What Pale Nails Say About Your Health
Health Signs in Hands: Page 4
Under normal circumstances, if you press gently on your fingernails they turn white, and then when you release the pressure they turn pink again. If your nails stay white more than a minute after you press on them, or they look pale all the time, this can be a sign of anemia.
Why? Anemia, most commonly caused by iron deficiency, causes pale nails when there aren't enough red blood cells circulating in the bloodstream. If uncorrected over time, severe iron deficiency can also cause the nails to have a slightly concave shape. Clue: If anemia is the cause of pale nails, the nail beds (the thin strips at the base of nails) are likely to look particularly bleached out.
What to do: Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue or, in serious cases, heart problems, so you'll want to alert your doctor if you think you might be iron-deficient. Two of the most common causes of iron deficiency are heavy or longer-than-normal periods and ulcers, so let your doctor know if your cycle has changed or if you have ulcer symptoms, such as stomachache. Your doctor may recommend medication and will likely recommend increasing your dietary intake of iron-rich foods, such as red meat, spinach and other dark greens, and nuts. If your doctor recommends an iron supplement and it causes you digestive issues, ask about a nonconstipating formula such as Slow Fe. And remember to take vitamin C at the same time, as it helps iron absorption.