Your fingernails and toenails can be surprising indicators of what's going on inside your body. In this video, the folks at SciShow illustrate five things our nails can tell us about our health.
Nails are made of dead cells, but they grow from a root in your cuticle. When this root grows new cells, it pushes the dead ones above it, forming your nail. If you see anything abnormal, that usually means something's going awry in your body. And, as host Hank Green explains, you can figure out what's going on by working backward.
For example, if you have horizontal ridges in your nails (Beau's Lines), they indicate a time when your body stopped producing new cells for a while. As he explains in the video, the reason for this is that your body probably wasn't getting enough nutrients from your bloodstream, and this can indicate an infection or illness. As Green puts it:
The body shifts its nutrient flow away from low priority activities like growing nails towards high priority activities like...not dying.
Unfortunately, like a lot of symptoms, nail abnormalities can really be anything. So if you see something odd in your nail growth, you obviously don't want to assume the worst. If you're worried or concerned, you'll definitely want to see a doctor. But Green breaks down some interesting info in the video above, and it's worth checking out.