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Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

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Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:49 pm




VERTICAL RIDGES IN FINGERNAILS: CAUSES, AGING & HEALTH VARIATIONS!

Vertical ridges in fingernails concern usually a harmless issue, because eventually as we grow older everybody develops a few vertical ridges. Vertical nail ridges origin from the anatomy of the nail appartus (contrary to 'horizontal ridges' - which have a strong connection with physical trauma & disease).
However, sometimes the vertical ridges can become unusually pronounced featured with irregularities, and especially when other nail abnormalities get noticed as well then the unusual vertical nail ridge variants can signal (life threatning) health problems!

The article below explains why fingernails in most people are featured with smooth shaped vertical ridges that become more pronounced due to aging. And additionally some specific guidelines are presented in order to discriminate normal vertical nail ridges from the pathological variants.

FULL ARTICLE:
Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations






Last edited by Martijn (admin) on Tue Apr 03, 2012 5:14 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Lynn on Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:00 am

Interesting article Martijn. I have a few questions.

regarding the 3 examples of healthy ridges in your website article


where did you get the pictures? are you sure they are healthy? eg especially the colouration of the nail in number 2. Also the apparent horizontal 'flatness' of the lower third left side of the nail on number 1 (or maybe that is a trick of the light).

re the elderly


again, same question - are you sure the photos are from healthy elderly people? eg number one looks quite pale, number 3 looks quite red and has some beading.

regarding the comment "as we grow older everybody develops a few vertical ridges." do you know from what age they become more common? not all elderly people have them, and many younger people do have them!

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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Patti on Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:32 am

I agree with Lynn. Only the top right nail looks healthy and normal of the healthy group. I have the same questions Lynn has.
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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:43 am

Lynn wrote:Interesting article Martijn. I have a few questions.

regarding the 3 examples of healthy ridges in your website article

where did you get the pictures? are you sure they are healthy? eg especially the colouration of the nail in number 2. Also the apparent horizontal 'flatness' of the lower third left side of the nail on number 1 (or maybe that is a trick of the light).

re the elderly

again, same question - are you sure the photos are from healthy elderly people? eg number one looks quite pale, number 3 looks quite red and has some beading.

regarding the comment "as we grow older everybody develops a few vertical ridges." do you know from what age they become more common? not all elderly people have them, and many younger people do have them!

Hi Lynn,

Regarding your first 2 questions: regarding the 3 examples of vertical nail ridges in elderly the sources have mentioned explicit that the individuals have no health problems. Regarding the first 3 examples I have no explicit info for confirmation.

(By the way, I understand your worries ... especially regarding the third elderly example - where the colours look unusual, however I found the picture in case discussion at a medical website which explicitely reported that there were no health issues involved in the individual. So I choose to use that picture as an illustration that the variations among healthy people may be wider than one might expect)

Regarding your final question, I think there are no specific ages involved in these processes. Yes, you can sometimes even seen the vertical ridges in children - but in many cases it may require sharp eyesight!

Does this answer your questions?

wave


Last edited by Martijn (admin) on Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:55 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Patti on Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:50 am

The middle 'healthy' nail may have healthy vertical ridges, but usually when there is such a deep redness under the nail there is inflammation in the body.
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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:04 am

Patti wrote:The middle 'healthy' nail may have healthy vertical ridges, but usually when there is such a deep redness under the nail there is inflammation in the body.

(Patti, I am not sure whether one can speak of 'deep redness', because when we look at the distal nail fold we are confronted with a likewise relatively dark/red color - this color-effect could be resulting from that the thumb was pressed against the background, or maybe... the effect could also partly be the result of how the light source was used + how the camera was positioned, etc.)

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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Lynn on Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:18 am

Patti, thanks for sharing your thoughts & having the same questions about this.

Martijn - agree that there could be problems with light source, skin tone etc. Regarding number 2 of 'healthy' nails, no matter how hard I press my thumb I cannot replicate that 'bruised' appearance (which suggests maybe circulatory problems? or as Patti said 'some inflammation'?) and I don't see any likewise redness in the distal nail fold (?). I'm glad that you understand my worries Martijn. Regarding the medical website which explicitely reported that there were no health issues involved in the individual - if we're talking elderly, they usually have some health problem or some stress?? Hence my question about how old are we talking here? And I'd like to see the rest of the hand/palm.

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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  zaobhand on Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:51 am

The nails don't seem healthy to me, but then it depends on how one defines health.
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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:00 am

Lynn wrote:Patti, thanks for sharing your thoughts & having the same questions about this.

Martijn - agree that there could be problems with light source, skin tone etc. Regarding number 2 of 'healthy' nails, no matter how hard I press my thumb I cannot replicate that 'bruised' appearance (which suggests maybe circulatory problems? or as Patti said 'some inflammation'?) and I don't see any likewise redness in the distal nail fold (?). I'm glad that you understand my worries Martijn. Regarding the medical website which explicitely reported that there were no health issues involved in the individual - if we're talking elderly, they usually have some health problem or some stress?? Hence my question about how old are we talking here? And I'd like to see the rest of the hand/palm.

