Sick of No Lunula

Feeling good is within the power of your hands.

By Kevin RR Williams

HEALTH When a doctor looks at your hands during a routine exam, he may see more than what you are embarrassed to admit. Those questions about how often and and how long you exercise can seem intrusive to patients who are not athletic.

Healthy fingernails should be smooth and glossy with a white crescent called the lunula occupying one fifth the surface near the cuticle. This is something that can be masked with a pedicure. It is normal to have 8 to 10 lunula (two genrally absent from pinky fingers). The lunula is not just pigment. Even when the nail is totality removed, the lunula remains in place and is similar in appearance to another smaller fingernail embedded in the nail bed. It contains stem cells and nail plate matrix which helps the growth of the nail.

According to Eastern medicine, a more energetic person has correspondingly whiter lunulae. Lower energy, poorer health, poor blood circulation, depleted immunity, and a possible digestion issue is indicated by less lunulae; when lunulae only appear on the thumbs, physical energy is insufficient and disease may be imminent. People with absent fingernail moons are not necessarily ill but they tend to have serious diseases when they feel sick. Conversely, some Western doctors may view lunula absence as simply atypical; others express more concern.

A red lunula is common among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In patients with Wilson’s disease (hepatolenticular degeneration), the area takes on a blue coloration, a phenomenon called azure lunula. Heart failure can turn the lunula red, and tetracycline therapy can turn it yellow. Silver poisoning will turn the nail itself a blue-gray color. Excessive fluoride ingestion can turn nails brown or black. Chronic renal failure affects almost all the systems of the body, including the skin and appendages. The three nail disorders most commonly found in patients with chronic renal failure are half-and-half nails, absent lunulae and splinter hemorrhages.

Don’t bite your nails if you lack lunulae. Take it as a sign to exercise for better cardiovascular circulation and to subsequently feel A Bit More Healthy. The Understanding Skin anatomy poster includes cutaway illustration of the fingernail.

Tags: dermatologists, fingernail analysis

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