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
  • Cirrhosis Of The Liver
  • Iron Need
  • Hepatitis
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Liver Cancer
  • Need For Dietary Improvement

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:
liver cancer
elevated B12 levels
blood transfusions
unexplained high fevers
edema of the ankles/lower legs
high deep-fried food consumption
high added salt consumption
high soft drink consumption
high low-calorie soda consumption
no significant omega-3 oil intake
congestive heart failure
... 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
Liver Cancer 96% Confirm
Congestive Heart Failure 25% Unlikely
Need For Dietary Improvement 18% Unlikely
Anemia 4% Ruled out
Iron Need 4% Ruled out
Cirrhosis Of The Liver 4% Ruled out
Hepatitis 1% 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™
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