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Several diseases of the nails can be developed as symptoms of hereditary syndromes while others may be associated with systemic and skin disorders. Any of those acquired disorders are often associated with hypoalbuminaemia that causes complete white discolouration of the nails.

Causes of Leukonychia

The leuconychia may be present under certain clinical circumstances or may be due to included cytotoxic drugs such as in case of transverse leukonychia striae. Leukonychia may also appear as a rare side effect of systemic chemotherapy in certain patients.

Or it may also be present with arsenic poisoning, renal failure, pneumonia, etc. Hereditary or Congenital leukonychia is present since birth, along with positive family history and has outosomal dominant inheritance. Leukonychia totalis appears in early childhood. Other causes of Leukonychia are like Hepatic Cirrhosis, Ulcerative Colitis, Anaemia, etc.

Exposure to extreme cold may also lead to development of leukonychia. Psychogenic stresses are also an important causative factor of leukonychia. Moreover, Onychophagia and occupational trauma may also lead to leukonychia. A crush injury to base of the nail or the nail bed may produce leukonychia.

Vitamin deficiency also causes a loss of luster or brittle nails. Hypoproteinemia is also the leading cause of leukonychia. Leukonychia is not at all a sign of lack of calcium or any other vitamin from the human diet. Leukonychia is found to be completely harmless. This condition is found to be much more common in fingernails than in toenails.

Symptoms of Leukonychia

There is different pigmentation seen in certain leukonychia’s. Such as minor nail matrix may be seen or half nails with white colour proximal and pink or red, distal margins may be seen. This nail disorder has many different stages.

It may be like-leukonychia Partialis, Leukonychia Totalis, Leukonychia autosomal dominant that is congenital and the transverse Muehrack’s lines, Mee’s lines, etc. Transverse leukonychia lines or Leuknonychia Punctata is characterized by white spots and Terry’s nails are generally associated with severe cardiovascular disease Nails may also exhibit different abnormalities and evidences have shown that Leukonychia Striata and Leukonychia Totalis are distinct entities transmitting dominant genes. The most common signs and symptoms of leukonychia include gingivitis, hypereratosis, abnormal colored nails, deafness, and sensorineural syndactyly of fingers, joint contractures and arthrogryposis. Cause of Transverse leuckonychia multiple white lines in the fingernails are most probably due to abnormal keratinocyte maturation.

Treatment of Leukonychia

There is no treatment for leuconychia as such. The white marks will disappear on their own, that is when the nails grow outwards. Leuconychia causes change in the colour of the nails.

For temporary purpose, nail polish may be used. Cosmetically, it is advisable to soften the cuticles first with warm water before the use of coloured nail polish. Green leafy vegetables, whole grains nuts, etc should be consumed in daily diet, so as to prevent the deficiency of zinc in the body, which is usually associated with white spots.

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