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What causes fingernail beds to turn white?

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Quick Answer

Fingernail beds that are mostly white with a darker rim can indicate hepatitis or another type of liver problem, according to Everyday Health. This condition, called Terry's nails, affects 80 percent of people with liver cirrhosis, and it occurs when the blood supply to the nail bed decreases while the connective tissue within the nail bed increases. People with congestive heart failure, diabetes, the human immunodeficiency virus, malnutrition or hyperthyroidism may also develop Terry's nails.

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Full Answer

Completely white or cloudy nails are sometimes a sign of rheumatoid arthritis, renal failure, heart disease, pulmonary tuberculosis or liver cirrhosis, explains Everyday Health.

White lines across the nail bed, usually found in pairs, are known as Muehrcke’s nails, notes Everyday Health. These nails are a symptom of liver disease, malnutrition, hypoalbuminemia and nephrotic syndrome. People receiving chemotherapy treatment may also develop these white lines.

Lindsay’s nails is the term doctors use to describe nails that turn white at the nail bed while the top half of the nail turns a pink-brown color, states Everyday Health. These half-and-half nails occur due to swelling at the nail bed and increased melanin production at the fingernail tip. Possible causes of Lindsay’s nails include the human immunodeficiency virus and chronic renal disease.

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