White spots that you observe on nails are very common. Everyone at some point or the other in their lives must have experienced them. These spots indicate different things because the various patterns of white spots on the nails can be the symptoms of different causative conditions. However, the underlying fact is that our body is trying to tell us that we are not healthy. It is important to know the various causes and take respective measures for their treatment.
Various Causes of White Spots on Nails
The white spots found on the fingernails are called leukonychia. An injury in the base of the nail that is also known as the matrix can be the cause of the appearance of these white spots on the nails.
Because these spots take some time to form after the injury, you tend to forget all about the injury. Some types of injuries that can cause these spots are banging the finger on the counter-top or with a hammer or banging the finger on the door. Having manicures done very frequently can also cause injuries to the nails.
There can be times when the white spots appear on the nails due to some allergic reactions to nail polish, or maybe nail hardener or even nail polish remover.
Also, the application of acrylic nails on your fingers or toes can cause trauma to your nail base.
The deficiency of zinc in a person can cause white spots or streaks in the nails. Therefore, a change in the diet can be helpful in resolving this problem.
Some foods that help in adding zinc to the person’s diet are baked beans, oysters, yogurt, beef shanks, crab, pork shoulder, nuts, spinach, and whole grains.
The deficiency of protein in a person results in horizontal bands that extend across the surface of the nail bed. These lines are called Muehrcke’s lines. Because these lines are on the nail bed and not on the nail plate, nail growth will not make them grow along.
When the level of proteins returns to normal, these lines just disappear. These lines can be indicative of liver disease in some rare cases. The common way to test to see if these lines are Muehrcke’s lines or not is to just press down the nail plate. If the lines disappear, they are Muehrcke’s lines.
Various protein-rich foods are Turkey breast, pork loin, lean beef, fish (salmon, tuna), tofu, beans, nuts, yogurt, soymilk, and seeds.
Majorly due to the numerous calcium-enriched nail strengtheners available in the market, there is a widely known belief that calcium deficiency leads leukonychia. There are numerous products available in the shops that include “calcium” into their names.
In order to solve this problem of calcium deficiency, you can normally add calcium as a part of your diet, consuming orange juice frequently, any other calcium-based food or drinks might help.
Fungal Superficial Onychomycosis
A subcategory of the infections that generally appears on the toenails is called white superficial onychomycosis. Fungi are the reason behind these white spots, and they tend to appear on the nail plate, and then gradually, they spread to the nail bed. This problem occurs with the toenails becoming flaky initially and then the nail turns thicker. Splitting of nail follows and there might be some significant pain while wearing shoes.
There are a number of other disorders that can copy this original one. Hence, in order to perform the diagnosis of this particular form of onychomycosis, a doctor might just clip off a small piece of the toenail and hold it for examination under a microscope. They might even choose to place this clipping into a sort of special container and watch it for some time and observe the type of fungus that grows on it.
An oral anti-fungal medication, when taken in combination with a tropical kind of ointment, is generally preferred. This will tend to clear this particular disorder up within a duration of three months. Although, it becomes exceedingly important to stay aware of the fact that these topical ointments generally might not completely penetrate the nail plate and thereafter reach the nail bed.
There are a few serious diseases that might present symptoms such as white spots on the nails. Therefore, it becomes exceedingly necessary to consult a doctor if you happen to notice any discolorations in your nails. The earlier you go to see the doctor, the more likely it is to carry on the treatment for the condition very effectively.
Liver disease, like hepatitis and cirrhosis, is one of the more serious causes of white-spotted fingernails.
So it’s not just the lack of calcium that causes these white spots on your nails. Next time do pay attention to the various possible reasons that might be more serious than you consider and take required action for their treatment.