Did you ever just stopped and squinted at those white crescent at the base of your nails? May be yes.
Further, did you ever pore over their queer existence? And now mostly it is, no, dominating. Heading on, have you ever had any idea of their association with our deeper health issues? Again, majority goes to NO.
Our body is definitely a miraculous masterpiece, by almighty, and its smartness is just above par. Whether we are well-nourished or poorly fed, it shows up in sundry signs that our system gives to us.
But it requires a deft eye to decipher these minute signals, that is possessed by the doctors and medical researchers. These folks descried this bizarre white moon-shape at the base of the nail, and it struck.
What comes next is so expected, they scrutinized this little fella, resting quietly since ages and waited for it to relate its story.
Let’s join and read together- “The Tale of Half-Moon on fingernails!”
What are Half-Moon on fingernails?
Fingernail half-moons are medically called as lunula, or plural lunulae, and we would also call them so, henceforth.
Our nails have got some structure, right, which consists of the free-ended, nail plate, that often stores up that cake crumbs, and the one hidden, called nail matrix.
There are other edifices as well like, nail bed, capillaries, tissues, and glands helping in the growth and nourishment of the nails.
The lunula is the visible portion of nail matrix. The nail matrix is busy producing new cells and pushing them up and forward.
These new cells then undergo keratinization, which involves replacement of cytoplasm by keratin protein filaments. And further, these keratinized cells die giving them transparent appearance (reddish tone is due to nail bed underneath it).
However, unlike the nail, lunulae have got translucent white colour, thanks to the nuclei still present in their cells. This is because half-moon cells have not yet undergone keratin action.
What does absence of Lunula indicate?
You are not doomed if you do not find it even after magnifying your nail under Holmes’ lens!
Often, Lunula is only visible on the thumbs, but fingers do not have it. It can be absent owing to different reasons, such as it may be hiding under the skin.
Although not always, but it can be symbolic of some malnutrition problem, anaemia, or depression. Therefore, ensure to consult your physician once, if you are facing the following symptoms:
- Feeling dizzy
- Unusual craving, like for chalk or clay
- Feeling weak
- Drastic weight gain or loss
- Losing interest even in favourite activities
What does discolouration of lunula indicate?
Lunula can act up by showing colours other than its normal shade, i.e., white. Owing to different underlying causes, lunula can become blue, pale-blue, brown, dark pale, black, red, yellow, or blue-grey.
Lunula getting blue/ azure is a sign of a disorder known as Wilson’s disease or hepatolenticular degeneration. This is a genetic disorder, really uncommon, which can trigger build-up of copper in different body organs like, brain, liver, etc.
However, there are other signs too involved in Wilson’s disorder other than azure lunula, so don’t freak out.
Let us understand the possible reasons behind each colour of lunula:
- Red lunula: Red lunula can be due to heart failure, psoriasis, cirrhosis, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), carbon monoxide poisoning, etc.
- Blue-grey lunula: This occurs due to silver-poisoning.
- Pale blue lunula: Undetected or chronic diabetes is the cause predicted behind this hue.
- Black or brown lunula: Excessive fluoride intake accounts for this colour of lunula.
- Yellow lunula: It can be caused due to Tetracycline medicines, generally taken for acne and skin infections. If you have been using these antibiotics for long, the nails can become yellow.
Always prefer doctor for diagnosis of disease, or health issue, if you notice any discoloration of lunula or nails. They know better!
What does disfiguration of lunula indicate?
Normally, lunula is as said crescent-shaped and deviation in it, such as becoming pyramidal, is a sign that you should now see the doctor.
Pyramidal lunula is a result of improper manicure or some shock inflicted upon it. However, it can heal after the nail grows forward and as damaged tissue recuperates.
What does large lunula indicate?
Although there are no scientific findings to state why lunula gets enlarged. Some researches claim it to indicate issues with cardiovascular health, low blood pressure and heartbeat disruption.
It is also allegedly said that high-impact activities, such as in athletes and other physically active people, can also cause large lunulae. However, the theory is devoid of any scientific backings, and therefore, rarely considered.
Also Read: Signs of mental exhaustion
What does small lunula indicate?
Just as it can grow abnormally big, lunulae also are often seen to be smaller in some people. It can be so insignificant sometimes that it remains invisible, either due to skin colour, or hidden under the cuticle.
There can be some underlying trauma that lunula gets disappeared, or it can also be symptom of anaemia, malnutrition, and depression.
Therefore, if you have got no lunula and experiencing unusual symptoms get along, it is recommended that you consult the specialist.
They would take proper physical tests of your body to diagnose the ailments associated, or other risks involved, if any.
What can I do for lunulae health?
Lunulae emerge from beneath the cuticles. Although, trimming nails and keeping them clean is what we all normally do as a part of hygiene. But overall, nail health needs something more to its nourishment.
If you are considering health, the primary thing ever is to target your diet. Take good proteinaceous foods, to keep yourself healthy and your cuticles too.
Lunulae do get the gains of good diet, and hence remain normal. The disgusting changes in this edifice, as we know now, are symbolic of bodily ailments such as Terry’s disease, diabetes, liver conditions and so forth. A good diet can prevent these health issues, as well as discolouration of lunula.
So far, we discussed the half-moon shape on our fingernails, which can be present in some while absent in others.
It’s absence, although not always, can be symbolic of malnutrition, depression, or anaemia.
However, before panicking into the moment, make sure you let the doctor diagnose your disease. And also take care not medicate yourself without doctor’s advice.