Are your nails something that you pay any attention to? Or are they something that you forget about after a slick of nail polish or the periodic nail manicure/pedicure?
Well it helps to know something about our nails since they indicate your state of good health or bad, and can also be indicators of factors such as respiratory disease or chronic bronchitis or even stress.
Nails consist of laminated layers of a protein called keratin which is also present in the skin and hair.
Nails have evolved in order to protect our finger tips, to use as tools or weapons and also to improve dexterity of our fingers.
Our nails consist of five basic components: (a) the nail bed, which is the main part of the nail that you see, (b) the cuticle that is what overlaps the nail plate and which protects the new growing nails, (c) the nail folds which is the skin that frames the nails, (d) the nail bed which is the skin below the nail plate and (e) the Lanula which is the half moon shape at the base of the nail.
How do they indicate Good Health?
While a good many nail conditions are harmless, there are many that may be indicative of a disease or a disorder. Sometimes nail problems can signal malnutrition that can occur typically from certain eating disorders. Brittle nails and peeling nails are a sign of stress.
Lines, spots and ridges could also appear due to stress or perhaps they could owe themselves to aging in due course. Some spots and marks may be due to injury and which will grow out with time. Remember that nails grow at the rate of .1 millimeter a day, so it takes between 3 and 6 months for a nail to fully re-grow.
While some kinds of nail discoloration could be caused by certain kinds of nail enamel or lacquer, sometimes a yellowish discoloration could appear when one is suffering from a respiratory condition like chronic bronchitis.
There can also be discoloration when the nails develop a bacterial or yeast infection. Nails can also be indicative of several skin conditions and reactions to certain medications.
Injury or certain kinds of illnesses can also reflect in the nails in a condition called Beau’s lines which appear when the nail under the cuticle stops growing.
So if there is anything unusual about your nails of late, it may be a condition that you would do well not to ignore, since it could be indicative of a more serious problem.