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NHS Doctor reveals the fingernail symptoms that could signal underlying illness

An NHS doctor has shared how the appearance of your nails can tell you a lot about your health.

Dr Karan Rangarjan, a surgical doctor and lecturer at Sunderland University, shares medical information and debunks myths for his 4.2 million followers on TikTok.

In a recent video, which has been viewed close to 8 million times, he revealed that the texture and appearance of your nails could be a sign of various underlying problems.

‘If you’ve noticed these cloud-like white spots on your nail – they’re common and usually normal. It can also be caused by physical injury to the nail,’ he says in the clip.

However, he says people should be aware if they have a dark streak on their nails that has been there for a while and seems to be growing in size.

Nails tell you stuff #learnontiktok #schoolwithdrkaran #BurberryTB #nails

If it hasn’t been caused by an injury, it could be a rare type of cancer called subungual melanoma.

Subungual melanoma is a type of skin cancer in the nails. It can present as a light- to dark-brown colored band on the nail that’s usually vertical – but this type of skin cancer is relatively rare.

The next possible nail symptom Dr Rangarjan mentions are little craters that sometimes appear on nails. He says they can look like ‘someone’s taken an ice pick to them.’

‘This is called pitting, and is usually caused by psoriasis, arthritis, or eczema,’ he says.

He also explains why your nails might be yellowing. According to the doctor, it could either be a fungal infection known as onychomycosis, or tobacco from smoking, which is known to stain the nails yellow.

If your nails are cracking and flaking, they could be brittle nails, which Dr Rangrajan attributes to a number of nutritional deficiencies and urges viewers to follow a varied diet.

Since the video was posted, it has garnered over 760,000 likes and comments from users saying they weren’t aware of these issues.

Many have pointed out that a dark line running through your nails is a common occurrence in people with a dark complexion.

One person said: ‘I have the second one but my doctor said it was melanonychia, which is extremely common with people of darker skin tone.’

Another one added: ‘He forgot to mention that black line is pretty common in Asian and African people and it’s usually harmless.’

Some have also shared their own experiences.

‘Also applying nail polish everyday can stain them (I think I don’t want to spread misinformation),’ another viewer said.

Someone else commented: ‘I’ve got the last one because I’m a chronic nail biter.’

The NHS confirms on their website that ‘nail problems are not usually caused by anything serious.’

‘Common nail problems include brittle, loose nails that may change colour or shape.

They add that our nails may change over time, and confirm that it’s normal for nails to become thicker or break more easily as you get older, become harder, softer or more brittle during pregnancy, change colour, become loose and eventually fall off after an injury.

Fingernails that fall off after an injury should grow back within 6 months. Toenails can take up to 18 months.

But if you notice any changes that concern you, or are persistent, book an appointment with your GP to talk it out.

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