Pale Fingernails

What Causes Pale Fingernails?

Pale fingernails can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose pale fingernails, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "pale fingernails" as a symptom.  Here are seven possibilities:
  • Anemia
  • Liver Cancer
  • Cirrhosis Of The Liver
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Iron Need
  • Need For Dietary Improvement
  • Hepatitis

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
moderate abdominal pain
high processed meat consumption
soft drink consumption
waking up with choking sensation
moderate right lumbar pain
congestive heart failure
hepatitis A
itchy skin
past calcium-based antacid use
grilled meat consumption
regular unexplained nausea
severe fatigue after slight exertion
... and more than 70 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of pale fingernails:
Cause Probability Status
Congestive Heart Failure 96% Confirm
Iron Need 28% Unlikely
Anemia 16% Unlikely
Hepatitis 3% Ruled out
Need For Dietary Improvement 1% Ruled out
Liver Cancer 1% Ruled out
Cirrhosis Of The Liver 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate abnormal fingernails and toenails, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Are your fingernails more pale than they should be? Normal nail beds are a strong pink color. You could try comparing your nails those of other people.
Possible responses:
→ No, my nail beds are a healthy pink / don't know
→ Yes, my nail beds are a little pale / light pink
→ Yes, my nail beds are very pale / almost white
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either pale fingernails or very pale fingernails, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Consequences of Poor Diet

Malnutrition can cause pale fingernails.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
Symptom Entry
Symptom Entry
Full Explanations
Optional Doctor Review
Review (optional)
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