Symptoms A-Z

Fingernail Changes Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand fingernail changes symptoms, including 6 causes & common questions.

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Contents

  1. 6 Possible Fingernail Changes Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics

6 Possible Fingernail Changes Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced fingernail changes. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough iron to form hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.

The condition can be caused by acute blood loss through injury, surgery, or childbirth;chronic blood loss through an ulcer, overuse of aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or heavy menstrual periods; or impaired absorption of dietary iron due to low dietary iron intake, prior surgeries, disease, or interference from certain medications.

Symptoms of anemia may include fatigue, shortness of breath, and a rapid heartbeat. If not treated, iron deficiency anemia can lead to heart disease because the heart has to increase its pumping activity in order to compensate for the reduced oxygen carrying capacity of the red blood cells. In children, iron deficiency is also associated with developmental problems. The diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia is made through physical examination and blood tests.

Treatment includes a diet rich in iron-containing foods, such as red meat and leafy green vegetables, along with iron supplements. In some circumstances, hospitalization, blood transfusions, and/or intravenous iron therapy may be needed.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, heavy menstrual flow

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Chronic nail infection (paronychia)

Chronic Fingernail Infection (Paronychia) is caused by repeated damage to the cuticle (the thin layer of skin that covers the base of the nail). The cuticle protects the nail from infection, and when it's damaged again-and-again, it can predispose someone to infections of the nail (paronychia).

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: spontaneous finger pain, fingernail pain, cuticle loss, fingernail swelling

Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit

Side-effect(s) of chemotherapy

Unfortunately, chemotherapy has many side-effects, ranging from hair loss to fatigue to nausea. This occurs because the treatment affects not only diseased cells but also healthy cells.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: fatigue, loss of appetite, arthralgias or myalgias, dizziness, sore throat

Symptoms that never occur with side-effect(s) of chemotherapy: headache resulting from a head injury

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Fingernail Changes Symptom Checker

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Hypoparathyroidism

Hypoparathyroidism is a condition in the parathyroid glands do not produce enough parathyroid hormone. This leads to low levels of calcium in the blood, which can cause both short-term and long-term symptoms. Causes of hypoparathyroidism include surgery or radiation to the neck, autoimmune damage to the parathyroid glands, abnormal development of the parathyroid glands, and low levels of magnesium in the blood.

Short-term symptoms of hypoparathyroidism include(https://www.buoyhealth.com/symptoms-a-z/blurry-vision/), and changes to the bones, teeth, skin, hair, and/or nails.

Hypoparathyroidism is treated with oral or IV medications to increase calcium levels in the blood. A newer medication to treat hypoparathyroidism is PTH 1-84, which mimics the body's natural parathyroid hormone.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: patchy hair loss, skin thickening, fingernail changes, patchy body hair loss

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Acute carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) gas is a fatal byproduct released when a substance burns, including wood, coal, kerosene, gasoline, propane, etc.

The substance may burn with an open flame, as charcoal does in a grill or wood does in a fireplace. Or it may burn inside an engine, as gasoline does in a car or propane does in a generator.

CO gas is produced either way. Inside a closed space, such as a garage or house, the CO gas cannot escape. It is invisible and has no smell, but is deadly if inhaled because CO replaces oxygen in the bloodstream.

Symptoms include headache, weakness, nausea, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a medical emergency. Immediately get the person outside in fresh air, no matter what the weather, and take them to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis may be confirmed through blood testing.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, headache, nausea, shortness of breath, vomiting

Symptoms that never occur with acute carbon monoxide poisoning: fever

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Infective endocarditis

Infective endocarditis, also called bacterial endocarditis, is an infection of the lining of the heart.

Damage to the heart lining from physical abnormality, medical procedures, or IV drug addiction can allow staphylococcus or enterococcus bacteria to gain a foothold.

The condition most often occurs during hospitalization. Those with a prosthetic heart valve, heart transplant, or certain congenital heart defects are most susceptible.

Symptoms are flu-like and include fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, shortness of breath, and swelling in feet and legs. A heart murmur may appear or change. There may be red spots on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands.

Infective endocarditis is a medical emergency. If suspected, take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination, echocardiogram, and blood tests. CT scan and MRI may also be used.

Treatment is with IV antibiotics, usually in a hospital. Surgery may be needed in some cases.

Anyone at risk who is undergoing dental treatment, especially dental surgery, might be given antibiotics as a preventive measure.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), loss of appetite, headache, being severely ill

Symptoms that always occur with infective endocarditis: being severely ill

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Fingernail Changes

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Do food or drinks get stuck when you swallow?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), like Crohn's or Ulcerative colitis?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out why you're having fingernail changes

Fingernail Changes Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced fingernail changes have also experienced:

  • 5% Fatigue
  • 3% Hair Loss
  • 2% Finger Pain

People who have experienced fingernail changes were most often matched with:

  • 37% Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • 37% Side-Effect(S) Of Chemotherapy
  • 25% Chronic Nail Infection (Paronychia)

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Fingernail Changes Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having fingernail changes