Q. I smoke a packet of cigarette every day. Can it cause nail clubbing?

Answered by
Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 05, 2017 and last reviewed on: Oct 05, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am a 23 year old male, who weighs 195 lbs and I am 5.10 feet tall. All of my fingers are clubbed. My nails have become wide and thick giving them an abnormal round appearance. The skin above my cuticles is slightly raised and red. My nails do not extend straight out, but they curve down. I am almost certain that my nails are clubbed, and I am extremely concerned because there is no denying there is something is wrong with me. My nails used to be straight with a normal skin around it. Now my nails are abnormally round and extremely wide. I have all the physical symptoms of clubbing. I smoke a pack of cigarette a day for approximately eight years. I do not experience shortness of breath, except at times when doing physical activities. I am in great shape and work out six days a week. I have read articles on clubbing, and the possible causes are very alarming. Is it too late to reverse the clubbing? Is it possible that it is from smoking, and if not what can it be? I am attaching a photo of my fingers.

Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode

Cardiology General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • I have seen the photo (attachment removed to protect patient identity) of your nails and fingers, and it is in fact clubbing. The cause is smoking-induced lung damage and bronchiectasis.
  • Regarding the reversibility, we cannot be sure at this moment, as it will depend on the exact cause and extent of the damage.
  • You should visit a local doctor for an examination, and you should get a chest x-ray and CT scan of the chest.
  • Also, echocardiography is needed to rule out heart diseases. It is important to ascertain the cause and treat it.
  • Until then, I suggest you try doing the following.
  1. Quit smoking to prevent further damage.
  2. Start chest physiotherapy to expel your sputum out of the lungs.
  3. Yoga will be helpful.
  4. Regular exercises and healthy diet to reduce weight, as high BMI (body mass index) will aggravate any lung condition.

Hope this helps you and get back if you have any doubts.

Revert with more information to an internal medicine physician online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/internal-medicine-physician

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