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Your fingernails may be the last place you look when determining the state of your health, but don’t be quick to underestimate them. When it comes to your nails, what you see is very well what you get, and their condition can be an indicator of what is happening in your body on a deeper level. From nutritional deficiencies to diseases as serious as melanoma, the following eight fingernail conditions could indicate health issues and may help you make appropriate changes to your lifestyle.

Healthy nails have a rosy pink tint and a smooth texture. Any other shade or texture could indicate a nutritional deficiency, fungal infection, liver disorder, or other serious health problems. If you notice any of the following changes to your nails, don’t ignore them. Wipe off that layer of colorful polish every once in a while and take heed!

1. Pale Nails

Pale nails look lackluster and drained of color and life. If you notice your nails have turned pale, this may point to anemia, which is commonly caused by an iron deficiency. Increase your intake of iron-rich foods, such as kale and spinach, whole grains, beans, fish, meat and tofu.

2. White Nails

White nails with darker rims indicate the possibility of liver or kidney problems.

3. Yellow Nails

The most likely cause of yellow-tinted nails is smoking or excessive polishing. A more serious indication could be a fungal infection.   

4. Bluish Nails

Nails that are blue could mean circulation is poor and your nails are not getting enough oxygen. This could simply mean you’re body is chilly or, more seriously, point to a lung infection or heart problems.

5. Rippled Nails

If waves and areas with rippling appear on your nails, you could be suffering from psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis.

6. Cracked or split nails

Nails that are cracked or split aggressively without an accident to explain it may indicate an underlying medical condition, such as thyroid disease.

7. Puffy Nail fold

When the area surrounding your nail is puffy, red and easily irritated, inflammation is the probable cause. Lupus or connective tissue disorders may also be the reason.

8. Dark lines

If you ever encounter a dark spot or line under your nail, consult a doctor immediately, as it could be a sign of a cancer that is common and often hard-to-detect – melanoma.

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