Changes in the nail bed are common and can be benign. However, these types of changes can also be the first signs of a serious underlying condition. For this reason, it is very important to make an appointment to see your doctor
so that he or she can examine these nail changes and perform a complete evaluation.
Some infections can cause changes in the nail beds. The most prominent of these is what is called endocarditis, or an infection of one of the heart valves. This infection can lead to skin findings such as Janeway lesions (a red discoloration usually of the palms or soles) and/or Osler nodes, which are raised purplish-red nodules with a pale center usually located at the finger tips but can be below the nail beds. Certain toxins can also cause nail bed changes, such as arsenic poisoning, which can cause white lines below the nails. However, the most likely cause of your nail changes is a nutritional deficiency. Especially given that you have had both nail shape changes (which can be indicative of a nutritional deficiency) and appetite changes (which could be the cause of the nutritional deficiency), it is likely that you are not getting enough of one of the essential minerals or vitamins that your body needs. Low levels of two nutritional components in particular, zinc and iron, can cause nail shape changes and white lines below the nails.
I would strongly recommend making an appointment to see a nutritionist
to review your diet and to perform any blood tests that are indicated to check for systemic levels of the vitamins and/or minerals that could be causing your nail changes. Because there can be more wide-ranging effects from a nutritional deficiency than just nail changes, I urge you to make this appointment sooner rather than later. If you schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor
, he or she can also perform this evaluation and/or refer you to a nutritionist.