Your nails can tell a lot about the overall condition of your health, and it may surprise you how often the thyroid can be the cause of changes in your nail health. Paying attention to any warning signs that may appear, may enable you to recognize when something isn’t right. When you pay attention to the warning signs, it can alert you to a potential thyroid issue that requires further investigation.
What is the Thyroid?
The thyroid is a small gland that is located in the lower front of your neck. It’s responsible for having a major influence on many cellular functions in the body such as regulating metabolism, energy, and growth. It is an integral part of the endocrine system and serves an important role in your overall health.
What are the Signs of A Thyroid Issue?
Typically, the signs of a thyroid disorder may be vague, and can vary depending on the type and severity of the disorder. Some common warning signs of an issue with the thyroid include weight gain or loss, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. Though not as common, signs may also appear on the nails.
Changes in Nail Health
Thyroid issues can have a direct effect on the nails leading to a variety of visible changes. These changes can happen in the appearance and texture of both the nail and the skin around the nail. There are a few warning signs to look out for in the nails that may indicate an issue with the thyroid that requires further investigation.
If the nails suddenly become thicker than normal, this can be a sign that the thyroid may be out of balance. Thickened nails tend to be weakest near the cuticle area, making them more prone to splitting and peeling.
Nails that seem to suddenly become weakened, lose their luster, and break easily could be a sign that a thyroid issue may be present. Often, brittle nails will become harder to keep even and may need to be trimmed more often.
Dry and Patched Nails
If the nails suddenly become dryer than normal or develop patches, there is the possibility that this could be a sign of a thyroid issue. These signs usually appear due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which can be common in cases of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
When the ends of the nails become rounded or curved, this could be an indication of an underlying thyroid disorder. Clubbing is usually caused by a problem with the lungs or heart, however, it could also be caused by an issue with the thyroid.
When the nails become spoon shaped, this could be a warning sign of an issue with the thyroid. Spooning is caused by the lack of oxygen in the body, and this can be seen as a general sign of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Treating Thyroid Issues
If you recognize any of these signs in your nails, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor. There are a variety of treatment options available depending on the type of thyroid issue:
• Medication will generally be prescribed to increase the level of thyroid hormone in the body.
• Very low-calorie diets may be recommended in certain cases.
• Proper nutrition, including supplementation with vitamins and minerals, should be recommended.
• Lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress and avoiding specific foods, may also be beneficial.
• Medication will generally be prescribed to reduce the level of thyroid hormone in the body.
• Supplements, such as iodine, zinc, magnesium, and selenium, may be beneficial in some cases.
• A low-iodine diet, or an elimination diet, may also be recommended in certain cases.
• Stress reduction techniques, such as yoga and meditation, may also be helpful.
Your nails can tell a lot about the overall condition of your health and can alert you to potential thyroid issues. Pay attention for any signs and symptoms, including thickened nails, brittle nails, dry and patched nails, nail clubbing, and spooning. If any of these signs are present, speak with your doctor for further investigation and to determine the best course of treatment.