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Senior Nail Care: What Are Those Horizontal Lines?

Toenails and fingernails can provide valuable insight into the health of the human body. Many people just assume that they damaged their nails in an accident if they notice a nail abnormality, but sometimes lines or ridges in the nails can be caused by a traumatic medical incident. Though many seniors develop vertical ridges on their nails due to aging, horizontal ridges, also known as Beau’s lines, can be the result of a health problem. When respite caregivers in Albuquerque notice nail abnormalities, it’s important to identify the problem.

What Do Beau’s Lines Look Like?

Beau’s lines are deep, horizontal grooves that run from side to side on the nail bed. They normally appear on multiple nails at the same time and can occur on either the fingers or toes. A Beau’s line can be a slight dip in the nail or it can appear to be a deep dent. A person can have several Beau’s lines on each nail.

What Causes Beau’s Lines?

Beau’s lines are caused by an interruption in nail cell growth. This occurs when a person suffers from an intense health condition that causes the body to focus on healing the condition instead of growing nail cells. After the body recovers, it will start growing nail cells again, so the Beau’s line will gradually move up the nail until it reaches the end and is removed. Therefore, the distance of a Beau’s line from the nail bed lets you know how long ago the traumatic issue occurred.

What Medical Conditions Can Trigger Beau’s Lines?

Anything severe enough to damage physical health can cause Beau’s lines. If the condition is a single event, a person will just have one Beau’s line, while ongoing health conditions cause multiple lines. Common conditions that result in Beau’s lines include:

    • Heart attacks
    • Malnutrition
    • High Fevers
    • Infections
    • Liver disease
    • Diabetes
    • Chemotherapy
    • Broken bones
    • Stroke

If you notice lines on your loved one’s finger or toenails, see a doctor to determine what could be causing it. You might even consider hiring a reliable Albuquerque, NM, home care agency to help your loved one recover. Call Home Care Assistance of Albuquerque today at 505-798-0800 to learn how our experienced caregivers can help your loved one recover efficiently in the comfort of his or her own home. Schedule a free at-home consultation when you call.