Fingernails are a window to your health

FRESNO, Calif.

42-year-old Alex Hewett is a mother of two boys, but this busy mom also tries to find time to take care of herself. "I just think that you've been given this vessel, your body and you need to take care of it and polishing your nails is just like having your shoes polished."

Alex gets manicures and pedicures twice a month. But she recently noticed a change in her nails that made her worry. "When I take off my nail polish, I tend to have yellowish discoloration."

Yellowish nails can reveal lung problems. Half white, half pink nails could be a sign of kidney disease. Red nail beds could be a sign of heart disease. Pale or white nail beds, anemia.

Vivian Young is a board-certified nurse practitioner in dermatology. She treats patients with nail problems at the Northeast Fresno office of Dr. Jane Kardashian.

Young says once she detects a suspicious spot or change in a patient's fingernails, she looks, even deeper. "We can start doing more investigation on the nail, asking questions about what's going on with their body and maybe doing blood work to figure out if there's an internal issue going on."

Your fingernails aren't the only windows to your health. Your toenails could also reveal a cause for concern. Many women who come into a dermatologist's office are asked to come without polish on their toes because a new mole underneath the nail could indicate something as serious as cancer.

Young said, "That can be a regular mole or something as deadly as melanoma so it's very important to have any new spots or spots that are changing on the nail bed or nail plate to be checked out."

While dark, long uniform bands are common in people with darker complexions. Melanoma can show up as a pigment change at the cuticle. Nails separating from the nail bed, could indicate the skin condition, psoriasis.

57-year-old Karan Powell had dry nails and broken cuticles. But once she was treated for an adrenal gland disorder her nails and her health, improved. "By taking the calcium and various vitamins my nails are super strong."

Doctors say check your nails on a regular basis for a glimpse of your health, right at your fingertips.

Dermatologists say, fingernails grow, 3-millimeters every month. So by simply measuring a mark or discoloration on the nails, a doctor can actually pinpoint the time when a patient developed a certain health condition.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.