What is Lunula and What It Means for Your Health

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Your body has its own way of sending you hundreds of small and sometimes subtle messages about your health. From the color of your skin, to the amount of hair fall you get, and how fast your wounds can heal, all of these are your body’s way of telling you things.

However, there is one part of your body that you probably often take for granted or worse, you didn’t even notice in the first place. But, little do you know that this one tiny part holds a lot of valuable information regarding your health. What is this part? Well, it is none other than the lunula, that white half-moon you see on your fingernails.

What is Lunula?

While it seems that the lunula is a part of the nail, the truth is that this is sitting above the skin just below your nail. This serves as the protective covering of vulnerable blood vessels located there. All people have lunula but this is not visible all the time on all fingers, most of whom can just see this on the thumbs. Your lunula plays a crucial role in the fingernails’ shape as well as their growth. Any damage to the lunula can change the growth of your nails, if it does grow at all.

Lunula and What It Means for Your Health

Based on a published study, there are three ways that the lunula gives you warning of possible health issues: through its color, shape, and size. A healthy and normal lunula is ivory-colored, half-moon shaped, and occupies about a fifth of the nail. If you ever notice any changes to the lunula, it is important to schedule an appointment with a healthcare practitioner or doctor.

Size of the Lunula

As stated earlier, your lunula must be roughly a 5th of your nail. It may indicate trouble if it is any smaller or bigger than this.

  • Macrolunula – Here, the lunula is enlarged or bigger. For certain ethnicities, specifically those with Indian descent, it is normal. If not, this can signify some endocrine disorders like hyperthyroidism.
  • Anolunula and microlunula – Here, the lunula can be small or simply absent all in all. Although a microlunula is often normal for those of African descent and could be related to age, this may signify other concerns like cardiovascular atherosclerosis, nail diseases, chromosomal diseases, malnutrition, iron deficiency anemia, and endocrine disorders.

Shape of the Lunula

The lunula affects how your nail grows that is why if it has an off shape, there is a chance that the nails that will grow will be misshapen as well. if something goes wrong, the lunula may change from the usual shape of half-moon to something square or triangular even.

Color of the Lunula

The lunula, also called lunar dyschromia, must have an ivory color though people with darker skin tone tend to have a lunula with blue-ish tinge. If you notice a different color to your lunula, it is important to consult your doctor to ensure that you are not at bigger risk for illnesses associated to specific lunula colors.

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