot care tips: use lemon essential oil, tea tree, or niaouli. "Put a drop of your choice in your cream or oil, the day of foot care will strengthen your onles".

Remember before each treatment to brush well, cut the nails and dry well between toes. To avoid any infections, it is essential to cut his nails straight and not to round them. Finally, filing his nails will prevent any thickening.

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