Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Pale Skin Overview

What is pale skin?
A person with pale skin or pallor often has a reduced number of red blood cells in the bloodstream. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a molecule that carries oxygen. A decrease in the number of red blood cells can cause the skin to appear pale. Pale skin may be caused by a variety of diseases, including blood loss, low dietary iron, low folate, and vitamin B12 deficiency.

What symptoms are often associated with pale skin?
Symptoms that may be seen with pale skin include fatigue, generalized weakness, chronic headaches, and faintness upon standing. Later symptoms include palpitations, rapid pulse, fainting, and worsening shortness of breath with exertion.

How does the doctor treat pale skin?
Treatment of pale skin due to anemia may include corticosteroids, erythropoietin, vitamin supplements, iron supplements, and blood transfusion.

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