Lynn, the colors in the distal nail fold (hyponychium) is really not much different from the dark reddish color in the nail plate:




Regarding your additional question about aging, here is for example the source of one of the three examples for vertical ridges in healthy elderly:
http://dermatlas.med.jhmi.edu/derm/indexDisplay.cfm?ImageID=133051480

I disagree that 'elderly' should usually have health issues (which appears to be your suggestion); for example: elderly can be described as 'healthy' when the health issues that they had - during let's say the past 10 years - concerned temporary health issues only (for example: both of my parents would fit this description).

(In the perspective of medical problems I would like to exclude the issue of stress - because it concerns a psychological issue that is very susceptible to arbitrary subjective perceptions... especially when there is no psychological disorder involved with the symptoms, etc)

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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:09 am

zaobhand wrote:The nails don't seem healthy to me, but then it depends on how one defines health.

Please specify...

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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Lynn on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:47 pm

Martijn (admin) wrote:I disagree that 'elderly' should usually have health issues (which appears to be your suggestion); for example: elderly can be described as 'healthy' when the health issues that they had - during let's say the past 10 years - concerned temporary health issues only (for example: both of my parents would fit this description).

I guess it depends what age we think of as being 'elderly'. I was thinking of people aged over 75-ish. According to this article 'elderly' begins much younger than I was thinking of! It seems I am already 'an older person' ;-) http://www.who.int/healthinfo/survey/ageingdefnolder/en/index.html

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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  zaobhand on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:51 pm

Age is relative. See for example the "Blue Zones" - cultures with high percentage of centenarians. They have 1/6 the rate of cancer, heart disease etc. They mostly die peacefully in their sleep. They have no concept of retirement. They probably become elder much later than the average reported in this link.
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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:43 pm

zaobhand wrote:Age is relative. See for example the "Blue Zones" - cultures with high percentage of centenarians. They have 1/6 the rate of cancer, heart disease etc. They mostly die peacefully in their sleep. They have no concept of retirement. They probably become elder much later than the average reported in this link.

Well yes Boaz... everything is indeed relative to everything.

Therefore I hope my examples will serve as a valuable tool to discriminate 'irregular vertical ridges' resulting from the process of aging from the 'irregular vertical ridges' caused by medical problems.

And after all, only the first 3 examples can be described as presenting 'normal vertical ridges'!


PS. I think it might be interesting to become aware that the responses so far did not focus very much on the RIDGES seen in the photos... and I think this could indicate that the 9 examples serve actually very well for the purpose that I had in mind.

Focusing on other aspects in the photos could become confusing - especially when one does not consider those other characteristics in the perspective of the manifestation shape of the vertical ridges... because the photos were taken in different environments -including: varying backgrounds, different cameras, different light lightsources, but one should also not forget to consider ethnicity, age etc.

So again, everything is relative to everything... therefore one should not forget to focus especially on the ridges: then the essential differences should become obvious and one should become aware that it is not always easy to discriminate nail disorders due to age from nail disorders due to disease, etc.

( lol! )

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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  zaobhand on Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:52 pm

The first 3 nails don't lend an impression of "healthy individuals"... perhaps individuals with currently non-life threatening conditions.
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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:09 pm

zaobhand wrote:The first 3 nails don't lend an impression of "healthy individuals"... perhaps individuals with currently non-life threatening conditions.

Sorry Boaz, I have to point out once again that your statement is not specified at all.

(I am not sure which nails you have in mind, but I assume that you are talking about the first 3 examples in my article?).

Your words sound to me like you are not aware at all that minor nail abnormalities (such as for example the partly flat surface seen in the first 'healthy' example) are actually very commonly seen in healthy individuals.


Boaz, maybe you can describe what it takes according your perspective to recognize a 'healthy individual' through the observation of just one single nail?

(It does not take a 'perfect' nail in order to find a healthy individual - this is e.g. due to the fact that many nail abnormalities can be found in small percentages of healthy populations)

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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  zaobhand on Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:15 pm

Martijn, Please disregard my comments then. It is not really important for me to make a point. Thanks for your informative article.
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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Patti on Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:33 pm

Perhaps some distinction should be made between the health of an individual, as seen in the nails, versus health of the nail.

For instance, in the second group of "healthy" nails, there is a nail that splits at the end in the center and this split is obviously proceeded by a beaded appearance. (to use Lynn's terminology) This situation is described in The Growing Hand and in order to determine the cause of the split, the nail must be removed and the nail bed examined for scarring. "A scar in the germinal matrix prevents the normal flow of cells into the nail plate. This causes normal production to occur only along the sides of the nail plate, resulting in nail splitting."

Perhaps the person is in good health but the nail is not.

In the top row of nails where we are questioning the nail with the yellowed and reddened tones under the nail, the nail may be healthy but unless they hit this nail with a hammer in the recent past, I'd say they are dealing with some kind of health issue.

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Re: Vertical ridges in fingernails: causes, aging & health related variations!

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:07 pm

zaobhand wrote:Martijn, Please disregard my comments then. It is not really important for me to make a point. Thanks for your informative article.

Alright, no problem: thank you for your comments.

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