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7 common nail conditions and their causes

Have you ever noticed white spots or lines on your nails, and just ignored it? well you shouldn’t. These conditions can go from minor issues to major health problems. Abnormal looking nails are a source for concern and may occur either as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle or a poor diet.

Here are seven common nail conditions and their causes.

1. Spoon nails

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Spoon nails (koilonychia) are soft nails that look scooped out. This nail shape is more frequently seen in young children as the nails are soft and thin. However, when it is seen on adults, they are a sign of iron deficiency anemia or a liver condition known as hemochromatosis, in which the body absorbs too much iron from the food you eat.

2. White spots

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white spots on nails are caused by small air bubbles that have become trapped between layers of nail tissue. The white markings on the nail also tend to be the result of injury or trauma and and have no serious health implications. More so, they usually grow out on their own.

3. Brittle nails

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Brittle can be categorized into two types, namely dry and brittle or soft and brittle. Dry and brittle nails are the result of too little moisture, commonly caused by the repeated washing and drying of fingernails. while soft and brittle nails are caused by too much moisture, often a result of overexposure to detergents, household cleaners, and nail polish remover.

Brittle nails can come up as result of old age, fatigue and illnesses, and the absence of some essential minerals like iron, calcium, iodine, and magnesium.

4. Nail ridges

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Nail ridges are often normal signs of aging, but in severe cases, they may indicate health problems like skin disorders, vitamin deficiencies or diabetes. Ridges may sometimes also be caused by a lack of the mineral sulphur in your diet. Mineral sulphur can be found in protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, eggs and milk.

5. Nail separation

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Separation of the nail from the nail bed (onycholysis), is a common condition that begins at the edge of the nail and progresses towards the cuticle. The nail appears white-yellow because air has become trapped in the layer between the nail plate and the nail bed itself. Nail separation can be caused by trauma or a fungal infection of the nails. Other causes include medication such as tetracycline antibiotics, sunlight, thyroid problems.

6. Soft peeling nails

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Soft nails which bend easily, peel or tear can occur as a result of be caused by soaking in water while performing things like household chores or exposure to certain chemicals like detergents or solvents. Soft nails can also be caused by prescription medicine or by lack of sleep, exercise and an unhealthy diet.

7. Nail thickening

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Nail thickening, medically known as Onychogryphosis is a thickening and hardening of the nail plate, with the big toenail, usually in a ram’s horn shape. This condition typically affects the elderly as they grow older however, they might sometimes indicate a fungal infection, Left untreated, they can become painful.

Written by Emeka Nweze

Content writer and contributor.

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