Did you know that the color, texture, and shape of the nails are all a window into the body? Although some nail symptoms are innocuous, others may be a sign of chronic disease, even cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “Nails often reflect our general state of health. Changes in the nail, such as discoloration or thickening, can signal health problems including liver and kidney diseases, heart and lung conditions, anemia, and diabetes.”
Even the growth of your nails may be a sign of your underlying health. Healthy nails grow up to 3.5 millimeters on a monthly basis, but factors like medications, trauma, nutritional status, and aging process have a huge effect on their growth.
In case you notice any changes in your nails, such as changes in shape and thickness, discoloration, or swelling, consult a dermatologist as soon as possible. Although the change may be harmless, sometimes something as serious as diabetes could be the cause.
10 Nail Symptoms and What They Mean for Your Health:
- Yellow Nails
There are many reasons why your nails may yellow, such as aging, smoking, and use of nail polish and acrylic nails. If they are yellow, crumbly, and thick, it is very likely that a fungal infection is the underlying cause. Although rarely, conditions like thyroid disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, and psoriasis could also be to blame.
- Dry, Cracked or Brittle Nails
Lifestyle factors play a significant role in this case, such as if you are exposed to chemicals, live in an area with low humidity, have your hands in water very often, or use nails polish remover on a regular basis. Fungal infection and thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, may also be the causes of cracking and splitting. Brittle nails may result from deficiency in biotin or vitamins A and C.
Clubbing is described as enlargement of the fingertips, accompanied with the nail becoming curved downward. It can be related to low oxygen in the blood and lung disease as well as heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, and AIDS.
- White Spots
White spots on the nails are typically sign of nail trauma. They are usually not a big deal, and tend to fade away or grow out in a while on their own. In some instances, they may indicate a fungal infection.
- Horizontal Ridges
According to John Anthony, M.D., a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio “This is typically the result of direct trauma to the nail or a more serious illness, in which case you’ll see it on more than one nail at a time … Your body is literally saying, ‘I’ve got better things to do than make nails’ and pauses their growth.” Also known as Beau`s lines, horizontal ridges may also be result of uncontrolled diabetes, zinc deficiency, circulatory disease, or psoriasis. On the other hand, another type of horizontal line called Mees` lines may be due to malaria, leprosy, carbon monoxide poisoning, arsenic poisoning, and Hodgkin`s disease.
- Vertical Ridges
Vertical ridges are most common in older individuals, as they are sign of aging and are not a cause for concern. In some cases, vertical ridges may be a sign of nutrient deficiency like deficiency in magnesium and vitamin B12.
- Spoon Nails
If the nails curve upward at the edges, resembling a spoon, it is very likely that you are deficient in iron or suffer from heart disease or hypothyroidism.
Having multiple pits on the nails is typically a sign of psoriasis. “Typically, pitting occurs in around half of people with psoriasis and 80 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis,” Chen says. Nail pitting may be also caused by connective tissue disorders or alopecia areata, the disease that causes hair loss.
- Dark Discolorations
If you notice black streaks and painful growth on the nail, consult a doctor right away as they may be due to melanoma.
- White Nails with a Strip of Pink
If your nails are white with a strip of pink, it may indicate congestive heart failure, diabetes, kidney failure, or liver disease.
Simple Nail Care Tips
- Eat a balanced, whole-food diet ( high in protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals)
- Protect the nails from excessive exposure to water or chemicals
- Minimize the use of nail polish and artificial nails
- Keep the nails trimmed relatively short
Rub some coconut oil onto the nails on a regular basis to keep them moisturized
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Man Hospitalized After Sniffing His Own Smelly Socks
A 37 year old man has been hospitalized after sniffing his own socks for a little too long. The man who has been identified only as Peng from Zhangzhou, southeast China started having chest pains and decided to head to the hospital.
On arrival he was immediately admitted as an emergency case and the doctor ordered an X-ray to determine the cause of his pain as well as the cause of a cough that he had developed.
Peng was diagnosed with a fungal infection of the lungs, and had to stay put in hospital for treatment, while doctors determined the pretty unusual cause.
After taking an oral history from Peng, the doctors discovered that his condition was most likely caused by his habit of smelling his socks after he’d been wearing them.
A fungal infection he had developed on his feet was transferred into his lungs when he sniffed his socks, inhaling some of the fungal spores as he did so.
