Medical News Today: Need to cut down on salt? Try something spicy instead

chili peppers
Eating spicy foods activates the same brain areas as eating salty ones — so why not try the former instead of the latter?
New research published in the journal Hypertension shows that eating spicy food may “trick” the brain into craving less salt.

Consuming too much salt is known to be bad for you. And according to a study recently covered by Medical News Today, too much sodium can significantly increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, and the mineral — which is usually derived from salt — can double the risk of heart failure.

In fact, the effect of excessive sodium is thought to be so bad for the heart that the World Health Organization (WHO) believe that we should all lower our salt intake by 30 percent if we want to avoid chronic disease. The WHO also want tobacco use lowered by the same percentage.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn that a high concentration of sodium in one’s diet “can raise blood pressure,” which is a “major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.”

The American Heart Association (AHA) also caution that people should not consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium every day. But is simply knowing that we need to cut down on salt enough to be able to do so?

Not quite. Salt cravings are underpinned by a complex neurological process, parts of which we have only just started to identify.

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Now, however, researchers think that they have found a way to “rig” this neurobiological process: eating spicy foods seems to be tricking our brain into not wanting salty foods as much.

The new study was supervised by Dr. Zhiming Zhu, a professor and director of the Department of Hypertension and Endocrinology at the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China.

Dr. Zhu explains the motivation for his research, saying, “Previously, a pilot study found that trace amounts of capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili peppers their pungent smell, enhanced the perception of food being salty.”

“We wanted to test whether this effect would also reduce salt consumption,” adds Dr. Zhu.

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‘Spicy foods may reduce salt preference’

Dr. Zhu and team examined 606 Chinese adults as part of a “multicenter, random-order, double-blind observational and interventional study.”

They analyzed the participants’ preferences for spicy and salty tastes and found that those with a high preference for spicy tastes tended to consume less salt than those with a low preference for spicy food.

Also, the systolic blood pressure of those who preferred spicy tastes was lower by 8 millimeters of mercury, and the diastolic blood pressure was lower by 5 millimeters of mercury than that of participants who preferred salty tastes.

To examine the effects that spicy food would have on the brain, Dr. Zhu and team administered capsaicin to the participants and used imaging techniques to examine their brain activity.

They found that the induced spicy taste activated the same brain areas as those activated by salt: the orbitofrontal cortex and the insula.

“In conclusion,” write the authors, “enjoyment of spicy foods may significantly reduce individual salt preference, daily salt intake, and blood pressure by modifying the neural processing of salty taste in the brain.”

“Application of spicy flavor may be a promising behavioral intervention for reducing high salt intake and blood pressure,” they conclude.

If you add some spices to your cooking, you can cook food that tastes good without using as much salt […] Yes, habit and preference matter when it comes to spicy food, but even a small, gradual increase in spices in your food may have a health benefit.”

Dr. Zhiming Zhu

However, the authors also admit that the study sample was limited to the Chinese population, so future studies should aim to investigate whether or not these findings can be replicated in other populations.

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Medical News Today: What you need to know about codependent relationships

The term ‘codependency’ is often used casually to describe relationships where a person is needy, or dependent upon, another person.

There is much more to this term than everyday clinginess. Codependent relationships are far more extreme than this. A person who is codependent will plan their entire life around pleasing the other person, or the enabler.

In its simplest terms, a codependent relationship is when one partner needs the other partner, who in turn, needs to be needed. This circular relationship is the basis of what experts refer to when they describe the “cycle” of codependency.

The codependent’s self-esteem and self-worth will come only from sacrificing themselves for their partner, who is only too glad to receive their sacrifices.

What’s the difference between codependence and dependence?

Heterosexual couple embracing.
In codependency, one person has their needs prioritised over the other’s.

It is important to know the difference between depending on another person — which can be a positive and desirable trait — and codependency, which is harmful.

The following are some examples that illustrate the difference:

Dependent: Two people rely on each other for support and love. Both find value in the relationship.

Codependent: The codependent person feels worthless unless they are needed by — and making drastic sacrifices for — the enabler. The enabler gets satisfaction from getting their every need met by the other person.

The codependent is only happy when making extreme sacrifices for their partner. They feel they must be needed by this other person to have any purpose.

Dependent: Both parties make their relationship a priority, but can find joy in outside interests, other friends, and hobbies.

Codependent: The codependent has no personal identity, interests, or values outside of their codependent relationship.

Dependent: Both people can express their emotions and needs and find ways to make the relationship beneficial for both of them.

Codependent: One person feels that their desires and needs are unimportant and will not express them. They may have difficulty recognizing their own feelings or needs at all.

One or both parties can be codependent. A codependent person will neglect other important areas of their life to please their partner. Their extreme dedication to this one person may cause damage to:

  • other relationships

  • their career

  • their everyday responsibilities

The enabler’s role is also dysfunctional. A person who relies upon a codependent does not learn how to have an equal, two-sided relationship and often comes to rely upon another person’s sacrifices and neediness.

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Signs and symptoms of codependency

It can be hard to distinguish between a person who is codependent and one who is just clingy or very enamored with another person. But, a person who is codependent will usually:

  • Find no satisfaction or happiness in life outside of doing things for the other person.

  • Stay in the relationship even if they are aware that their partner does hurtful things.

  • Do anything to please and satisfy their enabler no matter what the expense to themselves.

  • Feel constant anxiety about their relationship due to their desire to always be making the other person happy.

  • Use all their time and energy to give their partner everything they ask for.

  • Feel guilty about thinking of themselves in the relationship and will not express any personal needs or desires.

  • Ignore their own morals or conscience to do what the other person wants.

Other people may try to talk to the codependent about their concerns. But even if others suggest that the person is too dependent, a person in a codependent relationship will find it difficult to leave the relationship.

The codependent person will feel extreme conflict about separating themselves from the enabler because their own identity is centered upon sacrificing themselves for the other person.

How does a codependent relationship develop?

Codependency is a learned behavior that usually stems from past behavioral patterns and emotional difficulties. It was once thought to be a result of living with an alcoholic parent.

Experts now say codependency can result from a range of situations.

Damaging parental relationships

Mother drinking alcohol while scolding her toddler son
Alcohol, drugs, or other addictions are common factors that may lead parents to prioritise their needs over their children’s. This may cause the children to become codependent as adults.

