View Full Version : half moon on nails - is it true?

09-18-2003, 05:09 PM
Hi everyone,
I read in a magazine the other week that if you have thyroid problems the halfmoons that appear on your nails reduce in size or completely disappear. (the whitish area on the bottom part of your nails) is this true? I've been going through MAJOR changes in the last couple of years and nobody can figure out what is wrong with me. I've noticed that I have no half moons at all (i used to when i was younger) ive also been EXTREMELY fatigued and irritable.. this summer was really bad - it seemed like everytime i stepped out of my house id feel like passing out. i have to be in an air conditioned room at all times. i've lost over 10 pounds (putting me at 5'4" and BARELY a 100 lbs) i have not cut down my eating at all and I drink a lot of fluids so I dont think its dehydration.

the other night i woke up at 4:30am and i was trembling. i couldnt stop shaking - i was not cold, and in fact i was sweating all over. on that note, ive noticed that my palms have been sweaty at all times (even when its not hot) they are not usually like this! its affecting everything in my life! even if i just try to take a shower, i feel like passing out if im in there longer than 5 minutes. is it my imagination or can i be allergic to heat?

im also constantly nauseous.

can this be my thyroid? does anybody have ANY idea of anything else it could be? my doctors tell me that the reason im lightheaded is that im too skinny, and that everything i feel is due to stress. what can i do?

09-18-2003, 09:14 PM
Sweating and weight loss are primary symptoms of hyperthyroidism. (Don't know about the nail moon thing, as I've never heard of that.)
You've said what your doctors tell you... but what have they done in the way of testing? You need tests to know if your thyroid is to blame. Insist on TSH, Free T4, Free T3, and thyroid antibodies to start with. These are simple blood tests. If you have any thyroid enlargement or nodules, they have to be investigated by ultrasound or a scan.
If you've had tests, get paper copies of the lab reports. If you post your results here, along with the lab's reference ranges, someone will be able to tell you what they mean. Many people have doctors who simply tell them the tests are "normal" when in fact, they aren't.

09-18-2003, 10:03 PM
Kimzi, how old are you? The nausea sounds like what I have and it's estrogen dominance. The other symptoms go along with perimenopause. It's hard to diagnose because the blood tests aren't reliable.

Marilyn :)

09-19-2003, 08:34 AM
Actually I never heard of the half moon thing......but.......I just looked at my nails and along with the lines that run up and down I only have half moons on my thumb nails on the other nails there are no half moons. I guess I'll just add that to the list of symptoms that I still have!!!

09-19-2003, 05:45 PM
girlygirly, my question is for you - I just noticed that I have the half-moons on only my thumbs as well. You mentioned the lines that run down your fingernails - do they crack? I have nails that run down my fingernails too, but the nail actually splits along that line - sometimes they even split open and expose the nail bed - very painful! I've come across others who have weak and brittle nails, but have not found anyone who actually says they have the lines. I'm just curious!


09-19-2003, 06:11 PM
:wave: I had never heard of the half moon thing either but I have never had them on my fingers only my thumbs.
Do you ever get shivers when you read something here that all of a sudden you realize relates to you! I am still looking for help on my RED MASK problem.So far I have come close on RARE SYMPTOMS/RED EARS.
Do you ever wonder how long you have had a thyroid problem? Do we have this from early childhood? Does it start w/ our menstrual cycle? So many of these symptoms seen to start way before we get diagnosed. http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/heart.gif

09-19-2003, 06:18 PM
Well guess what folks? ... My pinkie fingers have no moons at all, and the others are much smaller than they used to be! Maybe there's something to the theory after all.

I've always thought the bottom-to-tip ridges on my nails are from age, and that only side-to-side ridges indicate thyroid probs. The reading I've done on the subject shows disagreement among medical pro's about which condition, if either, applies to thyroid. But then, they consider such things as cosmetic issues, so I'm sure no meaningful research has been done.

My ridges do crack, but fortunately, not too deeply.

09-19-2003, 07:12 PM
I have half moons on my thumbs only. I also have vertical lines/ridges....but I have horizontal lines that are really indentations on my thumbs. I have Graves, currently in remission.

Odd stuff!

[This message has been edited by K9Mom (edited 09-19-2003).]

Redford Phyl
09-19-2003, 07:51 PM
Good grief! My moons are gone, too. I remember having them years ago, but can't tell you when they disappeared. My nails were extremely brittle and prone to snags before starting thyroid meds, but that was one of the first things to change for me. As for actually splitting, all of my nails fractured straight across twice. Going by rate of growth, the nail beds were damaged when I was briefly on Pravachol and briefly on Lipitor. I only stayed on each one a few days, as I had severe muscle pains within 48 hours. As it turns out, my cholesterol numbers are coming down as I get my thyroid back in shape.

09-19-2003, 07:51 PM
well, I had never heard of that but it's the same with me and I'm hypoT. Half moon's on my thumbs but only very, very small ones on my fingers and none on my pinkies. Isn't that interesting...

