Long and strong nails, who wouldn’t want that? Still, many people occasionally suffer from yellow, bluish, or chipped nails. But what do nails actually say about your health? And how do you best take care of your nails? We tell you all about nails!

What are nails and what are they made of?

Nails are made of the protein type keratin. This is dead tissue. Therefore, there is no feeling in your nails. Nails nevertheless grow. This is because the new cells that are created push the nail forward. Nails protect the tips of the fingers and toes. There are a lot of nerve endings in your fingertips. Without nails, your fingers and toes would be very sensitive.

What do nails say about your health?

Most nail abnormalities are harmless. However, there are also nail abnormalities that say something about your health. Below we list a number of nail abnormalities that can indicate health problems.

Pale or white nails. Very pale to white nails can develop with age. In some cases, they can also indicate diseases such as anemia, heart failure, liver disease and malnutrition.

White nails. If the nails are predominantly white, with darker edges on the top, this may indicate liver problems.

Yellow nails. Yellow nails are usually the result of a fungal infection. Read more about this in our article about fungal nails .

Bluish nails. When nails have a bluish color, it can indicate an oxygen deficiency of the body, for example due to pneumonia. A very light, blue discoloration can indicate diabetes.

Crumbled nails. Dry, brittle nails, which quickly crumble or break can indicate a thyroid problem. When the brittleness is accompanied by a yellowish color, a fungal infection is more obvious.

Stuffed nail edge. A red and swollen skin around the nail indicates inflammation of the nail edge.

Dark lines under the nails. When dark bands become visible under the nail, this should be looked at as soon as possible. Sometimes these are caused by skin cancer. Dark spots can also have a very harmless cause, such as an impact against an object or shoes that are too tight.

Bitten off nails. Usually nail biting is nothing more than an annoying habit, but it is also linked to an obsessive-compulsive disorder, or compulsive disorder. Read more about nail biting in our article . Can’t stop? Then contact your doctor.

What makes nails grow faster?

The nails of your fingers grow about three millimeters per month and your toenails about one millimeter. Also the nails of longer fingers grow a little faster than nails of smaller fingers. For example, the nail of your index finger grows faster than that of your little finger. By stimulating the circulation in your fingers, your nails can grow a little faster. You can stimulate this by, for example, drumming your fingers on the table.