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Nails Hold Clues to Your Health

Changes signal problems, but most don't know that

WEDNESDAY, June 26, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Sometimes a doctor just has to look at your hands or feet to "nail" down health problems.

Discolored, brittle or otherwise abnormal nails may signal health problems ranging from infection to cancer.

However, many people don't realize that. A survey of 1,017 adults conducted by Roper Starch Audits and Surveys Worldwide finds only 48 percent of Americans know that changes in the appearance of their nails may indicate medical problems including infection, anemia, certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease or kidney failure.

Of the people who detected changes in the appearance of their nails, only 40 percent saw their doctor about it, the survey says.

Here are some other findings from the survey:

  • Women (54 percent) are more aware than men (42 percent) that changes in the appearance of their nails could indicate health problems.
  • Thirteen percent noticed an unexpected change in nail appearance.

More information

For details on the connection between your nails and your health, read this article from Bodytalk Magazine.

SOURCE: Roper Starch Audits and Surveys Worldwide, news release, June 17, 2002
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