09-19-2003, 11:36 PM
well, to all ...

i HAD heard of the half-moon thing (on-line hypo symptoms, someplace), and i have no half moons except on my thumbs ... AND I AM HYPO!!!

this discussion made me guffaw, and i'm laughing now, because for a long time i was 'in denial' about -- you got it -- the almost TOTAL absence of half moons on my nails -- i mean i pushed and prodded and got some sort of sixteenth-of-an-inch with much bloodshed, and then decided to ignore my non-half-moons and concentrate on my thumbs, and do a nice manicure by myself (i used to have it done, you see, but i'm still afraid to expose my hands to the care of an aesthetician, who's bound to say, loudly, 'good grief! this woman has no half moons!' :eek: and run screaming from me), and the one thing i can say is that my cracked/whitey/brittle nails have cleared up ...

good grief! i love it!

:D jb

[This message has been edited by jinglebts (edited 09-20-2003).]

09-20-2003, 09:38 AM
I apologize for changing from the half-moon topic, but I have a question for ANNETTE H...

What do you mean "red mask?" Is it a rash thingy on your face? If so and you haven't already, try up "butterfly rash." If not, I have no clue! :)


09-20-2003, 10:50 AM
I had never heard of the half moon thing but as I look at my fingernails, I see that only the thumbnails have them. And the thumbnail on my left hand is almost gone too (very faint). I have ridges starting on some fingers but no breakage so far.
Years ago, I read something about the half moons on the fingernails disappearing meaning that your body is lacking of something. However, that was many years ago and I forget what it said the body was. I think it may have been oxygen levels in the blood. I'll have to search this again. I'll let you know if I find anything.

09-20-2003, 11:56 AM
I read about the moon thing a while ago and checked my hands, I only had the moons on my thumbs, but guess what? Same with my husband and he is not HYPO(he has been completely tested)...so my theory went down the drain...LOL

The white part of my nails start to peel and I peel them more :( But I have neer had anything painful.

Annette, could you explain what you mean by red mask?

No meds, waiting for scan

09-20-2003, 01:48 PM
a red butterfly mask on the face is a symptom of lupus ... :(

back to the half-moon thing: some people never have half-moons, and for them this is normal, but for those who have half-moons that disappear after a DX of hypo, well ... i rest my case ... :razz: (i can't get over the hilarity of this topic ... guess i'm the only one) ... ah well ... :D

09-20-2003, 01:59 PM
for annette h: i entered 'medline' into google, did a quick "search w/in results' for 'red mask', and here's the website i came up with : http://www.soundmedicine.iu.edu/archive/2002/030202.html

it's the second topic on the page, called 'red mask syndrome'...

hope this helps ...


09-20-2003, 04:27 PM
I heard the half moon on nails was indicative of a heart problem. I didn't have the half moons until 2 years ago when half moons appeared on both thumbs. I also have the vertical lines on nails that started 4 years ago...I am assuming that is what is called striated nails which is a definited symptom of hypo_T. I still have the striations despite the drs saying my thyroid is under control now.

The red mask is indicative of lupus. Yeah I know they call it butterfly mask, but doesn't look like a butterfly or at least not what I was imagining it to mean when I heard the term from a friend a decade ago. Recently I came across a website with photos of a woman with the "red butterfly rash" who had lupus. I have definitely had that kind of coloration...but couldn't it also be from rosacea too?? For whatever reason my neurologist is running an ANA antinuclear antibodies test which I now understand is mainly used to diagnose lupus. I went to her thinking I might have post-concussion syndrome from an untreated head injury. Instead she was more concerned about my adrenals and if I had ever had kidney function & blood count tests. So she ordered all these blood tests before she will run any brain tests. I was a bit worried about the lupus test, until my friend told me her dr has been adamant for 4 years that she has lupus after she run a fever & had a rash after delivering her daughter. But every test has come back negative, yet her dr insists she has the disease and makes her come in for tests every 6 months to double check. I've read recently that lupus has become real "popular" for drs to diagnose, so much that they try to say every woman with multiple mysterious symptoms has it. When I was 23 I had arthritis like symptoms and they tried to say it was lupus...tests were negative. That dr told me I had fibromyalgia...now I think that was just a symptom of hypothyroid...which he did not test for.

[This message has been edited by AngelaA (edited 09-20-2003).]

09-20-2003, 05:55 PM
Angela, I agree that Lupus is overly DXed, I have read about women who have a few symptoms and the dr's throw out these RX'es to them, very scary if you ask me. There are many tests that can be ran for Lupus, I have had a complete panel which includes many antibodies and "complement" tests....all were negative.

I have a slightly positive ANA, but my DR feels it's due to my Hashis'.

I have had Rosacea for many years, my derm told me it was rosacea and not a lupus rash. IMO, rosacea looks more blotchy and the pics I have seen of a Lupus rash look more solid red, like a sunburn. Do you have any bumps (pastules) or acne?

Most people with Lupus also get a rash from being in the sun, on parts of their body.

I always worry about Lupus in the back of my mind, but I try to not think about it too much ;)

No meds, waiting for scan

09-20-2003, 05:56 PM
I've been googling around looking for references to the nail moons and hypoT. Here's what I've learned... (Just for curiosity, jinglebts, not because it matters too much.)

