The appearance of a pale nail will vary depending on the cause and severity of the problem. Nail paleness can be triggered by trauma to the nail or it may be caused by a disease. The scientific name for pale nail is leuconychia.
A pale nail is sometimes an indicator of a general health problem. For instance, people with chronic liver disease often show signs of pale nail. In the case of liver problems the total nail will be pale except for the top portion, which will retain its original pink color. The nails on the thumb and the index fingers are the most likely to be pale when there is liver disease present.
People with lymphoma, renal disease and fungal disease are also prone to pale nail. Diseases that reduce the quality of oxygen in the blood will often cause the nails to turn from pink to white. Thyroid diseases such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism may lead to the formation of nails that are pale and brittle.
Sometimes pail nail is the sign of poor nutrition. It is extremely important to eat a nutritious diet every day to help boost the immune system. Most physicians and holistic practitioners recommend reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing the amount of protein in the diet. It is important to eat a diet that contains several servings a day of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains. Sugar intake should be minimized as much as possible because sugar aggravates nail infections.
Some people find that their pale nail symptoms improve when they eat yogurt daily or take acidophilus capsules. Food supplements containing Vitamins B,C,D and E are also recommended as well as zinc.
Certain types of fungal infections can cause changes in the texture, color and shape of the nail. Certain types of bacteria can bring about changes in the color of the nail and cause painful areas under the nail. Psoriasis may cause splitting and paleness of the nail plate.
There is no treatment currently available to treat pale nail, but some people choose to wear polish in a darker color to hide the paleness. Since pale nail is often the cause of a more serious underlying medical condition it is important to consult your physician if you see dramatic changes in the color of your nails.