Striations have appeared on my finger nails, does this indicate any problem?

Fingernail striations are not necessarily a sign of any health problem, they simply develop as you grow older. They are generally considered to be a normal part of the aging process. Many people consider the fingernails to be able to indicate the state of a person's health. Conditions such as dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, melanoma, Vitiligo, and certain types of alopecia are known to affect the appearance of the nails too. However, it is not possible to come up with a diagnosis based on the condition of the nails alone. One would have to look into your medical history and the presence of any other symptoms too, before coming to any conclusions. If the striations are unusually prominent, you may consult a doctor for a diagnosis, as there may be some underlying problem.

If your nails have also become dull, weak, and brittle, you may have developed a condition known as trachonychia, sometimes called twenty nail dystrophy. Nails affected by this condition often start to split at the end. However, contrary to normal striations, this problem usually occurs among children, and is usually resolved on its own as the years pass. In some cases however, trachonychia may result from some of the conditions mentioned earlier – eczema, psoriasis, and alopecia areata. Since the fingernail striations are only a symptom, there is no real cure for them. What needs to be treated and cured is the underlying condition that is causing the weakness and striations.

If the striations that you have mentioned are horizontal, rather than vertical – that is, if they run across the nail, from side to side – then there may be other factors at work. These lines are usually called Beau's lines, after the doctor who first described and studied them. Beau's lines may sometimes be caused by a local infection or injury that has damaged the nail fold, resulting in abnormal growth of the nail tissue. However, several more severe health conditions can also cause these lines to develop. They include some of the skin conditions mentioned earlier, as well as diabetes disorder, cardiovascular problems, hypocalcaemia, and certain nutritional deficiencies. Here too, the ridges on the nails are only a symptom, and therefore cannot be treated directly. You need to find out what the underlying cause is, and treat it. Once the underlying cause is successfully treated, the nails will usually start growing normally once again, and the abnormal striations will disappear.

answered by G M

Striations on the finger nails do not necessarily indicate any problem. These mild longitudinal ridges appear as you grow older, and are nothing to worry about as they are a normal part of the aging process. If you are very young, in your teens or twenties, it may be a bit too early for such signs of aging, but as long as there are no other unusual symptoms, you can relax.

However, if the ridges are too prominent and are accompanied by a thinning of the nails and a loss of sheen, this may be an indication of a condition known as trachyonychia. In addition to the dullness and development of striations, the nails tend to become weak and brittle, developing rough surfaces and often splitting at the end. If all the nails are affected, the condition is known as twenty nail dystrophy. This condition is more common among children than among older people, and is in itself quite harmless, without any other complications.

However, twenty nail dystrophy often accompanies other medical conditions, such as vitiligo (leukoderma), psoriasis, eczema, alopecia areata (an autoimmune disorder involving hair loss), and certain types of dermatitis. Still, as mentioned before, if you have no other symptoms, then the striations are only part of aging.

answered by G M

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