Clubbing of the fingers is not really a disease. Rather, it is caused by an underlying health condition. It’s not just the fingertips that undergo changes but the nails as well. Aside from the fingers, the toes may also undergo clubbing.
The tips of the finger tend to appear larger, often accompanied by warmth and reddening. The nails are affected too, curving downward just like an upside-down spoon. The nail beds also end up soft. Because the nails and cuticle form a sharp angle, it appears as though that the nails are merely floating rather than attached to the fingers.
Changes in the fingertips and nails take place really quickly. Often, it can happen in just a matter of weeks. Because finger clubbing is a symptom of a few serious medical conditions, it is important for the person to be checked by a doctor. The underlying problems causing finger clubbing tend to cause a decrease in the amount of oxygen in the blood.
In order to manage finger clubbing, it is necessary to receive treatment for the causative factor, which is the underlying medical condition. By having the health problem dealt with, it is possible for the tips of the fingers and nails to assume their normal appearance. Let us take a look at some of the common causative factors of finger clubbing:
• Lung cancer – According to medical authorities, lung cancer is the most prevalent cause of clubbing of the fingers. This disease happens when there are abnormal cells in the lungs that grow or multiply out of control. Smoking considerably increases your risk of having lung cancer.
• Pulmonary fibrosis – This is characterized by the thickening and scarring of the lung tissues, resulting in breathing problems. Usually, the cause of pulmonary fibrosis is unknown, although smoking and viral infections may be blamed. While there is no cure for it, the progression of the disease may be managed.
• Bronchiectasis – When the airways cannot get rid of excess mucus brought about by an infection or any other problem, they tend to widen and end up scarred. To date, there is no cure for bronchiectasis although its progression can be controlled. If not managed properly, it may lead to respiratory or heart failure.
• Asbestosis – Just like what the name pretty much suggests, this disease of the respiratory system is caused by exposure to asbestos. It leaves the lung tissue scarred, and this causes difficulty and breathing and decreased oxygen level in your blood. There is no cure for asbestosis, although the symptoms can be managed.
• Tetralogy of fallot – This heart disease involves 4 different types of abnormalities concerning the structure of the heart, and this is congenital — something you’re born with. It has an impact on the flow of blood to the heart. Since it causes the narrowing of the pulmonary artery, cyanosis (bluish discoloration of the skin) is a symptom.
• Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – A type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, this medical condition can have a negative impact on the immune system. Although it’s not always clear why this disease develops, there are a few known risk factors such as obesity, exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus and a weakened immune system.
These are some of the most common medical conditions behind the clubbing of fingers. Other problems that may give rise to it include an overactive thyroid gland, cirrhosis of the liver, celiac disease, graves disease and dysentery. Having these conditions treated or managed can help provide relief from finger clubbing.
While waiting for the underlying disease to be put under control, there are a few home remedies that may be done by the afflicted person in order to deal with finger clubbing. Some of the most effective ones are the following:
- Soaking the fingernails in a mixture of 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Applying tomato juice on the affected fingernails.
- Regularly massaging a drop of tea tree oil on each clubbed fingernail.
- Adding more vitamin E-rich foods in the diet such as nuts, seeds and leafy greens.