Your Nails Tell You About Your Blood Circulation and Overall Health
By Dr. Ben
about 6 months for the average adult to grow a complete fingernail.
In contrast, it takes about 18 months to grow a complete toenail.
are plenty of reasons why your toenails grow at a slower clip than
your fingernails do, the main one being that your toenails are further
away from your heart, and therefore receive less overall and quality
blood supply - I mentioned this earlier in a post on how
to promote good blood circulation in your legs and feet.
nails actually serve a number of helpful functions, the most obvious
ability to work with small objects, like when you're peeling an
orange, tying or untying a knot, or working at removing a sliver
from your skin.
ability to get a sense of an object's weight and texture; when your
fingers or toes touch an object, sensory receptors in your nails
register a change in resistance, and the degree of change in resistance
is what gives your brain an idea of the weight and texture of the
object that you are touching.
nails also provide a quick look at your overall health status. A simple
test that I do during every comprehensive patient evaluation is the
capillary refill test, performed by pressing down
on a person's fingernail, maintaining this pressure until blood circulation
is compromised enough to turn the nail white, and then releasing the
nail and observing the length of time that's required for the nail
to fill up with blood and turn a healthy pink again.
circulation is reasonably strong, a person's nail should turn pink
within 2 seconds or less. If blood circulation is compromised, capillary
refill time increases.
nails are yellow, hard, and curved, this may be indicative of significant
lung disease or congestion within the lymphatic system.
spoon-shaped or ridged nails may be a sign of anemia that is caused
by being deficient in iron.
splinter-like lesions may indicate heart or lung disease.
that appear to be lifting off or separating from the nail bed is often
a sign of a hyperactive thyroid gland.
and brittle nails in the hands and feet may simply be a sign of malnutrition
- my experience has been that this is common among strict vegans who
don't get enough healthy fat, healthy protein, and certain minerals
from their diet.
You Shouldn't Chew on Your Nails
note about your nails: it's best to avoid the habit of biting on your
nails or cuticles - doing so can transfer bacteria from your mouth
to the rich supply of blood that exists under your nails.
is more dangerous than you'd think, since the lack of fatty tissue
between your nails and the underlying bones (phalanges) makes these
bones quite susceptible to getting infected.
subcutaneous layer of tissue that exists under your skin throughout
most of the rest of your body provides a layer of protection against
bone infections by common bacteria like streptococci and staphylococci.
reason, if your work requires handling of raw meat, it's best that
you wear gloves while you work to reduce the risk of infection.
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