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Dear Mr. Danforth,
Thank you for posting your question. I want to be sure I understand it well before answering. You mentioned that underneath some fingernails you observe a red colour, while other fingernails appear white. Are you seeing a red colour in the fingernail itself, or in the tissue underneath the nail? Can you elaborate further on what exactly you are observing and where you are observing it? Also, could you let me know of any health conditions you have and your current medcations and doses?
Thank you in advance, I'll be right back with you. /XXXXX XXXXX, MD
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX I wish I had a photo to be better able to guide you. Instead, I will describe to you my thoughts on my you might have redness or red spots underneath a fingernail or fingernails. The most common cause is trauma, which leads to bleeding underneath the nail, but I would expect you to know if that happened ... I sure would, ouch. There is normally a white arched or crescent-shaped area located where the fingernail is forming, called the "Lunula." Redness or red spots underneath the fingernail beyond this point can be one of several things:
Trauma (mentioned), or even repetitive small trauma to the nail can cause reddish discolouration. Some people will develop a condition whereby their fingernails or toenail may separate partially from the underlying tissue, and this will lead to redness or infection. Fungal nail infections usually look yellowish and are crumbly, however.
Some poisons, chemicals, and internal medical conditions can cause red spots and regions underneath the fingernails, also. Arsenic, copper, and severe lung conditions can cause a range of colours under the nails, from brownish to deep bluish-grey. Infections on heart valves can flick off little pieces of the infection and these can end up embedding underneath the nail as well. Some patients with autoimmune diseases, like Lupus, will also have red regions near or under their nails. I would like you to take a look at a website that has quite a few images of nails and explanations of discolorations:
I would recommend a good evaluation by a physician specialising in Internal Medicine. I think that what you are describing really needs to be seen in order to be diagnosed. I wanted to present you with a fair amount of information so that you can ask the right questions of your doctor.
http://ask.hrsa.gov/pc/ is an excellent resource for you to find free or affordable healthcare in your city or region.
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