People who are codependent as adults often had problems with their parental relationship as a child or teenager.

They may have been taught that their own needs were less important than their parents’ needs, or not important at all.

In these types of families, the child may be taught to focus on the parent’s needs and to never think of themselves.

Needy parents may teach their children that children are selfish or greedy if they want anything for themselves.

As a result, the child learns to ignore their own needs and thinks only of what they can do for others at all times.

In these situations, one of the parents may have:

  • an addiction problem with alcohol or drugs

  • a lack of maturity and emotional development, resulting in their own self-centered needs

These situations cause gaps in emotional development in the child, leading them to seek out codependent relationships later.

Living with a mentally or physically ill family member

Codependency may also result from caring for a person who is chronically ill. Being in the role of caregiver, especially at a young age, may result in the young person neglecting their own needs and developing a habit of only helping others.

A person’s self-worth may form around being needed by another person and receiving nothing in return.

Many people who live with an ill family member do not develop codependency. But, it can happen in these types of family environments, particularly if the parent or primary caretaker in the family displays the dysfunctional behaviors listed above.

Abusive families

Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse can cause psychological problems that last years or even an entire lifetime. One of the many issues that can arise from past abuse is codependency.

A child or teenager who is abused will learn to repress their feelings as a defense mechanism against the pain of abuse. As an adult, this learned behavior results in caring only about another’s feelings and not acknowledging their own needs.

Sometimes a person who is abused will seek out abusive relationships later because they are only familiar with this type of relationship. This often manifests in codependent relationships.

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Treatment for codependency

Counsellor in a therapy session with client, taking notes.
Individual or group therapy may be more beneficial than couples therapy, since it encourages the person to explore their feelings and behaviours as an individual outside of the relationship.

A few things can help toward forming a positive, balanced relationship:

  • People in codependent relationships may need to take small steps toward some separation in the relationship. They may need to find a hobby or activity they enjoy outside of the relationship.

  • A codependent person should try to spend time with supportive family members or friends.

  • The enabler must decide that they are not helping their codependent partner by allowing them to make extreme sacrifices.

Individual or group therapy is very helpful for people who are in codependent relationships. An expert can help them find ways to acknowledge and express their feelings that may have been buried since childhood.

People who were abused will need to recognize past abuse and start to feel their own needs and emotions again.

Finally, both parties in a codependent relationship must learn to acknowledge specific patterns of behavior, such as “needing to be needed” and expecting the other person to center their life around them.

These steps are not easy to do but are well worth the effort to help both parties discover how to be in a balanced, two-sided relationship.

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Medical News Today: Suicide could be predicted with brain imaging

an upset girl with her head in her hands
Researchers say that their new algorithm could identify individuals who are at high risk of suicide.
What if it was possible to predict which people are at high risk of suicide? Researchers may have brought us a step closer to such a feat, after developing a brain imaging technique that could pinpoint individuals with suicidal tendencies.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, around 44,193 U.S. people take their own lives — which is the equivalent to around 121 suicides every single day.

Risk factors for suicidal behavior include feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress, a history of mental illness, and a history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Demonstrating increased aggression, isolation, or a greater use of alcohol or drugs, or talking about suicide or being a burden to others can be warning signs for suicide.

However, the only way to truly know whether a person will attempt suicide is to pinpoint what is happening in their minds. A new study may have uncovered a way to do just that.

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the University of Pittsburgh — both in Pittsburgh, PA — have created a brain imaging method that can accurately distinguish between individuals with and without suicidal thoughts.

Study co-author Marcel Just, of the Department of Psychology at CMU, and colleagues recently reported their results in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

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Using fMRI to predict suicide risk

For their study, the researchers enrolled 34 participants. Of these, 17 had suicidal tendencies and 17 were control subjects.

The participants were all presented with three lists of 10 words. One included words with negative associations (such as “evil,” “cruelty,” and “trouble”), one included positive words (such as “good,” “carefree,” and “praise”), while the third included words related to suicide (such as “death,” “hopeless,” and “distressed”).

As the subjects were shown the word lists, they underwent functional MRI of the brain, which enabled the researchers to monitor their neural response to each word.

The scientists found that the subjects’ neural response to six words — “death,” “cruelty,” “trouble,” “carefree,” “good,” and “praise” — across five specific brain regions were best for distinguishing between participants with suicidal tendencies and the controls.

By training a “machine-learning algorithm” to use these data, the researchers found that they were able to identify subjects with and without suicidal tendencies with 91 percent accuracy.

Next, the team divided those with suicidal tendencies into two groups: those who had attempted suicide and those who had not. They found that their algorithm was able to distinguish between these two groups with 94 percent accuracy.

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Identifying the emotions behind the words

The researchers then set out to determine the mechanisms behind the varying neural responses between participants with suicidal tendencies and the control group.

Specifically, they wanted to find out what emotions were evoked when subjects thought of the six words that were used to pinpoint suicidal ideation and behavior.

To reach their findings, the team added neural signatures for different emotions — including sadness, anger, shame, and pride — to their machine-learning algorithm.

They found that the new algorithm was 85 percent accurate in identifying which subjects had suicidal tendencies.

“The benefit of this latter approach,” says Just, “sometimes called explainable artificial intelligence, is more revealing of what discriminates the two groups, namely the types of emotions that the discriminating words evoke.”

“People with suicidal thoughts experience different emotions when they think about some of the test concepts,” he continues. “For example, the concept of ‘death’ evoked more shame and more sadness in the group that thought about suicide. This extra bit of understanding may suggest an avenue to treatment that attempts to change the emotional response to certain concepts.”

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A tool for predicting suicide?

The researchers note that their results need to be replicated in a larger cohort, but they believe that the technique holds promise for pinpointing individuals who are at high risk of suicidal behavior.

Further testing of this approach in a larger sample will determine its generality and its ability to predict future suicidal behavior, and could give clinicians in the future a way to identify, monitor, and perhaps intervene with the altered and often distorted thinking that so often characterizes seriously suicidal individuals.”

Study co-author David Brent, University of Pittsburgh

Barry Horwitz — the chief of the Brain Imaging and Modeling Section at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, which forms a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — comments on the algorithm in an editorial accompanying the study.

