White Spots On Your Fingernails

What Causes White Spots On Fingernails?

White spots on fingernails can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'needs attention'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose white spots on fingernails, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "white spots on fingernails" as a symptom.  Here are three possibilities:
  • Zinc Need
  • Stomach Acid Deficiency
  • Pyroluria

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
zinc test metallic/fuzzy/sweet
history of deformed toenails
absent sexual desire
copper supplementation
much reduced sense of smell
high coffee consumption
being an unsocial person
lighter/paler skin color
severe fatigue after slight exertion
high sensitivity to bright light
occasional hangnails
loss of appetite
... and more than 40 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of white spots on fingernails:
Cause Probability Status
Stomach Acid Deficiency 99% Confirm
Pyroluria 19% Unlikely
Zinc Need 1% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate abnormal fingernails and toenails, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do your fingernails have white spots on them? Look at all of your fingernails on both hands and count the total number of white spots.
Possible responses:
→ No / none / don't know
→ Yes, one or two white spots
→ Yes, 3-5 white spots
→ Yes, more than 5 white spots
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate white spots on fingernails, a few white spots on fingernails or many white spots on fingernails, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Pyroluria

Leukonychia punctata (white spots) are a sign of pyroluria.

Zinc Requirement

Spots on the nails indicate injury to the nail bed that was not repaired successfully by the body.  This may indicate an underlying zinc deficiency because zinc is crucial to successful wound healing.

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