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Ridges can signify a possible infection such as the flu.
Beau's lines — Transverse depressions. Occurs when growth at the nail root (matrix) is interrupted by any severe acute illness e.g. heart attack, measles, pneumonia, or fever. These lines emerge from under the nail folds weeks later, and allow us to estimate when the patient was sick.
Clubbing of the fingers — fingertips widen and become round. Nails curve around your fingertips, more convex. Proximal nail fold feels spongy. Caused by enlargement in connective tissue as compensation for a chronic lack of oxygen. e.g. severe emphysema Lung disease is present in 80 percent of people who have clubbed fingers. It may also appear in chronic infections especially abscesses, lung cancer, chronic lung (chronic bronchitis, emphysema) and heart disease, longstanding TB, congenital heart disease, cyanotic, primary biliary cirrhosis.
Lifting of the nail from the nail bed. Causes: trauma, psoriasis, drug reactions, bacterial/fungal infection, contact dermatitis from using nail hardeners, thyroid disease, iron deficiency anemia or syphilis.
Thickening of the nail. Either congenital (e.g. Mal de Meleda) or acquired - The nail becomes deformed with claw like appearance. Causes: Not cutting the nails, trauma, Leprosy, peripheral vascular disorders.
Half-and-Half (Lindsay's nails) — Look for an arc of brownish discoloration. May occur in a small percentage of people who have kidney failure. Internal diseases and nutritional deficits can cause changes in the appearance of the nails.
Inflammation of the nail folds, which appear red, swollen and tender. The cuticle may not be visible. Causes: fungal infection, secondary bacterial infection, people who’s hands are often in water are more susceptible.
Looks like a splinter underneath the nail, virtually 100% diagnostic of Sub-acute Bacterial Endocarditis (SBE) . A bacterial infection affecting the valves of the heart. Occasionally caused by Trichinosis, a parasitic infection caused by eating raw or undercooked Pork.
Yellow nail syndrome is characterized by yellow or green nails that lack a cuticle, grow slowly, and are loose or detached (onycholysis). May be associated with swelling of the hands and feet (lymphoedema), or a lung diseases e.g. chronic bronchitis. Yellow nails can indicate internal disorders long before other symptoms appear. Some of these are problems with the lymphatic system, respiratory disorders, diabetes, and liver disorders.