To all of us folks "of a certain age" ~ahem~ nail imperfections are natural, with or without hypoT. This is from the Merck website: "With age, longitudinal ridges may develop on the nails, and the crescent-shaped lunula may disappear. The nail plate becomes thinner and is prone to fracture."

And this is from the Medical College of Wisconsin:
"Q: I have read that the condition of one's nails can sometimes indicate the possibility of disease. What would cause the lunula of a nail, or nails to disappear?

A: The lunula is the half-moon shaped pale area at the bottom of nails. If you have large cuticles and small nails, the lunula may not be readily visible. It is usually best seen on the thumbnail. Some apparently healthy children and teens do not have a lunula, but most people do.
The actual size of the lunula does not correlate with disease or health. The lunula may disappear in the presence of poor nutrition with protein deficiency and with chronic diseases, such as liver cirrhosis, heart failure, diabetes, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis."

09-20-2003, 06:19 PM
midwest1: well, i'm too young (nudge, wink), so it's GOTTA be a disease process -- i insist!!

:D jb

09-20-2003, 06:59 PM
:wave: jinglebts, thank you!I looked up the site and found several things of great interest!I was tested for Lupus because of arthritis type pain.It turned out to mostly be Bursitis. My RED MASK is not a rash nor skin problem.It is a HOT, bright red glow from the right hand side of my face at my hairline.Then it runs down across my nose and then on down under my chin. It looks like the Phantom of the Opra's mask.It is called "embarrassing blushing"or hyperthidrosis acording to that site's info.This is caused by over-active sympathetic nerves. Someone on the rare symptoms thread said the chiropractor helped them. There is a surgery,too. I guess it is not( or not just)thyroid related. http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/redface.gif

The half moon thing---every one I checked today had them on their thumbs. Some on fingers,some not. http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/heart.gif

[This message has been edited by ANNETTE H (edited 09-20-2003).]

09-20-2003, 11:35 PM
annette: think nothing of it, only i will come and snatch your firstborn out of its cradle w/out warning ...

glad to help!

09-21-2003, 12:24 AM
I have heard just the opposite from my doctors. They usually look at my nails when I go in. If I have the half moons they run extra blood work. I usually am just getting over a cold, virus or flu something like that. It is a sign that you have been sick or are sick if you have them, not if you dont. I would ask your doctor just in case.

I am 35 years old. I have had two liver transplants and a kidney transplant.
I am married for 16 years now. We have one son who died at birth.

09-21-2003, 05:05 PM
Well Midwest I'll bite... what is this "certain age" you speak of? I will admit to being 34 and most certainly couldn't be a part of that "certain age" group right? ;)

[This message has been edited by AngelaA (edited 09-21-2003).]

09-21-2003, 05:15 PM
Originally posted by lovemythreeguys2002:
antibodies and "complement" tests..
I have a slightly positive ANA, but my DR feels it's due to my Hashis'.

I have had Rosacea for many years, my derm told me it was rosacea and not a lupus rash. IMO, rosacea looks more blotchy and the pics I have seen of a Lupus rash look more solid red, like a sunburn. Do you have any bumps (pastules) or acne?

Most people with Lupus also get a rash from being in the sun, on parts of their body.

Yes I think Lupus is overlly popular with drs at the moment. patients would be better suited if drs were more in a hurry to suspect hypothyroid when presented with mysterious symptoms.

I have acne, but because of high androgen levels. I don't have pustules concentrated where the redness occurs on face. I take Zyrtec which is said to cause sun sensitivity. Seems like I got the redness because being on the allergy med though. I just don't think it is Lupus. For one thing it does not look like a rash. Another thing is those with lupus have high temperatures. I still have low temps even after being on thyroid meds. Average temp being 97.5.

I have read positive ANA sometimes will indicate Hashi's when the other thyroid antibodies show negative.

09-21-2003, 05:20 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by lovemythreeguys2002:
[B]Angela, I agree that Lupus is overly DXed, I have read about women who have a few symptoms and the dr's throw out these RX'es to them, very scary if you ask me.

Our local drs (and radiologists) are also gung-ho to diagnose M.S. in everyone because for unknown reason the incidence is high in this town. Perhaps some of those patients are mis-diagnosed however. Last year I had an MRI to look for pituitary tumor. The scan showed two tiny white blips on right hemisphere. The radiologist sent my referring dr a scary report...had her panicing more than me even! I was sent to neurologist who told me the blips were most certainly not M.S. He did some motor skill tests on me just to prove I was ok. Meanwhile my friend in Ohio had headaches and was given an MRI. Her radiologist also said it was M.S. She was very frightened when she went to neuro, who then told her nope it is not M.S. The moral of story being to not take any diagnosis too seriously until it is proven.

[This message has been edited by AngelaA (edited 09-21-2003).]

09-21-2003, 07:11 PM
:wave: jinglebts---I am 53 and have no childern of my own. If I ever have a first born,its yours, cradle and all!!!!!

I checked more nail beds today for half moons. Same results,some yes,some no and some with just on thumbnails. Mine have had ridges but now they are just soooo soft they wont grow over the ends of my fingers!