Last Updated on January 21, 2023 by Faiza Murtaza
Digital clubbing refers to the enlargement of the ends of fingers and toes due to some underlying health condition, usually congenital in nature. This enlargement is accompanied by the softening and swelling of the nailbeds, as well as abnormal curvature and widening of the nails themselves. As it is usually the result of some other medical condition, it can be a good signal to have yourself checked out by a medical professional in order to rule out troubling diseases.
Apart from the medical implications of the condition, clubbing can also lead to mental stress due to embarrassment. Despite this, it is important to understand the clubbing itself is not a troubling issue, and the only thing you should perhaps be worried about is a minor loss of dexterity due to the enlargement and curvature of the fingertips, which could impact the use of precision instruments.
If you have noticed clubbing of your fingers or toes, we recommend you visit a professional as soon as possible to rule out major health conditions as the cause. These Best Dermatologist in Model Town Lahore are great options if you reside in that area.
Underlying Conditions and Associated Symptoms
As mentioned above, clubbing is usually the result of some other underlying health problem. However, the exact cause of the condition is unknown. It has been proposed that elevated levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), the concentration of which increases in tissues if they do not get enough oxygen. This then results in increase vascular growth in those regions, potentially giving rise to the visible clubbing of the condition.
Let us now investigate some of the potential underlying causes and their other symptoms. These include:
- Lung Cancer: Around 80% of all people that reported clubbing also have some form of lung cancer. This is the result of tumorous growths of abnormal lung cells. Other symptoms of the disease include shortness of breath, pain in the bones and joints, bloody mucus and excessive coughing, fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
- Interstitial Lung Disease: This is a disease that causes inflammation in the lungs, which can destroy the lining that is responsible for absorbing oxygen into the bloodstream, as well as thicken the interstitium, preventing the efficient diffusion of air through the lungs. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, weight loss, and a dry cough that does not bring up mucus.
- Cystic Fibrosis: This disease results in the production of excess mucus that can clog airways and make it difficult for air to effectively reach the alveoli where it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, difficulty gaining weight, skin that may be salty to taste, infertility and difficulty with bowel movements.
- Cyanotic Congenital Heart Disease: This is a collection of diseases that affect the development of the heart before birth. The primary issue is that these defects reduce the amount of oxygen that is absorbed into the bloodstream. Symptoms include a bluish tint to the skin, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
- Atrial Myxoma: This is a noncancerous tumor of the atrium compartment of the heart. This can result in a severe blockage of blood flow in the heart and can cause symptoms like difficulty breathing, joint pain, swelling of the belly and legs, chest aches, and a fever.
Since clubbing may be a result of these conditions or others, the only way to treat it is to treat the underlying condition, hence treatments will vary. If you need an accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause of the condition, we recommend the Best Dermatologist in DHA Karachi.