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Thumb nails have gotten very white. What can this mean?

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My thumb nails have gotten very white. What can this mean?
Posted Tue, 20 Aug 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Anjana Rao Kavoor 3 hours later
Thanks for writing in to us.

White nails is clinically termed Leukonychia and can occur in various patterns and be associated with various medical conditions. It can be present as total white nails, partial white patchy or punctate spots or horizontal streaks.

The total whitish discoloration of nails can be caused by deficiency in proteins intake or absorption and metabolism. This happens due to abnormal functions in kidneys and live. Even chronic gastrointestinal conditions like colitis where the protein entering through the intestines is decreased thereby causing hypoproteinemia or hypoalbuminemia.

Partial whitish discoloration can be caused due to dietary deficiency of important vitamins and elements like zinc. The restoration of the deficient elements will reverse this condition.

The punctate spots are usually due to nail biting and seen mostly in children and young adults.

The horizontal whitish streaks can appear due to significant nail injury or due to heavy metal ingestion.

Hope your queries are answered.
Should there be any further queries, please feel free to write back.

Wishing you good health

Dr A Rao Kavoor
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