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Why do I have vertical ridges on my nails?

Q: I am a 27 years old male having vertical ridges on the surface of my nails. Is this normal or indicative of upper abdomen disease or nervous disorder? I smoke heavily and have been consuming codeine in the form of corex daily (50 ml) for the last three years. Please tell me the side effects of codeine.

A:Ridges in the nail plate are a natural occurrence - this is because the nail bed has vertical ridges and the underside of the nail plate has grooves. It is upon this rail and groove that the nail plate grows forward; much like a train rides forward on its tracks. When the ridges become apparent, it is usually due to a dried out nail plate. The nail plate is constantly being bathed by an upward tidal flow of oils and moisture from the nail bed that transmit through all the layers of the nail plate and is the reason why the nail plate has a semi-shine to the surface. This natural oil and moisture helps the nail cells plump, give them the ability to flex under pressure, and ride across each other under pressure. The nail plate cells lie across each other much like the scales on a fish. The lack of proper oil levels in the nail plate will allow the rail and groove to be seen as vertical ridges in the nail plate. I would suggest using good quality nail and cuticle oil that contains (among other essential oils) jojoba oil and vitamin E. The tiny molecular structure of jojoba oil can penetrate the surface layer of the skin and nails, open up the cells and allow the large molecule of the other essential oils to be drawn into the nail plate and the skin after it. A potentially serious adverse drug reaction to codeine, as with other opioids, is respiratory depression. This depression is dose-related and is the mechanism for the potentially fatal consequence of overdose. Please see a doctor about this issue at the earliest. It also causes constipation in many patients.

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