A local newspaper, Fujian Daily,reported that Peng had revealed to the doctors that he had become “addicted” to smelling the socks he’d worn during the day.
This regular and prolonged deep sniffs of his own socks most likely allowed the fungal spores to spread into his lungs, where they developed into a fungal infection.
Speaking to the Fujian Daily, Dr Mai Zhuanying at the Zhangzhou No. 909 Hospital said, “The infection could also be attributed to the patient’s lack of rest at home as he had been looking after his child, leading to a weaker immune system.”
Peng has been kept in hospital for treatment, and doctors say that he is expected to make a full recovery.
Before you panic and rush to the hospital to tell doctors about that time you sniffed your socks to check if they were clean, this is unlikely to happen to you. A quick sniff probably won’t cause you to be hospitalized, just don’t make it a habit!
3 Activities That Can Help You Manage Arthritis Pain
Arthritis can cause substantial joint pain. Thus, patients with this condition often struggle to stay active. That’s understandable. It’s difficult to move around when your joints ache. However, if you have arthritis, it is actually very important to exercise regularly. Some experts even consider exercise to be the most effective arthritis treatment that doesn’t require patients to take drugs.
That said, you shouldn’t jump straight into a new fitness routine if you have arthritis. It may not be safe to perform certain exercises. Use direct access to physical therapy to coordinate with an expert that can help to develop a workout plan that fits your needs and abilities.
The types of activities they recommend will vary on a case-by-case basis. In general, though, the exercises will belong to one of the following categories:
Aerobic exercise is good for everyone because it promotes cardiovascular health. It’s particularly important for arthritic patients because it also promotes weight loss.
When you lose weight, the amount of stress your joints are under reduces. Staying active and adhering to a fitness plan will help you not only achieve a healthy weight, but also maintain it.
Range-of-motion exercises typically involve simple movements designed to help reduce joint stiffness. An example would be rolling your shoulders backwards repeatedly. These exercises are ideal for patients with limited mobility because they can be performed easily and anywhere.
Your muscles protect your joints. Thus, it’s very important for people with arthritis to focus on exercises that strengthen muscles.
This usually involves some form of resistance exercise, such as lifting weights or doing push-ups. Again, you shouldn’t attempt such a routine on your own without speaking with your doctor and a professional first. Lifting weights is dangerous for anyone without the proper experience and information. By coordinating with a professional, you’ll avoid injuring yourself.
You should also stick to a low-impact activities that are easier on your joints. For instance, walking or jogging is a lot better for an arthritic person than sprinting through rocky terrain.
Applying heat to your joints before working out can also help prevent stiffness later. Apply cold packs to your joints after exercising to reduce inflammation. Of course, you should also stop working out if you feel yourself getting too tired or experiencing too much pain.
That’s less likely to happen if you develop a fitness plan with expert help first. Again, exercise offers major benefits to arthritic people. You’ll get the most benefits when you work out safely.
Young Girls Who Met In Hospital Reunite For “Survivors” Photo-shoot
Two years after beating cancer, four young girls reunited for a celebratory photoshoot, and the pictures are all sorts of incredible. McKinley, Chloe, Ava, and Lauren, were all diagnosed with cancer and were treated at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.
The little girls all had different types of cancer, but they all met when being treated in the same ward. The four instantly became very close friends and spent as much time with each other as they could while going through treatments.
Lauren’s mom, Shawna Glynn, said, “She’s three years old and doesn’t have any hair, but all her friends in the hospital look the same way. So it kind of gave her some normality.”
“It was just always a breath of fresh air to see a familiar face, and to know that she wasn’t alone in there.” Another mom added.
The girls’ close relationship also helped their parents cope a little better, dealing with such a trying period in not just their kids’ lives, but theirs as well.
“From the standpoint of a mom, too, having other moms to relate to has been phenomenal. Just to have other people going through it at the same time as us.” Karen Moore, McKinley’s mom said.
“It gives me chills, it makes me want to cry. I mean, I love these kids as if they were my own, for sure. They’re awesome.” Paige Ward, a nurse at Johns Hopkins who took care of all the girls explained.
They may be just little girls, but the hurdles they have been able to overcome at such tender ages are incredibly amazing. What’s even more special about their story, is the beautiful friendship they have all been able to build while fighting such tough battles.
The girls have all beaten cancer, with Lauren finishing her treatment not too long ago and set to start kindergarten soon. The girls are also happy that they now have their long hair back as well and are planning to have their reunions every year.
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