Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Cause of Terry's Nails?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 2 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • January 13, 2011
  • 01:31 PM

Hello, I wonder if anyone here can help me. I'm looking for cause of condition called "Terry's nails". Not the disease that cause them, but the exact mechanism of action.

What I've found so far:

- Their direct cause is decreased vascularity
- They are associated with diseases such as liver cirrhosis, heart failure, hyperthyroidism, severe malnutrition, severe diseases, kidney failure and diabetes.

Why they do concern me? Well, I'm a runner and - as every runner - I want to run faster. Few years ago I was able to keep good pace at long distances, but once Terry's appeared, I feel like crippled. Still I can keep very good speed (at my age, 36) at very short distances, which means everything with my muscles is OK as long as they work anaerobically, without oxygen. Yet at longer distances, when everything depend on the cardiovascular system, I can't keep even average pace. Seems like decreased vascularity (visible symptom of which is condition called "Terry's nails") is my problem.

My story:

Normal guy on vegan diet, at one point of my live I developed severe vitamin D deficiency - pure stupidity, few years in row without the sun. It was luckilly corrected, yet at first it was misdiagnosed as iron deficiency (we all know every vegan got iron deficiency, so let put him on supplements even if he got excellent blood results). So, I ended with iron poisoning 2 years ago. No more diseases I'm aware of, excellent health, I can keep training at the pretty high intensity without problems, never had problems being blood donor.

Medical tests regarding diseases usually connected with terry's nails:

- liver - bilirubin in excellent range, liver enzymes - perfect, right after iron poisoning bilirubin was slighty elevated, two USG scans show nothing. Total protein and albumin - excellent
- kidney - all tests excellent
- blood sugar - excellent
- thyroid - tests were a bit strange, but after iodine supplements everything returned to norm. Not even slightest sight of hypo nor hyperthyroidism.
- heart - blood pressure in excellent range (usually 70/110), USG and EKG scans shows nothing, never experienced angina and no problem even at very hard training with heart rate above 180

Abnormal lab findings:

- elevated iron, decreased TIBC and UIBC, elevated transferrin saturation (just like in iron poisoning) yet very low ferritin
- right after iron poisoning decreased cholesterol, returned to normal (still lower range)
- elevated MCV (usually around 95)



So, I have no clue. Seems like everything with my body is OK - except one thing, it can't develop blood vessels.

Seems it's caused by certain deficiency - but deficiency of WHAT?

I've tried every possible substance that can be low on vegan diet, including lots of eggs to raise cholesterol (ignoring fact that vegans do not have problems with cardiovascular system), except carnosine which I'm testing right now. I've tried almost every substance which is usually low in every disease mentioned above, like magnesium or vitamin B1. And I've tried to find any lab test common with every disease connected with Terry's nails, as it might give me a hint.

Anyone have any idea?

ps. sorry for my English, it's not my 1st language.

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2 Replies:

  • I have the exact same thing! My lab finding are all normal, except I have a fatty liverAll of my males are pale whitish. But I but my nails so I never let them grow long enough to get the brown strip at the distal end. Bt the big toes obviously I don't bite and those are very clearly Terrys Nails.So here is the thing, Im 47, and I have had the very pale nails since I was in my early 20s. If it were something bad Im sure I would be dead by now, lol.I was looking at some old family photos and I notice my dad also has the pale white nails.I will say, regarding decreases vascularity, my hands are often times cold. I think I may even have Raynauds although I can't confirm it. So perhaps its poor circulation, or maybe thats just the way we are madeDid you ever get to the bottom of what was causing yours?
    JonBoy 1 Replies
    • December 30, 2011
    • 03:35 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Hi,I got the same condition developing over one month time on a raw vegan diet (I was vegan before).My blood tests have not revealed any deficiency or hepatic failure so far.Were you able to tackle the cause in your case?All the best,Seb
    sapiens 1 Replies Flag this Response
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