Digital clubbing: what it is, main causes and how to treat

Digital clubbing, formerly known as digital clubbing, is characterized by swelling of the fingertips and changes in the nail, such as enlargement of the nail, increased angle between the cuticles and the nail, downward curvature of the nail and softening of the nails, which can whether or not accompanied by local redness.

Clubbing is usually associated with lung and heart disease, and is therefore an important sign of serious illness. Thus, when the doctor is checked for clubbing, the doctor can indicate that appropriate tests are performed so that the treatment can be started right away and, thus, promote the person's quality of life.

As clubbing can be associated with several situations in addition to lung and heart disease, there is no specific treatment for this situation. However, the treatment of the cause is sufficient to reduce swelling and, therefore, clubbing can be used by the doctor as a way to monitor the patient's evolution and response to treatment.

Main causes

Clubbing can be hereditary or happen as a consequence of serious diseases, being mainly associated with lung diseases, such as lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, asbestosis and bronchiectasis, for example. However, these symptoms can also be a consequence of other diseases, such as:

  • Congenital heart disease;
  • Lymphoma;
  • Chronic inflammation of the digestive system, such as Crohn's disease;
  • Liver changes;
  • Problems related to the thyroid gland;
  • Thalassemia;
  • Raynaud's syndrome;
  • Ulcerative colitis.

It is not yet known why clubbing happens in these situations, however it is important that the doctor takes this symptom into account and requests that tests be performed so that proper treatment can be started, as digital clubbing can be one of the symptoms. serious illnesses.

How the treatment is done

The treatment for clubbing varies according to the cause and the regression of the swollen fingers can be used by the doctor as a way to assess the patient's response to treatment.

Thus, according to the cause of digital clubbing, the doctor may recommend the performance of chemo or radiotherapy, in case it is associated with malignant lung diseases, or the use of medications and oxygen therapy. In the most severe cases of clubbing due to lung diseases, lung transplantation may be recommended, however this recommendation is uncommon.

In cases that are not related to respiratory diseases, the doctor may recommend the use of specific medications for the cause, in addition to lifestyle changes.