Diseases of the nails
Our nails have a significant role in protecting the fingers on the hands and feet. The look of nails can warn us that something very serious is happening inside our organism.
White spots on the nails
White spots on the nails or white discoloration of the nail plate – Leukonychia, is caused by mild trauma or injuries the nail matrix. The condition is harmless and goes away as the nail grows. If you notice a large number of white spots on the nail plates contact your dermatologist. The cause can be anemia, liver cirrhosis, ulcerous colitis, ulcer disease, and post-chemotherapy conditions.
Brown to black discoloration
Brown to black discoloration in the nails – Melanonychia, is the result of increased amount of pigment. This can form a mole or lentigo simplex in the nail bearing. Also, increased activity and gathering of melanocytes can be seen in the melanoma of the nail bearing – malignant melanonychia. One of the fastest and most aggressive carcinomas.
Yellow colored nails
Yellow colored nails are common in the disruption of lymphatic drainage, bronchial tumors, AIDS, tetracycline use.
Red lunula – semicircle at the coupling of the nail plate and skin. It is seen in many systemic diseases, spotted baldness, heart insufficiencies, carbon monoxide poisoning.
Serrated hemorrhages are small capillary hemorrhages in the surface layers of the nail plate and can be a sign of the heart or lung disease, hypertension, hepatitis, trichinosis. Also, they can be a sign of nail trauma, eczema or psoriasis. It is important to differentiate them from malignant melanoma.
Ingrown nail is the pushing of the nail into the surrounding tissue. Irregular nail clipping, tight shoes or injury can lead to this condition. Adequate treatment can solve the problem, especially if the person reports it before an infection spreads. More about ingrown nail read here.
Fungal infections of the nail
Fungal infections – Onychomycosis, are the most common infections of the nail. They occur more often on feet then on hands, produce a thickened nail plate, which becomes layered and separates the nail from the nail plate. It produces a brown, yellow or chalk color of the nail.
Bacterial infections of the nail
Bacterial infections of the nail are somewhat less common. They are followed by pain, pulsating, redness. Bacteria cause infection of the skin around the nail with surrounding nail bearing.
Roughness of the nail/nail plate
Transverse rugosity of the nail which can be temporary in infants and in women, where it is connected to the menstrual cycle, in other cases it is a sign of malnutrition, lack of zinc, nerve damage or weak circulation in the extremities.
Lesions of the nail
Dotted lesions (dents) in the nail, are typical of psoriasis. Shallow dots appear in eczemas, alopecia areata, injuries, professional exposure to chemicals.
Splitting of the nail
Splitting of the nail which occurs in 30% of healthy persons (especially women). Nail polishes, detergents and physical trauma damage the connections in the nail plate and lead to layering.
Spec. Dr. Svetlana Djurisic, dermatologist
Dermatological clinic DERMATIM, Belgrade – Serbia