He says that if the study results are confirmed in future research, “then a case can be made that functional neuroimaging has potential to become a major medical tool for diagnosis and/or evaluation of treatment efficacy of psychiatric disorders.”

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Medical News Today: All you need to know about ridges in fingernails

Many different health conditions can cause changes in the nails and nail bed, including shaping ridges in the nails. Vertical ridges in the fingernails are most common and are usually harmless.

There are times when ridges in the fingernails could be a sign of an underlying condition, especially if the ridges are horizontal.

A thorough diagnosis can help people and their doctors decide on a proper treatment plan in each case.

Types of fingernail ridges and their causes

Ridges on the fingernails.
Ridges on the fingernails may be vertical or horizontal. Usually, the cause is aging.

Vertical ridges caused by aging

Just as the skin may show signs of aging, the fingernails and nail beds may also start to change with age. The nails themselves may also:

  • become thicker or thinner

  • lose their smooth shape

  • begin to split

  • fissure

  • break easily

The nails may also start forming any number of vertical ridges as they grow. These ridges run from the tip of the finger down to the bottom of the nail and are not usually a cause for concern.

A trip to a dermatologist may still help in cases where symptoms cause pain or unsightly nails.

Other causes of vertical ridges

Other conditions may also cause vertical nail ridges along with other symptoms. Some types of anemia may influence vertical ridges in the nails, often accompanied by color changes in the nails or changes in texture.

Anemia can cause vertical ridges to appear and may also make dents appear in the nail.

A splinter hemorrhage is a tiny blood clot that can create a vertical discoloration beneath the nail. If the person does not know what caused the bleeding from the hemorrhage, they should consider a trip to the dermatologist.

Other medical disorders that can cause vertical ridges to appear in the nail include:

Ridges that appear alongside other symptoms such as rough or brittle nails that are not caused by aging may be a sign of other medical disorders and should be diagnosed by a doctor.

Horizontal nail ridges

Beau’s lines are nail ridges that run horizontally across the fingernail. These ridges are often deep, and multiple lines may appear across the nail.

Horizontal ridges are often a sign of an underlying condition that requires diagnosis and treatment. In some cases, the nails may stop growing until the condition is treated.

Beau’s lines might be a sign of:

  • acute kidney disease

  • diabetes

  • thyroid disease.

Beau’s lines may also appear in people who have undergone chemotherapy. People who have had mumps or syphilis may also get horizontal ridges in their fingernails and toenails.

Anyone who develops horizontal nail ridges should see their doctor for a diagnosis as soon as possible.

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Other causes and associated symptoms

Damaged nail with purple bruise spot being examined.
Damage to the nails through injury can cause ridges to develop. This is usually temporary, and will heal with time.

Many people with psoriasis experience problems with their fingernail and nail bed.

Eczema may also cause ridges and discoloration in the nail along with other symptoms on the skin.

Digestive disorders

Digestive disorders that affect the absorption of nutrients may also influence the nails.

Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis are all examples of disorders that can make it difficult for the body to absorb nutrition from food.

If the body does not have the proper building blocks to make new cells, the skin and nails may suffer.


An accident such as dropping a book on the fingernail can cause bruising to form underneath the nail and may temporarily change its shape.

Bruising can cause reddish brown spots to form underneath the nail, which will go away gradually as the cells heal and the nail grows out.

If discoloration shows up without an accident or injury, it may be a sign of something more serious. Dark brown, purple, or red spots under the nails may be signs of serious conditions, such as melanoma or endocarditis.


Fingernail ridges that appear suddenly or appear with any other symptoms should be examined by a doctor as soon as possible.

Typically, nail injuries do not require treatment. However, if damage to the nail is extensive, a person should see their doctor immediately.

During the diagnosis, the doctor will ask the person how the injury happened or how long they have noticed symptoms. They may also ask about the person’s medical history and any other symptoms they may have.

If doctors suspect an underlying disorder is causing fingernail ridges or other symptoms, they will often order additional tests and take blood or urine samples.

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What are the treatment options?

Person with skin cream and lotion on hand.
Treatment will be based on the underlying cause of the nail ridges. For example, treatment may include applying topical ointment or lotion to the hands if the cause is eczema.

Ridges in the fingernails are often a sign of an underlying condition. Treatment typically focuses on resolving the condition that is causing the nail ridges to appear.

For instance, if a skin condition such as eczema is causing ridges in the fingernails, the dermatologist will try to reduce the symptoms of eczema by prescribing topical treatments.

In doing so, the cells controlling fingernail creation may be healed, which would help the ridges disappear.


Although not every person will develop ridges in their fingernails as they age, unfortunately, there is no known way to prevent them from forming.

Eating a varied and healthful diet may be a positive step towards providing the body with the fuel it needs to create strong, healthy nails and prevent fingernail ridges.

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When fingernail ridges develop as a result of a person aging, they are harmless. However, anyone that notices any additional symptoms or changes in the nail that accompany the ridges should visit a doctor or dermatologist.

Healthcare practitioners may help diagnose and treat any underlying conditions causing the fingernail ridges.

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Medical News Today: Diabetes: Synthetic beta cells could lead to skin patch treatment

diabetes and medical equipment
Researchers design synthetic beta cells that could help people to manage their diabetes.
A team of scientists has created synthetic pancreatic beta cells that automatically release insulin when they sense high blood sugar.

In the journal Nature Chemical Biology, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh describe how they developed and tested the synthetic cells.

Senior author Zhen Gu, a professor in biomedical engineering at both universities, and team hope that one day, the cells could be used in a noninvasive skin patch to treat diabetes.

They found that just one injection of the synthetic beta cells kept blood sugar in diabetic mice at normal levels for 5 days.

Diabetes is a disease that develops when the body has problems with using or producing insulin, a hormone that helps cells to take in and convert blood sugar, or glucose, into energy.

The body produces insulin in the pancreas, which is a glandular organ behind the stomach that houses the beta cells that make and release the right amount of the hormone, depending on glucose levels.

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Need for noninvasive insulin delivery

Around 6 million of the 30 million people in the United States with diabetes manage the disease using insulin treatments, either by regular injections or with infusion pumps.

Over the years, there have been attempts to develop a pill form of insulin treatment, but they have encountered problems — including the fact that the body’s strong digestive system breaks down the large molecules in the pill before they make it to the bloodstream.

