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#1
Old 12-10-2006, 05:28 PM
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What would cause hair and fingernails to stop growing?

What kind of medical condition would cause fingernails to stop growing? And why? (Other than malnutrition.) I have been googling but have had no luck so far.

Thank you.
#2
Old 12-10-2006, 06:13 PM
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Baldness and smashing your fingertips repeatedly with a hammer? Death?

Is this something that you're personally going through?
#3
Old 12-10-2006, 06:21 PM
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From here

Quote:
Your nails are: The nail bed is blue, red, yellow, or white.
Possible culprit: Poor circulation from heart or lung disease. Lack of oxygen in the blood stream can result in blue nail beds. If they are white, liver disease could be the reason. Pale nail beds can indicate anemia. Diabetes may show itself as yellowish nail beds that are pink at the base. If the nail is half pink and half white, consider kidney disease as a possibility. If your nails yellow, seem to stop growing, and thicken, lung disease may be the reason
. \

and here

Quote:
Nails grow slower:
when the quick doesn't contain enough blood,
the older a person is,
when the blood contains substances that stunt growth (e.g. the cytostatics in chemotherapy with cancer, hazardous substances from smoking),
malnutrition,
high fever.

When nail growth is stunted by a serious disease with high fever, you will often see a ridge running over the nails. This grows out as your nail grows.
#4
Old 12-10-2006, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cluricaun
Is this something that you're personally going through?
No, not at all. The sister of an acquaintance has doctors stumpted because "all tests are normal". Her situation simply made me curious because I know of no condition other than malnutrition that would cause hair and fingernails to completely stop growing.

I'm not soliciting medical advice. I have never met my friend's sister. I know very little about her ailment and as I'm not a family member, it's not any of my business, so I didn't pry. He just mentioned in casual conversation that she is "in a bad way" suffering from overwhelming fatigue and her hair and fingernail have stopped growing. She is under medical care, although "normal" results from whichever tests they are doing have them stumpted.

I'm confident the doctors will sort it out in time. Meanwhile, it piqued my curiosity because that sounds unusual to me. I've never heard of an illness which makes your fingernails and hair stop growing. I went googling, but found nothing except references to malnutrition.
#5
Old 12-10-2006, 07:36 PM
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According to QI ('Quite Interesting', a splendid BBC program) hair and nails stop growing after death.
The rumour that growth continued is because skin shrinkage makes them look longer.
#6
Old 12-10-2006, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glee
According to QI ('Quite Interesting', a splendid BBC program) hair and nails stop growing after death.
The rumour that growth continued is because skin shrinkage makes them look longer.
One would hope my friend's sister continues to remain very much alive!

Her hair and fingernails are not growing presently.

Mystery illness?
#7
Old 12-10-2006, 08:43 PM
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Before I take a stab at it, can you clarify, please: Is her falling out? or has it simply stopped growing? If the latter, how can she be sure it's stopped as opposed to slowed down. Ditto re: her nails (well, not the falling out).
#8
Old 12-10-2006, 08:58 PM
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When I was suffering from overwhelming fatigue and poor nail growth (my hair growth was more or less normal), the cause was iron deficiency anemia from excessive blood loss.
#9
Old 12-10-2006, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlGauss
Before I take a stab at it, can you clarify, please: Is her falling out? or has it simply stopped growing? If the latter, how can she be sure it's stopped as opposed to slowed down. Ditto re: her nails (well, not the falling out).
I'm not sure, since my friend was vague. I got the impression she still has fingernails, but they have not been growing or appear to have stopped growing for several months. I'm sure he would have said that his sister's nails had fallen out if that had been the case, because that would be more alarming. Ditto her hair. It's not falling out, it just does not appear to be growing. The growth stoppage/slow-down is noticeable due to the length of time.

She is a few years older than my friend, so I would guess she is roughly forty-five.

I got the general impression that the family is very concerned by the "mystery" aspect. Their poor mother is terribly worried. I believe she (sister, not mother) will be visiting some "special, private facility" in the new year. They made it sound like and episode of the television show House.
#10
Old 12-10-2006, 09:25 PM
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Lichen planus is an inflammatory condition that can cause loss of the hair and nails. There are loads of other possibilities. Without additional details, you won't get good info. GIGO, you know.
#11
Old 12-10-2006, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choosybeggar
Without additional details, you won't get good info. GIGO, you know.
True, true. Hard to satisfy my curiosity with so little information. She is not losing hair or fingernails, they just don't appear to be growing.

