Q:

What causes pale gums in humans?

A:

Pale gums can be caused by anemia, according to WebMD. Because the body either lacks sufficient red blood cells or sufficient hemoglobin, it fails to receive sufficient oxygen, causing the skin to turn pale. The increased paleness is particularly prominent in the gums, nail beds and inner eyelids.

MediResource states that the most obvious and common symptom of anemia is fatigue. In more severe cases, the heartbeat increases noticeably. Other symptoms include irritability, low blood pressure, brittle nails, unusual food cravings and persistent headaches.

While iron deficiency anemia is easily treated, MediResource warns that left undiagnosed it can impair growth and development among infants, and severely impact quality of life in adults. Treatment consists of correcting the iron deficiency through a combination of diet and supplements. Side effects include black stools; rarely, people also suffer from abdominal discomfort.

To prevent iron deficiency anemia, MediResource recommends eating a nutritious diet. Liver, fish, poultry and eggs are all excellent sources of iron, and should sometimes supplemented with citrus juice to help the body absorb the nutrients. Vegetarians are more likely to suffer from iron deficiencies if proper care is not taken, as are menstruating or breastfeeding women. However, anemia can afflict either gender at any age. Lifestyle choices also play a significant factor; alcoholics and serious athletes are both at a higher risk than others.

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