It is also possible to treat some cases of diabetes with transplanted pancreatic cells. However, these treatments are costly, need drugs that suppress immune reactions to the transplant, and rely on donated tissue, which is scarce. There is also a high risk that the transplanted cells will perish anyway.

In their study paper, the scientists explain that biological engineers have made several attempts to “recreate the key functions” of pancreatic beta cells for therapeutic purposes. They give examples, such as nanoparticles cloaked in cell membranes and microgels that slowly release drugs.

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Synthetic cells need to be smarter

But a common problem with previous approaches to mimic beta cells is their “single-compartment” structure and their “relatively passive” way of interacting with the biology of the body, note the authors.

Some researchers have tried to create multicompartment structures to mimic beta cells — for instance, to deliver a mixture of drugs or produce a cascading effect. 

But none so far have managed to “mimic the higher-order functions” of the natural beta cells whose sophisticated systems “can precisely sense the external environment, make internal decisions, and trigger feedback.”

The new study marks nearly a decade of work in which Prof. Gu and his team have been wrestling with this problem. The result is a synthetic beta cell that very closely mimics the key processes of natural pancreatic beta cells.

The synthetic beta cell has a simple double-membrane cell wall made of lipids, inside which are vesicles, or small sacs, full of insulin. In addition to the “vesicle-in-vesicle” structure there is a “glucose-metabolism system and membrane-fusion machinery.”

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Mice ‘remained normoglycemic’ for 5 days

When the glucose-metabolism system senses a rise in glucose levels, it triggers changes in the coating of the vesicles so that they begin to fuse with the outer membrane of the cell and release the insulin inside them.

“To our knowledge,” note the authors, “this synthetic system is the first of its kind that can sense glucose levels and readily secrete insulin through vesicle-fusion-mediated behavior.”

So far, the researchers have tested the synthetic beta cells in the laboratory and in diabetic mice lacking beta cells. 

“The mice went from hyperglycemic to normoglycemic within an hour,” Prof. Gu explains, “and they remained normoglycemic for up to 5 days after that.”

In contrast, injecting diabetic mice with synthetic beta cells that did not carry insulin did not bring down their high blood sugar levels.

The team now plans to carry out further tests with a view to developing a painless treatment that delivers synthetic beta cells using a skin patch.

Prof. Gu’s group is already developing a “smart insulin patch” that does not use cells but senses levels of blood sugar and automatically delivers insulin into the bloodstream.

They point out that there is still a lot of work to do before the synthetic cells can be tested in humans.

Our plan now is to further optimize and test these synthetic cells in larger animals, develop a skin patch delivery system for them, and ultimately test them in people with diabetes.”

Prof. Zhen Gu

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Medical News Today: Getting fit with friends may boost life quality

fitness class
Exercising with others may bring more benefits than working out on your own, a new study suggests.
New research suggests that group workouts are more effective for improving quality of life and reducing stress levels than individual workouts.

It is a widely accepted notion that regular exercise is beneficial to overall health — not just because it helps to prevent weight gain and maintain the body’s shape, but also because it has been found to reduce the impact of stress factors.

One study recently covered by Medical News Today, for instance, found that as little as 1 hour of exercise per week can prevent depression. Another study found that exercise improved muscle health and positively impacted life expectancy.

New research from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, ME, now suggests that the context in which you exercise may significantly affect the efficiency of the workout.

More specifically, exercising with a group of people seems to have a greater beneficial effect than an individual workout.

The communal benefits of coming together with friends and colleagues, and doing something difficult, while encouraging one another, pays dividends beyond exercising alone.”

Lead researcher Dr. Dayna Yorks

The study’s findings were published today in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

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Group workouts lower stress levels

Dr. Yorks and her team recruited 69 medical students at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. They targeted this group because previous studies had shown that medical students face considerable stress and report a lower quality of life.

The participants chose whether to join a 12-week group exercise program or to follow a similar 12-week plan on an individual basis.

In addition to these two groups, a third acted as the control. The participants in the control group did not engage in any exercise except walking or riding a bike on their usual routes, such as from home to work.

The researchers noted that the participants who had joined group workouts exhibited over 26 percent lower stress levels and reported an improved quality of life at the end of the program.

At the same time, the participants who had engaged in individual workouts appeared to have put more effort into their physical activity plan but gained much less from the experience, with no significant improvement of stress levels and little improvement of their overall quality of life.

“The findings support the concept of a mental, physical, and emotional approach to health that is necessary for student doctors and physicians,” says Dr. Yorks.

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Mental, emotional, physical improvements

At 4-week intervals during the program, the participants responded to surveys, rating their perceived stress levels and overall quality of life. They referred to three categories: mental, emotional, and physical.

Those who had joined the group workouts had to engage in CXWORX — a training program focusing on core strength and functional fitness — for 30 minutes at least once each week throughout the 12 weeks.

At the end of the program, the group workout participants self-reported significant improvements in all the categories surveyed by the researchers.

The team found a 12.6 percent improvement in mental health, a 24.8 percent improvement in physical well-being, and a 26 percent improvement in emotional well-being, as well as 26.2 percent lower stress levels.

Participants who chose to engage in individual workouts instead were allowed to pick their own fitness practices but were asked to exercise either alone or with a maximum of two partners.

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The lone participants exercised for twice as long as their counterparts, but the only significant improvement they reported was in their mental well-being, wherein they registered an 11 percent increase.

Dr. Yorks and team suggest that their findings should provide a “springboard” for medical schools to provide appropriate fitness facilities and programs for their students.

“Medical schools understand their programs are demanding and stressful,” suggests Dr. Yorks. “Given this data on the positive impact group fitness can have, schools should consider offering group fitness opportunities.”

“Giving students an outlet to help them manage stress and feel better mentally and physically,” she adds, “can potentially alleviate some of the burnout and anxiety in the profession.”

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Medical News Today: Life hacks: How to cope with night shifts

woman working at her computer at night
Night shifts can prove challenging for the body and mind, but there are steps that you can take to help you cope better.
What do doctors, nurses, firefighters, truck drivers, and air traffic controllers all have in common? Many of them work night shifts. Whether you are an early riser or a night owl, working shifts at night can be challenging. We have compiled some tips to help you cope with working into the late and early hours of the day.

