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Leukonychia
Classification and external resources

Leukonychia
ICD-10 L60.8, Q84.4
ICD-9 703.8, 757.5
DiseasesDB 14140

Leukonychia (or leuconychia, also known as white nails)[1] is a medical term for white discoloration appearing on nails.[2]:658-9 It is derived from the Greek words leuko ("white") and onyx ("nail"). The most common cause is injury to the base of the nail (the matrix) where the nail is formed.

Contents

Types

Leukonychia totalis

This condition is a whitening of the entire nail. This may be due to hypoalbuminaemia (low albumin), which is caused by the nephrotic syndrome (a form of kidney failure), liver failure, protein malabsorption and protein-losing enteropathies. A genetic condition, and a side effect of sulphonamides, a family of antibiotics can also cause this appearance.[3][4]

Leukonychia partialis

This condition is whitening of parts of the nail. There are several types of this condition.

Leukonychia striata or transverse leukonychia

Also called Muehrcke's lines, this is a whitening or discoloration of the nail in bands or "stria". It may be caused by cirrhosis, chemotherapy,[5] or physical injury to the nail matrix (e.g., excessive nail "tapping", or slamming in a car door).[6][7][8]

This condition looks similar to Mee's lines, a condition caused by arsenic, lead, or other heavy metal poisoning.

Leukonychia punctata

Also known as "true" leukonychia, this is the most common form of leukonychia, in which small white spots on the nails. Picking and biting of the nails are a prominent cause in young children and nailbiters.

In most cases, when white spots appear on a single or a couple of fingers or toes, the most common cause is injury to the base (matrix) of the nail. When this is the case, white spots disappear after around eight weeks, which is the amount of time necessary for nails to regrow completely.[9]

White spots showing up on all or nearly all nails for longer periods of time (months or years) can be due to one of several reasons; one of which is zinc deficiency.[10]

Diagnosis and treatment

A doctor will take a thorough medical history, and may test liver and kidney function. If a zinc deficiency is identified, a diet rich in zinc or zinc supplements may be administered.

References

  1. ^ James, William; Berger, Timothy; Elston, Dirk (2005). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. (10th ed.). Saunders. Page 789. ISBN 0721629210.
  2. ^ Freedberg, et al. (2003). Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. (6th ed.). McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0071380760.
  3. ^ DermIS - Leukonychia Totalis (image)
  4. ^ Leukonychia Totalis information
  5. ^ Miles DW, Rubens RD (1995). "Images in clinical medicine. Transverse leukonychia". N. Engl. J. Med. 333 (2): 100. doi:10.1056/NEJM199507133330205. PMID 7777013. http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/333/2/100. 
  6. ^ Medscape Today: Traumatic Transverse Leukonychia
  7. ^ DermIS - Leukonychia Striata (image)
  8. ^ Leukonychia Striata information
  9. ^ The Nail Geek: My Big Fat Greek Leukonychia
  10. ^ What Are These White Spots?

External links








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