7 Ways Your Fingernails Can Tell You If You Have a Heart Condition

| Well Being

Most of us think our fingernails are just for show, but what if they had something to tell us about our health? Research shows that the health of our nails can actually reveal a great deal about our overall vitality. Traumas like illness, surgery, stressful life events, and nutritional deficiencies can affect our nail health and growth in a variety of different ways. One of the most impactful ways our nails can alert us to a problem with our wellbeing is when our ticker isn't ticking quite the way it should be. Keep reading to learn more about the relation between your nails and heart health!

1. Nail clubbing: Nail clubbing occurs when there are low levels of oxygen in the body. Over a series of years, the ends of the fingertips expand and the nail curves around the edges of the fingertips. This can be an indicator of cardiovascular disease.

nail clubbing

2. Spoon nails: Spoon nails, which are also commonly referred to as koilonychia, are softened nails that form a kind of spoon large enough to hold a drop or two of water. This occurs when your body absorbs too much iron from the food you consume. Among other things, this condition could be a sign of heart disease and hypothyroidism.

spoon nails

3. Pale nails: We realize most nails are fairly translucent, but incredibly pale nails may be an early symptom of heart problems. Most significantly, pale nails may indicate congestive heart failure or anemia.

pale nails

4. Terry's nails: This condition, while most commonly attributed to aging, can also be an indicator of congestive heart failure or diabetes. It presents itself as a narrow pink band at the tip of a mostly white fingernail.

terry's nails

5. Bluish nails: Nails that are tinted blue may suggest that your body is not receiving enough oxygen. Since the heart is responsible for pumping oxygen-rich cells through the body, blue nails may be a symptom of a problem with your heart.

bluish nails

6. Beau's lines: Beau's lines usually appear after injury or trauma, but they can also represent serious health problems too. Some of the most common conditions include diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, a circular disorder that impacts the blood vessels outside of the heart and the brain.

beaus lines
(Photo: Dermnet)

7. Red streaks: If you notice longitudinal, red, bloody streaks appearing under your nail, you may be suffering from splinter hemorrhages. These streaks can be an indicator of a heart infection that is negatively impacting the valves or inner lining of the heart.

red streaks

If you are experiencing any of the above conditions, remember not to panic! Sometimes these abnormalities can simply be chalked up to trauma or something like an unwholesome diet that can be easily fixed. Be sure to check with your doctor before you take any further action. For more information, check out our sources here: GreatistMayo ClinicAmerican Heart Association, and WebMD.