Due to our modern 24-hour society, nearly 15 million people in the United States work full-time night shifts, evening shifts, rotational shifts, or other such irregular schedules. What is more, almost 19 percent of adult workers work for 48 hours or more every week, and more than 7 percent work for 60 hours or more each week.

Shift work and long working hours have been linked to a number of health issues, according to the National Sleep Foundation. These include an increased risk of metabolic problems, heart disease, gastrointestinal difficulties, obesity, and certain cancers.

Night shift work may also interfere with the body’s ability to repair DNA damage that occurs from normal cellular processes. The suppression of melatonin — which is the hormone responsible for regulating the internal body clock — may play a role.

Individuals need to work through the night for numerous reasons. Finding ways to cope can be the difference between living a healthy existence and being subjected to the many health and safety risks that are elevated during night shifts. Here are Medical News Today‘s coping strategies for working after dark.

1. Manage sleep patterns

Some people can work at night with no problem at all, while others experience sleep deprivation and fatigue. This is because the human body is designed to sleep at night-time.

woman sleeping in bed during the day
Ensure that your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool to promote better sleep.

The human body is controlled by an internal body clock, or circadian pacemaker, which is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus. The SCN generates circadian rhythms, which regulate behavioral and physiological processes in the body, including alertness, sleep, temperature control, and hormone production.

Circadian rhythms run in 24-hour cycles and are significantly influenced by the natural light and dark cycles. Many of the processes in your body that are active in the daytime slow down at night to prepare you for sleep. At night, the circadian pacemaker releases the sleep hormone melatonin from the pineal gland, which causes you to feel less alert and raises your desire to sleep.

Night shifts cause you to battle against your natural rhythms by trying to be alert when you are programmed to be sleeping. Similarly, when you go home after a night shift, the cues from your internal body clock and daytime light exposure tell you to be awake and active.

Adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep to function at their best. If you sleep for under that amount, you will incur “sleep debt.” The only way to pay back sleep debt is to catch up on sleep you have missed, and this has to occur as soon as possible after it is incurred.

Working at night involves successfully managing your sleep during the day — that is, to keep sleep debt to a minimum — and your fatigue during the night. Daytime sleep can be lighter, shorter, and of poorer quality than sleep at night due to light, noise, and temperature.

Try these steps to keep your sleep in check and make your environment more favorable for sleep.

  • Do not delay going to bed. The longer you delay going to bed, the more awake you are likely to become.

  • Try to set aside a block of 7 to 9 hours to dedicate to sleep after a night shift.

  • Have something to eat and drink before you go to bed. Pangs of hunger or thirst may wake you up.

  • Avoid alcohol before you try to sleep. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep, but it diminishes sleep quality and disturbs the deep stages of sleep, which will leave you feeling unrefreshed the next day.

  • Avoid smoking before bed. Nicotine is a stimulant and can therefore cause you to experience difficulties in getting to sleep.

  • Stay away from activities that make you feel more alert until the hours before your next shift.

  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature. Use earplugs to block out daytime noise and blackout curtains to prevent daylight entering the room. Electric fans can be useful to keep air circulating and provide neutral background noise.

  • Notify friends and family of your working hours so that they do not disturb you.

If this is your last shift in a block of night shifts, remember that the more days in a row that you have been working through the night, the more sleep debt you will likely have accrued. Repaying some of the sleep debt that you accumulate as quickly as possible will help you to recover sooner.

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2. Control light exposure

Exposure to light cues chemical events to be triggered by the circadian pacemaker that affects your sleep and wake cycles. For example, melatonin is released as it gets dark in the evening to make you feel drowsy, while melatonin is suppressed and cortisol elevated by the morning light to make you feel more awake.

man with sunglasses driving a truck
Wear sunglasses on your journey home to suppress light exposure.

Artificial light can affect your circadian pacemaker in the same way as sunlight, and timed exposure to bright light can help to alter your body’s sleep cycle.

During night shifts, you can try to “trick” your body into an alert state with exposure to bright light, and promote sleep by suppressing light exposure after your shift.

Research has shown that night workers who were exposed to bright light during their shift and wore sunglasses on the way home to suppress light drifted off to sleep quicker and slept for longer after their shift than people who received no bright light exposure. Furthermore, another study found that intermittent exposure to bright light is almost as effective as continual exposure.

Beware of exposure to blue light emitted from digital devices, such as your smartphone, tablet, or television, before you go to bed after a night shift. Research has suggested that blue light knocks our circadian rhythms off-kilter, which signals to your brain that it is daytime and results in poorer sleep quality.

Ways that you can control your exposure to light include:

  • increasing bright light exposure during your shift with regular overhead lights or a bright desk lamp or lightbox

  • wearing sunglasses on your journey home

  • using blackout blinds, curtains, or drapes or a sleep mask to block out daylight in your bedroom

  • not watching TV before you go to bed

  • switching off digital devices situated in your bedroom, including powering down tablets and computers, putting your phone away, and blocking light from bright alarm clocks

Keeping your bedroom dark will help to keep your body in sleep mode until it is time for you to wake up and begin your day.

3. Watch your diet

When typical daily rhythm is thrown off balance, so too is metabolism. Night shift workers are more likely to experience metabolic syndrome and have a 29 percent increased risk of becoming overweight or obese due to poor diet and the disruption of the body clock.

Planning your meals can help you to stay alert during your working hours and be more relaxed when you need to sleep.

lunchbox filled with healthy foods
Take healthful foods and snacks to work to both keep you alert and prevent obesity.

  • Try to stick to a similar eating pattern to the one that you would follow during the daytime.

  • Eat frequent light meals or healthful snacks to avoid the drowsiness that is associated with heavy meals.

  • Choose foods that are easy for your body to digest, including bread, rice, pasta, salad, milk products, fruits, and vegetables.

  • Avoid foods that are difficult to digest, such as fried, spicy, and processed meals.

  • Steer clear of sugary foods. Although they provide a short-term energy boost, this is quickly followed by an energy dip.

  • Snack on fruits and vegetables. Sugars from these are converted slowly into energy, and they are an important source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

  • Keep hydrated while you are working to promote physical and mental performance, but do not overload the bladder with fluid before bed.

