Have you ever looked at your nails and noticed those little crescent shapes on them? These moon shaped areas in the bed of the nails are more officially known as lunulae, and typically they are whitish, or otherwise lighter than other parts of the nail. There is a lot of formal and informal speculation on what role the nails play in overall health. Healthy nails generally should be tough, glossy and bear a ruddy or rosy color as well. It is believed that the whiter and more defined a person’s lunulae are, the more energy they have. As such, the reverse is often thought of those with poorly defined, or discolored lunulae; in fact, the color of a person’s lunulae, or the absence of lunulae altogether can sometimes indicate the presence of certain diseases in the body. Read on if you’re interested in finding out what your lunulae can suggest about your health.

What it Means When You Have Large Lunulae

large lunalae

Credit: classconnection

Generally, a person’s lunulae should not occupy more than a quarter (1/4th) of a person’s fingernail. However, lunulae can occupy up to and over a third of a person’s nail. Having such large lunulae can indicate problems related to the cardiovascular system, including things like heartbeat disruption (arrhythmia) and low blood pressure. While this can be quite alarming, the increased size of the lunulae is also related to physical activity. For this reason, it is not uncommon for those who are regularly physically active, such as athletes, to have large lunulae. Otherwise, high stress may be the culprit.

What it Means When You Have Small Lunulae

small luna

Image Credit: portalcurio

While small lunulae, like enlarged lunulae, may also indicate low blood pressure, there are some other conditions that they can result from. For example, it’s thought that those with weakened immune systems or poor metabolisms develop small lunulae. Otherwise, a lack of crucial vitamins and minerals, such as iron and B12 can cause them. Furthermore, if there is a separation between the lunulae and the remainder of the nail plate, this could indicate blood sugar problems, putting one at risk for diabetes. If you’re concerned about your lunulae, be sure to monitor your blood pressure and blood sugar closely.

What About Changes in the Lunulae?

changes in lunalae

It is believed that the lunula of each finger is directly related to specific bodily systems. For example, the lunula of the thumb is thought to relate to the lungs and the spleen. Typically, as the most visible of the lunula, it’s thought that 25% of the nail’s area is the correct size; it may grow larger in the case of hypertension, and smaller in the case of smoking.

It is believed that the lunula of the index finger could disappear or shrink quite considerably as a result of a certain malfunction in the intestine, pancreas, or because of chronic E.N.T. diseases. Meanwhile, the lunula of the middle finger is believed to hold some connection with the cardiovascular system and also the work of the brain.

Related: 7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

If your middle finger is missing its lunula, this is thought to indicate vascular problems that are related to high blood pressure. As for the ring finger, it’s thought that this particular lunula is connected to both the reproductive and lymphatic systems. If the lunula on your ring finger is barely noticeable at all, it is believed that this could be an indication of problems related to digestion. On the other hand, generally, it’s believed that a small, unnoticeable lunula on the pinky finger is fine, and therefore no indication of ill health. Thought to be linked with the kidneys, the small intestine, and the heart, it’s believed that a more dominating presence of the pinky’s lunula could spell trouble.

What About Invisible Lunulae?

small lunale

You may have read this far and discovered a concern due to a general lack of lunulae on your nails. However, there is no need to panic, even if you or your children don’t seem to have lunulae. The truth is because they are actually in the nail bed and under the nail itself, they are sometimes invisible to the naked eye. They may appear over time, or they may not be visible at all, depending on the specific genetics and nail structure of any given person.

With that in mind, it is believed that there is a difference between lunulae that are never visible and lunulae that once were visible but then disappear. Specifically, if one does have lunulae they can see, and then at some point, these lunulae disappear, it is believed that such a disappearance comes as a symptom of certain circulatory disorders. This is because it is believed that the sudden absence of lunulae is related to disorders of the thyroid gland, potentially in conjunction with a severe lack of vitamin B12, iron, or other important nutrients.

What About Changes in Lunulae Color?

red lunulae

As mentioned earlier, for the average individual, the lunulae are most typically white in color. Ideally, there should be some significant contrast in the color of the lunulae and that of the surrounding skin. It is believed that deviations from this color can be indicative of certain disorders or diseases. For example, if rather than white, the nails have gray lunulae, this change of color could be taken as an indicator of digestive problems, or the presence of fatigue, or even a decrease in the body’s ability to effectively absorb nutrients, which if true, can lead to many serious illnesses.

On the other hand, if a person’s nails have purple lunulae instead of white ones (assuming they have not crushed the nail), that person may also have issues with blood circulation. Poor blood circulation essentially translates into a lack of oxygen getting into the organs and tissues that need it most; as a result, it is not at all uncommon for those with poor blood circulation, or those with poor oxygen levels to suffer dizziness or even severe headaches. In the case of nails with pink or even red lunulae can be indicators of low physical activity, and relatedly, certain lung problems.

Black lunulae, which are typically uncommon, may be the most important color to look out for; it is believed that black lunulae are related to instances of significant metal poisoning, which presents an immediate danger to the health of such a person.

In conclusion, while there are many changes or conditions that could indicate a person’s health, ultimately the best thing one can do is live a healthy, active lifestyle, and check in regularly with medical professionals. In the case of lunulae, there are some changes that may indicate health problems, but they should also be taken with a grain of salt. If you have concerns about your nails or other parts of your body, definitely make the time to follow up on them.

Related: 8 Ways to Tell If You Have Poor Circulation


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