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Nails

Nails

Nails

Nails emerge from the epidermal layer of the skin at the fingertips. These are made up of the protein called keratin, which is the same protein that constructs our hair. The nail has three main parts, namely, the nail plate, nail bed and nail matrix. The nail plate is the hard flat part which we commonly call just ‘nail’. It stays attached to the fingertip by a thin layer of skin called the cuticle. The nail bed sits below this plate, made up of soft skin. The upper layer of this skin stays attached to the nail plate firmly. The portion of the nail bed which remains hidden at the base of the plate is called the nail matrix. This matrix has blood vessels and nerves, which aids the nail plate in growing.

As the nail plate keeps growing, the newer portion emerging from the matrix pushes out the older cells outwards forming the free edge of the plate, which most women decorate, shape and paint for ornamental purposes. On looking closely, the plate has a small semi-circular white portion at the base, which is called lúnula. The lunula is that part of the nail matrix which is visible. At the underside of the nails, there’s a thin layer of skin which seals off the nail bed from the external environment. This skin is called hyponychium. Nails help in the precise movements of the fingertips, like playing the guitar. Also, helps in scraping, pinching or holding very minute or fine objects.

The list of ailments that come under Nails are:

  • Fungal infection, nail (See: Nail fungus)
    Nail fungus
    Onychomycosis (See: Nail fungus)

Hypothesis

A healthy nail is naturally light-pink in colour and smooth in texture. Ageing causes ridges and brittleness in nails, which is natural and doesn’t require medical attention. Viral and bacterial infections and chemotherapy can cause disfigurement of the nails.

There are other medical conditions which can also change the appearance of one’s nails. Some of the common ailments of the nails are namely, Beau’s line, Clubbing, Koilonychia, Onycholysis and Yellow Nail Syndrome. An overview of these diseases are as follows:

Beau’s line: These refer to depressions that run across one’s fingernails. This can be a sign of malnourishment or deficiency of zinc in the body. Diseases which cause a high fever like measles and mumps can also be a cause. It can also be an aftermath of pneumonia or uncontrolled diabetes.

Clubbing: This results in the nails getting thick and curved around the fingertips. It occurs gradually, over many years, and is a sign of low oxygen in the blood. It may even point towards underlying diseases like cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases and liver diseases.

Koilonychia: This condition results in deep depressions on the nails, causing them to scoop up like a spoon. People affected by iron deficiency anaemia, heart disease, hypothyroidism and hemochromatosis (a liver disease causing excess absorption of iron from the food) have a possibility of developing these.

Onycholysis: It’s the occurrence of white patches on the nail plate, because of getting detached from the nail bed. It can happen due to infection, injuries, psoriasis and thyroid disease.

Yellow Nail Syndrome: The nails get thicker, turn yellowish and grow at a slower pace than usual. Nails can even grow without a cuticle and get detached from the fingers or toes easily. These can be signs of the onset of lymphedema, respiratory illnesses or rheumatoid arthritis.

The discolouration or the deformity in nails is an indication of underlying ailment in the body. Therefore, immediate attention should be paid in case of any signs of deformity or discolouration observed in nails. This will result in early detection and timely cure of the health issues responsible for it. Zyropathy recommends a combination of supplements to resolve various disorders causing such alteration in nails.

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