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Brittle Nails? Another Condition?
If you suspect that another condition maybe causing your nails to be brittle or if you are not sure that you have brittle nails you should consult a physician or dermatologist. In the meantime you may want to review more information on possible causes associated with brittle nails. A number of specific nail diseases can also be reviewed - click here.
Following are a number of nail conditions which will help to determine whether you have simple brittle nails (without any cause) or perhaps another condition causing your nails to be brittle. Having said this, nothing stops you from treating your nails in efforts to make them look healthier - just make sure to consult a healthcare professional if you suspect an underlying cause.
Yellow nails are often the result of a fungal infection. As the infection worsens, an infected nail may lift from its nail bed. Thickening and crumbling are also common. In rare cases, yellow nails can indicate a more serious condition such as severe thyroid disease, lung disease, diabetes or psoriasis.
Very pale nails can sometimes be a sign of serious illness. These include anemia, congestive heart failure, liver disease, and malnutrition
Rippled or pitted nails may indicate early signs of psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis. The nail bed (skin beneath the nail) may look reddish-brown.
Biting nails is usually due to an old habit, but in some instances it's a sign of persistent anxiety. Nail biting or picking has also been associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
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In individuals that have skin psoriasis, 10-55% will also have nail psoriasis. Signs of nail psoriasis include: nail pits (pitting), lines going across the nail (Beau lines) as opposed to ridges running root to tip, loosening from the nail bed, crumbling, white areas (leukonychia), thickening of the nail bed skin (leads to loosening of the nail.
Fungal nail infections (Onychomycosis)
Nail fungal infection or onychomycosis is associated with discoloration (yellow and/or white), nail thickening, crumbling/splitting and loosening from the underlying nail bed
Pitting or small spotty depressions are often caused by nail matrix inflammation, which can be the result of: psoriasis (random appearance of pits), alopecia areata (localized hair loss), eczema, and lichen planus.
Appearing as ridges running lengthwise, beads seem to drip down the nail like wax. It is associated with endocrine conditions, including the following: diabetes, thyroid disorders, Addison's disease, and vitamin B deficiency.
For more information on nail abnormalities, click on the link to a New York Times article.