Your Finger Nails Can Be the Windows To Your Health

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What Nails Say About Your Health

by National Institutes of Health

Clues about your health could be right at your fingertips. Take a look at your nails. They could give insight about possible health concerns.

Many nail changes are normal and nothing to worry about. But sometimes changes in the way your nails look and grow can be a sign of disease. Nails are actually specialized skin cells. They’re made of keratin, a protein also found in your hair and skin.

“Nails aren’t just for appearances,” explains New York University’s Dr. Mayumi Ito, who studies how skin cells regenerate. Your nails protect the ends of your fingers and toes. They also help you grip objects and pick off small things. It would be harder to turn the pages of a book or pick up a thread without fingernails.

The part of the nail you can see is called the nail plate. Nails grow from a region at the base of the nail under the skin called the nail matrix. Here, new nail cells are made and packed together. Older nail cells are then pushed to the surface of the fingertip. Ito was the first to identify the stem cells in the nail matrix that cause nails to grow.

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013
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