We’ve all heard rumors about how the condition of your fingernails can be a sign of various health conditions, but rarely do we see hard evidence of this correlation. Recently, there have been a few revelations about what various fingernail conditions can reveal about your health and the results are pretty unexpected. As it turns out, there are several health problems that can manifest themselves in the cosmetic appearance of fingernails long before more drastic symptoms would ever be noticed.
When the fingernails are turned downward and very rounded it’s referred to as clubbed nails. For some people clubbed nails are just the natural shape of the nail and fingertip, but for others severe clubbing can be a sign of heart and lung issues.
Recently, a woman in the UK, Jean Taylor, posted a photo of her clubbed nails online. She hadn’t seen her nails that long in years since she had worked in a factory for many years. Upon getting a desk job and growing her nails out, she found they were clubbed like her mother’s had been. Her daughter, Stephanie, then urged her to get checked out by a doctor after she Googled what clubbed nails might mean.
As it turns out, Jean did go to the doctor and was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer in both lungs, for which she will now face surgery. Jean’s mother was also diagnosed with lung cancer and had to have half a lung removed. This particular sign of lung cancer isn’t all that common, but in general clubbed nails have long been associated with poor lung function or heart disease.
Many times clubbed fingernails are asymptomatic, meaning there are no symptoms that go with this physical trait. However, in a small number of cases the clubbing comes with lung problems like cancer, mesothelioma, bronchitis, and also non-lung problems like cirrhosis and heart disease.