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Oct 7, 2010

Instead of Palmistry, healthy Living reads your nails

Fingernails and their appearance are mostly considered for beauty enhancement. But what you may not know is that your nails can also give you clues to your overall health. Tonight on Healthy Living, You’ll find out why it is useful to pay attention to what your hands have to say.

Marleni Cuellar

For women, they serve as a canvas for nail polish art, for men it is a showcase of being well groomed. Its bodily function is to protect the nerve endings on the fingertips; but beyond protection and beauty, fingernails can be a window to your health. According to Dermatologist, Dr Yisela Flores, to a trained eye, the appearance of your nails is indicative of your health.

Doctor Yisela Flores, Dermatologist

dr yisela flores

“When we have the normal nails we have to see what is the color. Healthy nails have the very clear color. No inflammatory problems around and no any kind of superficial areas, no pits no lines nothing like that. Very, very clear.”

The problems associated with fingernails can have several causes from infections to serious internal conditions. Changes in the nail color and texture as well as inflammation or swelling are the obvious symptoms.

Dr. Yisela Flores

“In these cases we have different causes for the problem. For example the infections problem with a bacteria infection we can find the staphylococcus problem Pseudomonas problems too. The viral infection is a herpes type 1 and that produces an inflammatory problem and we call it panadizo herpetico and the other common problem is the fungal infection. With the fungal infection we have two types. The candida albicans in these cases the patients present a dark color too it’s a green or a black color. And the tricofitum present a yellow or white color and usually this kind of infection usually start in the distal part of the nail and if the patient doesn’t get the correct treatment the nail can be destroyed.”

The bacterial, viral and fungal infections are all treatable with oral and topical medication. The worst case scenario if left untreated is for permanent nail deformities or loss of the nail with a special exception for fungal infections.

Dr. Yisela Flores

“The fungus is a contagious problem. If you get the infection in one nail only is a time that you infect the other one, with your hands then easily it can continue on your toenails you can get the corporal fungal infections too.”

The type of work and conditions you work in can be a main factor in developing these types of infections.

Dr. Yisela Flores

“With the bacterial infection, only with a microscopic wound a patient can get these kinds of problems.  Or depends what time of work the patients have. For example the housekeeper, the housewife, and the humidity they very easily get this kind of infection and also with the fungal infection. When the person has a fungus; it’s very important to ask about the humidity but usually it has relation with the type of work. The other causes we have it as systemic causes. Systemic causes may show anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency and iron deficiency. In those cases the patient would present a pale color on the bed nail or when has a B12 deficiency can present a dark color too.”

Other warning signs in the nails and possible indicators include:

White nails

Yellowish, thickened, slow growing nails

Yellowish nails with a slight blue base

Half-white or half-pink nails

Red nail beds

Paler or white nails beds

Pitting or rippling of the nail surface

Enlarged or Increase in tissue on fingertips

Irregular lines at the base of nail fold

Dark line beneath the nails can be an indicator as well for melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

Dr. Yisela Flores

“When we have a melanoma we have to know the difference between melanoma or a simple hemorrhage from trauma—just a bruise. In this instance what helps us a lot is the dermatoscopy. This is a special study and we can see the pigment. And really help us a lot and give us very important information for the differential diagnosis.”

Doctor Flores explained of cases where she referred patients to specialists as a result of recognizing changes in the nails and had serious conditions confirmed. While, the changes are not a diagnosis they do offer clues.  This gives us all the more reason to take care of your nails and pay close attention to what they may be saying.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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