Access to the grocery store and adequate facilities to prepare food can be hard for night workers. Be prepared and take food to work to ensure that you eat properly and stay alert.

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4. Take a nap

Taking a nap can become an essential element of working safely overnight. While a short nap before you start your shift can help to combat fatigue, a nap during your break may be vital for maintaining alertness and remaining vigilant.

man napping at his desk
Take a 45-minute nap during your break to help you feel refreshed and to restore brainpower.

A nap taken midway through the day has been shown to boost and restore brainpower. Even naps of 20 to 45 minutes in length have proven beneficial for shift workers to counteract fatigue.

Ideally, your night shift naps should not exceed 45 minutes. Sleep is comprised of different stages, which complete in cycles of between 90 and 100 minutes. One sleep cycle runs from light sleep to deep sleep.

Be careful about how long you nap for in order to ensure that you do not wake up during deep sleep. Deep sleep waking is associated with greater sleep inertia, meaning that you will take longer to feel alert and will not feel refreshed.

5. Use caffeine wisely

Caffeine is a stimulant. When used carefully, your daily dose of coffee can help you to remain alert throughout a shift. However, improper use can cause gastrointestinal upsets and muscle shakes.

woman sipping coffee at her desk at night
Small regular doses of caffeine can enhance wakefulness and help you to perform better.

Most people take a huge dose of coffee at the start of their shift in order to jump-start their day. However, research suggests taking a different approach to maximize the effects of caffeine for shift workers.

Workers that consumed smaller — equivalent to quarters of cups of coffee — and more frequent doses of caffeine throughout their day experienced enhance wakefulness, performed better on cognitive tests, and had fewer accidental naps than those who had had no caffeine.

Some evidence suggests that the effects of caffeine kick in after around 20 minutes, and that a small dose of caffeine before a nap can counter the sleep inertia you may experience after you awake.

Caffeine use should be stopped around 6 hours before bedtime to ensure that the stimulant does not affect your sleep.

Every person is different, so finding the right combination of techniques that suit you best may take time. Applying some of the above strategies may help you on your way to coping better with working at night and ensuring that you get the right amount of sleep to function properly.

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Medical News Today: What causes dactylitis (sausage fingers)?

Dactylitis is swelling of the fingers and toes that can cause them to have a sausage-like appearance. Sometimes called sausage digit, dactylitis can be a symptom of several different medical conditions.

In this article, we look at the most common causes of dactylitis, as well as how it is diagnosed and treated.

What is dactylitis?

Allergic reaction in hands, causing redness and swelling.
Dactylitis causes the fingers and hand to be become bloated and swollen.

One of the ways the body’s immune system responds to illnesses and injuries is through a process called inflammation. Inflammation causes swelling, pain, and other physical changes while the body is fighting an infection.

Dactylitis is a form of inflammation in the fingers or toes. Symptoms include swelling in one or more fingers or toes, and often in the entire hand or foot. The swelling gives the fingers a bloated, sausage-like appearance. The swelling may be painful and can make it difficult to move the affected area.

Dactylitis can be due to an infection or because of a change in the immune system. It is often the result of an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune diseases cause the immune system to attack healthy tissues.

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Six common causes of dactylitis

Any disease or infection that causes inflammation has the potential to cause dactylitis. The most common causes of swollen fingers or toes include:

1. Sickle cell disease

Sickle cell disease is a group of genetic disorders of the red blood cells. Normally, red blood cells are shaped like discs. In people with sickle cell disease, changes in hemoglobin can alter the shape of blood cells to a sickle or curved shape.

Hemoglobin carries oxygen around the body, so changes in hemoglobin proteins can affect the body’s ability to get enough oxygen. The lack of oxygen in the tissues causes sudden, severe pain and a person may need to go to the hospital for treatment.

Dactylitis may be the first symptom in people with sickle cell disease, especially in children. It can appear in infants as young as 6 months old.

When dactylitis occurs as a side effect of sickle cell disease, it can be accompanied by a fever, pain, and an increase in white blood cells. Children with swollen fingers should be evaluated by a doctor for sickle cell and other diseases.

2. Tuberculosis

Dactylitis is a rare complication of tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is an infectious bacterial disease that can cause inflammation in the lungs. In rare cases, it can cause bone inflammation.

This bone inflammation causes the bones of the hands or feet to swell, producing pain and changes in the shape of the fingers or toes. In most cases, only one side of the body is affected. Leprosy is another disease that can cause similar changes in the fingers.

3. Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that can affect the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, and other organs. It causes severe problems in the organs and can even be fatal.

Very rarely, sarcoidosis can affect the bones and muscles of the hands, causing painful swelling. People with this symptom may also develop lupus pernio, which causes lesions and plaques on the face, ears, and fingers.

4. Syphilis

Syphilitic dactylitis <br>Image credit: Internet Archive Book Images, (2015, September 17)</br>
Syphilitic dactylitis may be caused by congenital syphilis.
Image credit: Internet Archive Book Images, (2015, September 17)

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Pregnant women with syphilis can pass the disease on to their babies, resulting in congenital syphilis.

In rare cases, babies born with congenital syphilis can develop dactylitis of the fingers or toes. This is due to inflammation in the bone and tissue, and usually, affects both sides of the body.

5. Spondyloarthritis

Spondyloarthritis refers to types of arthritis that affect the joints and the entheses, which are the tissues where tendons and ligaments attach to bones. One of the most common forms of spondyloarthritis is psoriatic arthritis. Dactylitis can sometimes be a sign of advanced psoriatic arthritis.

Dactylitis is common in spondyloarthritis, affecting about a third of people with the condition. Researchers do not yet have a clear understanding of why so many people with spondyloarthritis get dactylitis, but they know it is due to swelling in the joints and surrounding tissues. 

People with rheumatoid arthritis do not get dactylitis, so some doctors use the presence of dactylitis to help diagnose the form of arthritis a person has.

6. Infection

Some infections can cause swelling of the tissue deep below the skin or even in the bone. This swelling can cause symptoms of dactylitis.

A form of dactylitis called blistering distal dactylitis is due to an infection of the fatty pad of a single finger or toe. Commonly caused by skin infections, such as Streptococcus or Staphylococcus, this form of dactylitis occurs due to problems with circulation.

