Nail changes: 9 diseases you can recognize from your fingernails

Did you know that your fingernails are the mirror of your health? If you interpret the condition of your nails correctly, you can better prevent many diseases. We tell you what changes in your nails can tell you about your health.


A person’s state of health is not only reflected in the condition of their skin and hair. Also the

say a lot about how we feel. Healthy nails are usually about 0.5 millimeters thick and slightly curved. A nail should be firm but still flexible and have an even surface. Deviations in the fingernails can indicate diseases. If you know how to interpret nail changes correctly, you can take better preventive measures.

1.Brittle Nails

If nails are constantly depleted of fat, they become brittle. This can be caused by frequent hand washing, aggressive cleaning products, and nail polish removers containing high levels of acetone. Brittle nails can also be a sign of hormonal disorders, diabetes, hypothyroidism, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis.

2.White Patches

It is often said that white spots on the fingernails indicate a lack of calcium, protein, or iron and are a sign of poor nutrition. In fact, white patches are damage to the nail caused by injuries to the soft nail root but have no organic cause.

3.Transverse Grooves

Cross grooves can also be caused by injuries to the nail root, but often have physical causes. They can indicate infections in the body such as flu or measles in children. Gastrointestinal disorders can also cause these nail changes. Frequent diets, emotional crises, and the use of medication can also make themselves felt in the form of transverse grooves. If they appear on all fingers, however, this can also indicate serious illnesses such as high fever or a heart attack.

4.Longitudinal Grooves

If you have always had longitudinal grooves on your nails, this structure is inherent and normal. In general, longitudinal grooves do not indicate an illness, but they can be caused by a permanent lack of fluids.

5.Dry Cuticles

Dry cuticles can also be an indication of dehydration. If the cuticles are dry, one should make sure to drink enough and additionally care for the skin with rich nail oil.

deep longitudinal splits
Deep longitudinal splits can be an indication of a lack of blood supply to the base of the nail. They are also associated with arthritis and genetic psoriasis.

6.Watch Glass Nail

If the nails are larger, more rounded, and strongly curved outwards, they are called clock glass nails. There are no external causes for this deformity. It is most often seen in people with cystic fibrosis as well as Eisenmenger’s reaction, but it can also indicate heart problems, emphysema, asthma, hardening of the liver, worn-out blood vessels, or chronic lack of oxygen in the tissues. Anyone who notices this change in one or more fingers should see an internist.

7.Spoon Nail

If the bed of nails suddenly sinks into the fingertip as if someone had pressed a spoon into it, in most cases it is due to a softening of the horn substance. This nail condition is often caused by cleaning agents and aggressive substances. Physical reasons for spoon nails can be iron deficiency, thyroid problems, or anemia.


Smokers are often recognised by their discoloured nails. Nail polish can also cause yellowish discolouration, which may be an aesthetic problem but is no cause for alarm. Whitish, pale-looking nails, on the other hand, can be a sign of anaemia. Bluish discoloured fingernails indicate heart or lung disease.

9.Black Spots

Anyone who has ever injured one of their nails with a hammer knows that bruising under the nail manifests itself in the form of painful, dark spots. However, anyone who develops such a spot for no reason should consult a dermatologist: This change in the nail can be an indication of weak skin cancer.

Extra tip: Vitamins A and H (biotin), calcium and iron are important for strong nail growth.


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