How much of a nail expert would you say you are?
Chances are, you’re probably not much of an expert at all. Most likely, you only look at your nails when you cut them – like any other normal human being.
And if you do see something a bit weird, you either get used to it or put it down to nothing.
So when one UK woman posted a picture of her nails to Facebook, asking, purely out of interest, if anyone had seen nails like hers, she never expected the response she received.
Grandmother Jean Williams Taylor has nails that curve inwards around the tip of her fingers, and, as it turns out, it’s not as common as she thought.
But when the photo of Jean’s nails went viral, things got serious – fast.
Many professionals urged Jean to go and see her doctor. She didn’t understand what all the fuss was about, labeling the comments as “extreme”.
But then, as she explained in a later “awareness post”, after visiting the doctor for a checkup, she realized that the strangers on the internet had been right to be concerned.
##awareness#2 weeks ago i posted this pic on my wall asking if anyone had seen nails like this. A few google post later…
Jean recalled what happened next, writing:
“I was rushed for blood tests and a chest xray, 2 days later i got a phone call to go for a CT scan, 2 days later a PET scan and more blood test, the day later a breathing test on my lungs and a scan on my heart, the day later an MRI scan then a lung biopsy.”
The results were in: Jean had cancer in both lungs.
It’s news that nobody wants to hear, but Jean was fortunate, in a warped sort of way – posting a photo of her nails online had resulted in her early diagnosis.
Who knows how much longer Jean would have unknowingly lived with cancer had she not followed the internet’s advice and got herself checked out.
Jean’s curved nails are known as “nail clubbing”.
This occurs when the tips of the fingernails enlarge and curve around the finger during growth. Nail clubbing isn’t always a means of diagnosing illness or disease, as it can be genetic.
But it can also be the result of low oxygen in the blood, suggesting lung disease. Nail clubbing can even be linked to inflammatory bowel disease, AIDS, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Jean just thought her ugly fingernails were genetic.
That’s where it gets confusing – her mom had had the same curved fingernails as Jean, who couldn’t remember a time when her nails hadn’t been curved. She admitted:
“I’d been working in a factory so my nails were really short. I got an office job about six weeks ago and they decided to grow. I’ve always had weak nails and I’ve never got them to this length because they were never strong and I was working in a factory. But now I think I could knock a nail in with them.”
If you have nail clubbing, it’s best to get checked out by a doctor. A medical expert can see things that we can’t, so if they think your nail clubbing is any cause for concern, they’ll arrange for the right tests to be carried out.
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