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Fact or Fiction: Fingernails
by Staff
Fingernails are an odd thing if you really think about them. What are they there for, anyway? And why do we file, buff and paint them outrageous colors? Nails are for more than decoration, though. Did you know that they can indicate if you have serious health problems? Take our quiz to find out what could be wrong if you have yellow or purple nails.

We have fingernails to protect our fingertips and toes.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: They originally developed as weapons.

Some scientists argue that without fingernails, the tips of our fingers and toes would have genetically developed to become more sensitive.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Our fingers and toes would probably be less sensitive without nails.

Nails are made of keratin, which is also found in your skin and hair.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's in your skin, but not your hair. Nails, skin and hair all contain keratin.

About a quarter of the kids and teens in the United States bite their nails.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's more like half.

Most people stop biting their nails by the time they're 18.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: A little longer than that -- 25 is the age.

Your fingernails will continue to grow for about a week after you die.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's only about two days.

Women's nails grow faster than men's nails.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: There's no difference.

Fingernails grow about 2 to 3 millimeters every month.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's more like 4 to 5 millimeters.

Your toenails grow about 1 millimeter a month.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's even slower than that -- not even half a millimeter.

If you lose an entire fingernail, it'll take about two months for it to fully grow back.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It will take about four to six months.

If you're right-handed, the nails on your right hand will grow slightly faster.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The nails on the least-used hand actually grow faster.

The woman with the longest fingernails in the world hasn't cut her nails since 1965.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's been since 1979.

Lee Redmond's right thumbnail is almost four feet long.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's "only" a foot long.

You shouldn't use nail polish remover more than once a week -- it can weaken and dry out your nails.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: You should use it even less -- maybe once every two weeks.

The most popular nail-salon treatment is artificial nails.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Nope, it's a French manicure.

Looking at your nails can give you important clues about your health. The next few questions will deal with symptoms that you can see in your nails. Here's the first one: Yellow nails may indicate a respiratory problem like chronic bronchitis.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Respiratory problems usually cause cracked and brittle nails.

Bluish nails may be an indication of renal failure.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Nails with white spots are a sign of renal failure.

A melanoma could show up as a black, brown or purple nail.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Black, brown and purple color is always a sign of a bruise under the nail.

If your nail beds are pale, it can indicate that you're suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Pale nail beds are a sign of anemia.

Yellowish nails -- with a slight pink hue at the base -- can be an indicator of untreated diabetes.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's when you're taking diabetes medication that your nails can turn this color.