Healthy nails should be semi-transparent, light pink, and intact, possibly with a white lunula (“little moon”) just above the cuticle. According to, individual nails may on occasion get small white lines or dots, called leukonychia (nothing to worry about), or maybe an infection by bacteria, virus, or fungus (all of which should get treated), an underlying illness somewhere else in your body can also cause changes in nail health and their appearance. Nail care includes watching out for key changes like these:

Decoding Nail Color Changes:

White nail syndrome. The whole nail will appear cloudy or white. This change in nail health could indicate heart disease, renal failure, liver cirrhosis, pulmonary tuberculosis, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis.

Terry’s nails. The nail will look mostly white and grainy with a pink or perhaps red strip at the top because of an increase in connective tissue and a decrease in blood supply in the nail bed. This change in nail health can be found in 80 percent of patients with liver cirrhosis, as well as in patients with congestive heart failure, hyperthyroidism, malnutrition, diabetes, or HIV.

Muehrcke’s nails. Abnormal blood flow in the nail bed will make the nails appear as if they have horizontal (often paired) white lines, most often in the second, third, and fourth fingers. The lines disappear if the nail is pressed and blood is squeezed out of the nail bed blood vessels. Because this problem occurs in the nail bed, it will not progress up as the nail grows. Problems associated with this are hypoalbuminemia, liver disease, malnutrition, and nephrotic syndrome; it is also a side effect of chemotherapy.