I suppose the main reason I am so curious is because all her initial test results came back within thier respective ranges of "normal".

I can only assume that these "tests" were the standard CBC and CHEM-7 type tests that hospitals and clinics routinely run to check for things like anemia.

I think the "normal" results brings out the House/Quincy wannabe in me.
#12
Old 12-10-2006, 10:52 PM
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Although there are lots of conditions where the fingernails change in appearance or texture, or both, to my knowledge there are not a lot of specific illnesses where there is slowing or absence of nail growth. Much the same for slowing of hair growth versus hair loss. In other words, the symptoms of growth slowing don't cry out and say, "It's 'X'", where 'X' is some weird disease.

If the story was loss of hair, there'd be no shortage of possible explanations. Likewise if the problem was that of a coarsening or brittleness of the hair, a number of distinct possibilities would arise. But, slowing of hair growth, that's certainly not a prominent symptom for any one specific disease.

That being said, it is the case that generally, any physical or mental stress of sufficient degree can lead to a slowing of both hair and fingernail growth. So, perhaps the explanation in this case is that she's recently experienced some stress, the existence of which she may be withholding. Or, maybe she hasn't thought to mention it, or perhaps no-one's asked her about it.

And, again, I'll note that to my knowledge, slowing of hair and/or nail growth doesn't suggest any particular disease. Rather, it's a non-specific symptom of any major stress to "the organism".

Again, I'm assuming with these comments that you're referring to a true slowing of growth and not a loss of hair or nails. Of course, my answer would be quite different if that were the case.

Finally, on a tangent, I would have to wonder whether the "slowing" of hair growth might not actually be her pulling her hair out (trichotillomania). Similarly, maybe the "slowing" of nail growth is actually excessive biting (or chewing) of the fingernails (a habit which is associated with trichotillomania).
#13
Old 12-10-2006, 10:58 PM
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My hair doesn't really grow either...It reaches a certain point (just past the shoulder) and it refuses to grow any longer. I don't even have split ends. It's quite frustrating, but I didn't think it was anything medical. Reading this makes me think maybe I should go to a doctor or something
#14
Old 12-11-2006, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlGauss
AThat being said, it is the case that generally, any physical or mental stress of sufficient degree can lead to a slowing of both hair and fingernail growth. So, perhaps the explanation in this case is that she's recently experienced some stress, the existence of which she may be withholding.
It's possible, though I was under the impression that her health condition is actually quite dire (I'm assuming there are other symtpoms I don't know about) and the family feels the situation is grave. It could be that the stress of being ill has caused the slow down in nail and hair growth.

Quote:
Finally, on a tangent, I would have to wonder whether the "slowing" of hair growth might not actually be her pulling her hair out (trichotillomania). .
No, her hair is all attached to her head. She is not losing any hair "volume". It's all still there. She's a typical SUV-driving soccer-mom, and she keeps her hair in a shorter, efficient style. She's not needed to go to get her regular trim (or regular manicure) in several months which is how she noticed the stoppage/slow-down in growth for both.

Perhaps, as you said, the stoppage/slow-down in nail growth is just a sign of the overall systemic stress of her mystery illness. If I feel comfortable asking my friend for more details, I will do so when I next see him.
#15
Old 12-11-2006, 12:00 PM
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Google is such a tease! I have found a site that had this to say:
Quote:
If, for any reason, the packing of cells stops, the nail will stop growing. There could be various reasons for this, ranging from physical damage to the root, to drug side effects, or disease processes.
This is hinting at what I am curious about: what disease processes affect cell packing function of the fingernail matrix that makes the nail grow? Would it be something systemic so all skin and hair would cease its replenishment cycle? Or localized like "fingernail cancer from outer space?"
#16
Old 12-11-2006, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swallowed My Cellphone
I think the "normal" results brings out the House/Quincy wannabe in me.
Maybe it's lupus.




Just a joke. Not implying that lupus is responsible. IANAD but I do watch House.
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