Blistering distal dactylitis can be extremely painful and may produce lesions or blisters on or near the affected area. The condition is more common in children than in adults.

Symptoms and diagnosis

Dactylitis <br>Image credit: Internet Archive Book Images, (2015, September 17)</br>
Dactylitis will be diagnosed with various tests, rather than just a visual assessment.
Image credit: Internet Archive Book Images, (2015, September 17)

The symptoms of dactylitis vary depending on the cause. For example, infections tend to affect only one finger, while dactylitis due to syphilis affects multiple fingers.

The appearance of dactylitis alone cannot accurately diagnose the cause. Instead, a doctor may perform X-rays or take blood tests to help determine the cause. They will also ask about the person’s medical history.

The doctor may ask when the swelling appeared, whether it is accompanied by other symptoms, and whether the person has been previously diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, inflammatory condition, or infection.

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Treatment and management

Treatment for dactylitis primarily involves addressing the underlying cause of the swelling.

People with arthritis may need to take arthritis medications, while infections may require antibiotics. If the swelling is painful, a doctor may prescribe pain medications or recommend the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as ibuprofen.

A person with tuberculosis or sickle cell disease may be very ill and require hospitalization. This is especially true for children.


With prompt treatment, the outlook for dactylitis is good. The pain and swelling typically go away when the underlying condition is treated. In the case of sickle cell-related dactylitis, the swelling usually goes away on its own.

Many causes of dactylitis, however, are incurable chronic illnesses. These diseases may require ongoing treatment and management. If treatment stops working, dactylitis can reoccur.

People with psoriatic arthritis may have multiple dactylitis flare-ups as the disease progresses. Careful management and monitoring can reduce the severity of dactylitis, and may prevent it from returning.

Because many of the conditions that cause dactylitis are serious, it is vital that a person sees a doctor as soon as possible for swollen fingers.

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Medical News Today: Does menopause cause dizziness?

Menopausal dizziness is normal and does not usually indicate a medical problem. However, unexplained dizziness should be discussed with a doctor because the symptom can be a sign of something more serious.

Women are more likely to experience dizziness during menopause, possibly due to the aging process and changes in hormone levels. Dizziness is not a disease but a symptom of something happening inside the body.

This article discusses the potential causes and treatment of menopausal dizziness. 

What causes dizziness during menopause?

Researchers are still not clear about the link between dizziness and menopause. Here are some possible explanations:

Hormonal changes

woman suffering from dizziness
Changes in hormone levels may be a cause of dizziness during perimenopause.

Menopause symptoms appear during perimenopause, the transition to menopause. This phase begins when periods become irregular.

Perimenopause lasts 4 to 8 years until menstruation has completely stopped for a year and menopause is complete. Women typically reach menopause between age 40 and 58.

During perimenopause, the ovaries decrease their productions of estrogen and progesterone, the hormones responsible for maintaining the reproductive system.

These hormones also play a role in the activity of other organs, including the brain, the heart, and the pancreas.

Sudden drops and changes in fertility hormone levels can lead to dizziness by impacting the following:

The inner ear

The brain senses balance through the otoconia, an organ of the inner ear made up of tiny crystals called otoliths.

At least one study demonstrates a link between estrogen loss and a weakening of the otoconia in females experiencing benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), a disorder defined by episodes of dizziness that occur during movement.


The body’s metabolic system breaks down food into simple sugars called glucose and delivers it to cells, which use the glucose for energy. Estrogen plays a role in maintaining this process.

When the body’s estrogen levels drop, cells throughout the body may not receive enough glucose. This can lead to fatigue and dizziness.

The heart

Hormonal changes during menopause can also lead to heart palpitations, where the heart seems to pound or skip a beat. The irregular heartbeats can trigger dizziness.

The brain

Estrogen helps the brain understand the body’s position in its surrounding environment.

When estrogen levels fall, the brain may become disoriented, leading to a feeling of imbalance or spinning.


The aging process can cause the inner ear and other body systems to stop working as well as they used to.

This loss of function may be made worse by the hormonal changes associated with menopause.

Indirect causes

Dizziness is sometimes a symptom of a menopause-related condition, rather than a direct symptom of menopause.

Changes in fertility hormones can trigger the following conditions, leading to dizziness:


Hormonal changes associated with menopause can disrupt sleep, causing an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep for a full 7 to 8 hours.

Chronic difficulty sleeping, known as insomnia, can hinder brain functions, leading to dizziness.

Hot flashes

Around 75 percent of women in the United States experience hot flashes during perimenopause, where a hot feeling temporarily spreads throughout the face, neck, and upper body.

Hot flashes usually happen during the first 6 months to 2 years of perimenopause and can continue to occur for up to 10 years. Dizziness and disorientation can result from hot flashes.


One study found that menopause may encourage epigone migraine vertigo, a migraine headache accompanied by episodes of dizziness.

Anxiety and stress

Worry and panic can increase during menopause due to hormonal changes or midlife events, such as concerns about aging and taking care of elderly parents.

Anxious feelings can culminate in a panic attack, which may include dizziness as a symptom.

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When to see a doctor

doctor talking to female patient
Speak to a doctor if dizziness is restricting daily activities or causing additional symptoms.

Talking to a doctor about dizziness in connection with menopause can help identify its causes and rule out the possibility of vestibular disorders.

These are a class of medical conditions affecting the inner ear or the part of the brain that interprets the senses.

People should contact a doctor immediately if dizziness worsens, persists, or affects daily activities.

As dizziness is common to many conditions, people should mention any additional symptoms they are experiencing to the doctor. This can help provide clues about what is happening inside the body. It is important to include details about the onset of dizziness.

It also helps to indicate the type of dizziness, which can include:

  • Light-headedness: the head feels weightless.

  • Disequilibrium: the ground feels imbalanced or shifting.

  • Vertigo: the surroundings appear to be spinning.


Doctors can only treat dizziness by addressing the underlying cause.

Often, women can manage dizziness that comes from a hormonal imbalance related to menopause with lifestyle changes. In some cases, doctors may recommend hormone replacement therapy.

Lifestyle changes

woman writing in notebook
Keeping a journal of daily habits may help to identify what is causing the dizziness.

  • Drink plenty of water: Drink at least 8 cups of water (64 ounces) throughout the day. Avoid soda, alcohol, and coffee.

