Brittle Fingernails

What Causes Brittle Fingernails?

Brittle fingernails can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'life-threatening'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnose your symptoms now!
  • understand what's happening to your body
  • let The Analyst™ find what's wrong
  • identify any nutritional deficiencies

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose brittle 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 "brittle fingernails" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Anorexia/Starvation Tendency
  • Poor Digestion
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Need
  • Fungal Infection
  • Vitamin B6 Need
  • Vitamin A Need
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Calcium Need

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:
reduced sense of smell
absent sexual desire
much magnesium supplementation
bulimia
depression with some anxiety
frequent unexplained sadness/crying
possible swelling at front of neck
being postmenopausal
regular infections
slight tongue soreness
low B6 levels
much reduced sense of smell
... and more than 90 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of brittle fingernails:
Cause Probability Status
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Need 90% Confirm
Calcium Need 29% Unlikely
Fungal Infection 23% Unlikely
Anorexia/Starvation Tendency 3% Ruled out
Poor Digestion 0% Ruled out
Hypothyroidism 0% Ruled out
Vitamin B6 Need 0% Ruled out
Vitamin A Need 0% 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:
Are your fingernails brittle - do they chip, peel or break easily?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ Somewhat
→ Very
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either absence of brittle fingernails or brittle fingernails, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Hypothyroidism

Thyroid diseases may produce brittle nails or splitting of the nail bed from the nail plate.

Nephrotic Syndrome

Over time, the protein loss occurring in nephrotic syndrome will result in a generally malnourished state, causing hair and nails become brittle.

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