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“If you’re suffering from yellow nails then it’s likely that you’re suffering from a fungal nail infection,” said Gohil. “When a fungal infection begins, you may start to notice discolouration on a small aspect of your nail and notice it gets larger over time,” she added. While this could be yellow in colouring, it’s also possible it could be white or even dark brown.
As the fungus spreads, the nails can become brittle, chalky, and smelly – and the nail could tear easily.
“With chronic infection the nail may become thickened,” said Gohil. “The nail may start to separate from the nail bed, causing pain.”
If you spot signs of a fungal toenail infection, then it’s best to use over-the-counter anti-fungal treatment.
If the problem persists, however, Gohil recommended seeking advice from your doctor.
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Yellow toenails could also be a sign of “diabetes, psoriasis, or even thyroid disorders”, Gohil added.
By having a doctor look over long-term toenail discolouration, you might uncover an underlying health condition that requires treatment.
Diabetes and thyroid disorders, for example, can be diagnosed following a blood test.
When looking at your toenails, other colours to be wary of include: blue, black, white, and paleness.
“Blue nails are often an indicator that there’s not enough oxygen getting to them,” said Gohil.
She explains this suggests “there may be a breathing problem associated with the lungs, or a heart disorder”.
Consequently, blue toenails should be brought to the attention of your doctor.
As for black toenails, this is common when there has been trauma to the nail, which causes the blood vessels in the nail bed to break and show up as dark spots.
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Gohil said: “In other cases, it can be signs of anaemia, diabetes, kidney disease or heart disease.”
Thus, if the black marks do not fade over time, it’s best to seek the opinion of a medical professional.
When there are white spots on the nails, this too can be down to an injury or micro trauma.
Yet, white spots could also be “associated with a zinc deficiency or fungal infection”.
Foods rich in zinc include: oysters, crab, beef, chickpeas, cashews, and oats.
Pale toenails could also be telling, said Gohil, as it could highlight poor circulation, anaemia, or malnutrition.
“They can also be caused by malfunctions in the liver or heart, so it is important to get this issue checked out,” Gohil stated.
Nailner 2 in 1 Brush (RRP: £23.49) / Pen (RRP: £24.99) is available at Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Amazon and selected pharmacies.
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