Every part of the body has a valuable purpose. The nails, found in the hands and toes, are built to be hard so as to cover the fingertips and toes. They are mainly made of keratin which is a protein for strength and resilience. Nails grow and receive nutrients from the body. They also get sick when the body has deficient nutrients or when immune system is low. When your nails become brittle or change in color, you may need to get yourself checked to determine what is wrong with your body. Brittle nails are capable of signifying what is happening with your body.
A healthy nail is transparent and uniform in color. The skin underneath the nails can easily be visualized. They are tucked neatly unto the nail beds. Keratin and nutrients make the nails strong and hard to break. Brittle nails signify weak nails and maybe caused by underlying conditions.
Brittle nails easily split off. Some may fall off and leave the end of the nails jagged. Too much splitting of the nail can be painful if the part of the skin is reached. By observing the appearance of the nail, it can be identified whether it’s brittle or not. So why do nails become brittle?
There are several conditions that cause brittle nails.
- Fingernail or toenail fungus infection is a common disease of the nails. The fungus infects the nail, causing a change in color and making it brittle. Nails easily crumble until such time that the whole nail disintegrates. There are types of fungal infection that makes nails very hard forming a crust on top of it.
- Another cause of brittle nail is iron deficiency. Iron is needed in the production of red blood cells. When there’s not enough iron the blood, volume of red blood cells becomes low. This causes anemia wherein the body is not supplied with enough blood and is visible when the nails become thin, with ridges and curls inward. The appearance of this nail is called koilonychi.
- Bacterial and viral infections can also change the appearance of the nails.Bacterial conditions usually change the nail’s color and presents as being painful to touch. Usually, redness occurs on the skin surrounding the nail. Viral warts affect the nail’s shape too. The skin under the nail thickens. Both type of infections thin the nails and lead to nail loss when untreated.
- Psoriasis is a skin disease that can also involve the nails.The nails turn out to be brittle, may have some pits and may split from the nail bed. Sometimes, psoriasis on nails be mistaken for fungal infection. Proper diagnosis is necessary for accurate treatment.
- Frequent mechanical trauma can also cause brittle nails.When nails are often in contact with a hard object and there’s pressure on the nails, this can initiate damage. Repeated and prolonged wet and dry nails are grounds for brittleness.
- Chemicals also weaken the nails.These include cleaning agents, deodorizers, pesticides and fertilizers. It’s common for women to use nail polish. The longer the nail polish stays on the nails, the more they become brittle.
Bearing healthy nails is as important as having a healthy body since their main purpose is to protect your tips. It can be a sign that there’s something wrong within your body when there’s a transformation in the nails. Have yourself checked with a health professional if you’re experiencing brittle nails not caused by trauma. Once treated, nails can grow back to normal.