Your toenails and fingernails say a lot about your health whether you know it or not. If your nail beds are purple, it’s a sure sign that there is an underlying issue.
Healthy people should have light pink nail beds. So if yours aren’t that color, then it’s time to find out what could be the potential cause of this problem.
In many cases, if a person typically has purplish or bluish fingernail beds, they may be suffering from low hemoglobin. On the other hand, it may be freezing cold outside and this could certainly be the reason why your fingernail beds look like this.
Let’s say for arguments sake you are in a room at a normal temperature. If you have purple nail beds, you are dealing with a problem that shouldn’t be there.
Many people suffering from Raynaud’s disease often discover they have purple nail beds. When fingers like this are exposed to the cold, it can be a very painful experience. But this is a rare disease and more likely than not it isn’t the reason why your nail beds have changed colors.
Typical Causes for Purple Nail Beds
Cyanosis is the medical term for blue or purple fingernails. More than likely, it happens because of low levels of hemoglobin.
What is hemoglobin? It’s the amount of protein available in red blood cells. It helps carry oxygen throughout your blood. If we did not have it, it would be impossible to transport oxygen through our entire body. Normally, our arterial blood is a bright red color and it happens because it contains oxygen.
So, the skin under your nails and the surrounding tissue should also be red in color as well. But if the oxygen levels have decreased, it could turn the skin blue or purple, and this is especially true around the fingernails.
A lack of oxygen certainly isn’t healthy. It could be a potential sign of things like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and COPD to name a few potential problems.
If you have purple nail beds, this symptom is basically letting you know that you have low hemoglobin levels. It could be a sign of so many potential problems, and even heart problems are potentially the culprit.
Overdosing on drugs like narcotics and benzodiazepines can also create purple nail beds. Talk to a doctor if you have this problem because they could better explain the causes and treatments.
Ways to Increase Hemoglobin Levels
Since low hemoglobin levels aren’t a great sign, you should take steps to increase them. One way to do so is to add more iron to your diet by eating foods like oysters, lentils, shrimp, liver, almonds, red meat, spinach, and tofu.
By adding these foods to your diet, your hemoglobin levels should naturally increase and your nail beds should even return to their normal color as well. You should also add more vitamin C to your diet so start eating broccoli, oranges, strawberries, and lemon or take a vitamin C supplement. (Read about the added benefits here.)
Other Low Hemoglobin Level Signs
If you’re really concerned about having low hemoglobin levels, there are a couple of other signs to look for to determine if this is true. Tiredness is a major sign to look out for, because if you’re suddenly feeling extra tired, your body might not be getting enough oxygen to keep you rejuvenated.
Grogginess is another potential area to look into. If you have blue or purple nail beds and you feel short of breath, tired, and groggy all the time, it’s probably best to see a doctor sooner rather than later.
Related Reading: The Best Unknown Toenail Fungus Treatment.
Should I See a Doctor about My Purple Nail Beds?
When you have purple nail beds you may immediately feel the need to run to the doctor. While this certainly isn’t the worst advice in the world, you could probably avoid the doctor and follow the steps mentioned above if you aren’t experiencing any pain.
So, change your diet and take steps to increase your hemoglobin levels on your own. If you do not see any changes taking place, and your symptoms become painful and uncomfortable, you should contact a doctor. This is especially true if you begin experiencing shortness of breath or if you feel too tired and groggy.