  • Eat frequent small meals and snacks: Eating small meals and snacks throughout the day can help maintain blood sugar levels. Choose foods with complex carbs — such as whole grains and vegetables — and lean proteins, such as eggs, chicken, and fish. 

  • Maintain a sleep schedule: To improve sleep, keep a regular bedtime and wake time. Regular exercise, healthful eating, and hydration can also improve sleep.

  • Reduce stress: Regular brisk exercise for at least 150 minutes a week can help reduce stress. Additionally, breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga can improve stress levels. Talk therapy and avoiding triggers of stress may also help.

  • Balance exercises: The American Speech Language and Hearing Association recommend regular balancing exercises to strengthen muscles that support balance.

Keep a journal

The Vestibular Disorders Association recommend maintaining a log of daily habits to help pinpoint factors that trigger dizziness.

A dizziness log or journal can be used to track symptoms, food, activities, and medications. 

Hormone therapy

Hormone replacement therapy can help relieve perimenopause symptoms, including dizziness. This kind of treatment supplements the body’s estrogen or progesterone through oral medications, patches, or injections.

Although its effectiveness is well-documented, hormone therapy may increase the risk of breast cancer, blood clots, and stroke.

To lower the risks, doctors have begun prescribing lower doses of hormones for a shorter duration of time.

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Menopausal dizziness generally lasts as long as the perimenopausal phase. Once full menopause is reached, the symptoms should stop.

Dizziness is a common symptom of aging and episodes can recur, however.

People should talk to a doctor if dizziness limits daily activities, triggers additional symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, or continues after menopause.

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Medical News Today: Onycholysis: Treatments for detached nails

Onycholysis is when a person’s nail or nails detach from the skin underneath. Although not a serious health condition by itself, onycholysis can be a symptom of a potentially serious illness.

It is important for a person to understand what onycholysis is and what it may mean so they can make informed medical decisions.

What is onycholysis?

Onycholysis in fingernail. <br>Image credit: CopperKettle, (2012, September 9)</br>
Onycholysis may occur in the fingernails or toenails.
Image credit: CopperKettle, (2012, September 9)

Onycholysis occurs when the nail separates from the nail bed or the skin directly beneath the nail. There are several possible causes for this common condition.

Onycholysis can last for several months and will typically correct itself when the nail fully grows out. Until then, the nail will not reattach to the skin beneath it.

Recovery time varies for onycholysis as it is largely dependent on nail growth. It is not uncommon for fingernails to take about 4 to 6 months to grow to a full size. Toenails may take up to 8 months.

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When a person has onycholysis, the nail will start to pull away from the nail bed beneath. A person may also notice the nail turns a different color. What color it changes to depends on what is causing the onycholysis.

Some of the possible colors include:

  • white

  • gray

  • yellowish

  • green

  • purple

Onycholysis itself is usually not painful. However, the underlying cause of onycholysis may cause pain.


Onycholysis, nail coming away from skin. <br>Image credit: Alborz Fallah, (2013, August 3)</br>
Onycholysis may not always have an obvious cause.
Image credit: Alborz Fallah, (2013, August 3)

The cause of a person’s onycholysis varies widely. A person may experience an injury or repetitive trauma.

Simply tapping nails repeatedly for a long time can cause the nail to separate from the skin. Injuries such as slamming a finger in a car door or stubbing a toe may also cause onycholysis.

Some other typical causes include:

  • reaction to chemicals, such as nail polish, nail polish remover, or household cleaners

  • fungal infections, common in the feet

  • psoriasis

  • reaction to medication

If a person’s nails are detaching from the nail bed, it may be because of an underlying medical condition. If onycholysis cannot be explained by one of the more usual causes listed above, it may be one of the first symptoms of something more serious going on inside the body.

Health problems that can cause onycholysis include:

  • a severe yeast infection

  • thyroid disease

  • vitamin and mineral deficiencies

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The first step in treating onycholysis is to determine what is causing the nail to lift from the nail. Treating the correct condition will allow the nail to heal and reattach to the skin as it grows out again.

Injuries may not require much additional treatment. However, if the skin opened, it is important to keep the area clean and prevent infection. A person should take care not to clean under the nail, as the water may push bacteria or fungus deeper under the nail.

Fungal Infections require antifungal medication to heal the underlying infection. Typically, fungus medication is administered through medicated creams and ointment applied near or on the nail.

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches on the skin. In some cases, psoriasis flares can affect the nails.

Nails affected by psoriasis may turn an ashy color and detach from the nail bed underneath. Psoriasis is typically treated with topical creams, creams, biologics, systemics, and phototherapy.

Thyroid issues can cause onycholysis and often require medications that help the thyroid regulate hormone production.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are often treated with dietary changes. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe or recommend supplements. A person with brittle or detaching nails may be required to take iron supplements to help the nails regain strength.

Home remedies that may help onycholysis include a range of essential oils. There is some evidence that tea tree oil can help treat fungus infections. Often combined with a carrier oil, tea tree oil has natural antifungal properties and might mean a person does not have to seek further treatment.

No matter the cause, it is important for a person to follow a doctor’s instructions on how to treat the underlying condition. Failing to treat the underlying cause fully may result in onycholysis worsening or recurring.


Woman tying shoelaces for running shoes/trainers, whilst outside in woods.
Wearing comfortable footwear for exercise or work may help to prevent onycholysis from ocurring.

It is not always possible to prevent onycholysis. However, a person can try:

  • avoiding wearing warm, wet shoes for prolonged periods

  • wearing gloves and appropriate footwear when exercising or doing manual labor

  • keeping psoriasis well controlled with therapies and medications

  • eating a balanced diet and supplementing with vitamin D and iron if needed

  • managing any thyroid conditions

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When to see a doctor

Since the nail’s health is a potential visible sign of a more serious condition, it is important to take onycholysis seriously.

No matter the cause, it is possible that further treatment will be needed to fight off the infection. A person should see his or her doctor as soon as possible once the symptoms start.


When the underlying condition is treated and under control, onycholysis will usually clear up over the course of a few months.

Failing to treat the underlying cause may result in further medical complications or the nail failing to heal. It is important to follow a doctor’s recommendations to ensure the underlying condition is treated correctly.

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