It is often said that the condition of our hair, nails, skin, and eyes is a good indicator of our internal health. That's why any doctor can easily determine if we are facing some health problems by simply looking at our eyes and nails. The development of horizontal ridges on your nails indicate that there might be something wrong with your health. Though this fingernail disorder is not something that should get you worried immediately, it certainly isn't a condition to be ignored. Consult a doctor since any of the following health problems and conditions could be an underlying cause of this condition.
The common reason behind the development of ridges on fingernails is the intake of an unbalanced diet. A diet which lacks in vitamins and other essential nutrients for the body might cause this condition. Also, if you are taking a healthy diet, there is a possibility that your body is not able to absorb all the nutrients in your diet, i.e. you may be affected by malabsorption, which can also lead to this condition.
Another cause of fingernail ridges is that the nails might be dry and damaged from the surface due to a variety of reasons such as application of cheap-quality cosmetics, lack of moisture caused by dry weather, or due to less intake of water. If the nails are exposed to toxins such as arsenic, it can sometimes lead to arsenic poisoning and this nail condition as well.
Beau's lines, which occur on the nail plate, are seen in people who are affected by some serious diseases like diabetes, cancer, and Raynaud's disease. Muehrcke's lines, which are seen as white lines parallel to lunula, occur in the nail bed. These are caused if a person has a kidney disease, liver disease, or has very low-albumin levels.
If the half-moon like white shapes near the base of the nail, also known as lunulae, become blue in color, it could indicate silver poisoning. If they are red, it could mean that a person has psoriasis, liver cirrhosis, or carbon monoxide poisoning. Then there are terry's nails, a condition in which the nail plate becomes entirely white, except for a small horizontal part near its tip. This condition is caused when a person is affected by diseases like HIV, liver cirrhosis, kidney disease, and diabetes, resulting in ridges on fingernails.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If any kind of changes are observed in the color and shape of the nails, or if the ridges have developed recently and they are horizontal, seek medical help as soon as possible. Vertical ridges are somewhat harmless and may be caused due to old age or any external trauma to the nails. However, horizontal ridges could indicate a serious health problem.
Also, if along with the development of ridges, the nail color changes to red, blue, green, or any other strange color, it signals that there is an existence of some underlying health problem which needs immediate medical attention. However, if inadequate diet is the primary reason behind this condition, then taking a nutritious diet will help get rid of it. Drinking lots of water, applying a nail cream, wearing gloves while doing manual labor are some other ways to protect nails from external damage and dryness, thus contributing immensely to nail care.
From the aforementioned causes, it is clear that the horizontal nail ridges may occur due to some circulatory problems, autoimmune diseases, respiratory problems, iron deficiencies, or thyroid problems. Therefore, it becomes important that these ridges are diagnosed in time, and the treatment for the underlying diseases are taken, so as to help get rid of them.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.