This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Yellow nail syndrome is a very rare disorder characterized by three features: yellow nail discoloration, respiratory problems, and lower limb swelling (lymphedema). It usually occurs in people over age 50, but can occur in younger people. In addition to being yellow, nails may lack a cuticle, grow very slowly, and become detached (onycholysis). Respiratory problems may include chronic cough, bronchiectasis, and pleural effusion. Chronic sinusitis may also occur. The cause of yellow nail syndrome remains unknown. It usually occurs on its own, but is sometimes associated with autoimmune disease, lymphatic diseases, or cancers. Some researchers have hypothesized that titanium may play a role in the development of yellow nail syndrome (for example, in dental or joint implants or other environmental exposures). Treatment addresses each symptom present. In some cases, yellow nail syndrome goes away on its own.
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