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5 Hand clues for Anemia (= lack of healthy red blood cells)

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5 Hand clues for Anemia (= lack of healthy red blood cells)

Post  Martijn (admin) on Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:22 pm

The pale hand of a woman with severe anemia (right) in comparison to the normal hand of a man (left).

For any person it is important to have enough red blood cells, because these cells take care of carying enough oxygen to the tissues and organs in the body. And as you probably know, oxygen is a requirement for survival. Interestingly, there are multiple signs in the hand which can signal 'anemia' - especially when the manifest together in some kind of combination!

Anemia goes undetermined in many people, and symptoms can be minor or vague. The signs and symptoms can be related to the anemia itself, or the underlying cause. Doctors measure anemia via the hemoglobine level.

Most commonly, people with anemia report non-specific symptoms of a feeling of weakness, or fatigue, general malaise and sometimes poor concentration.

Pallor - an unhealthy pale appearance - is known as key-sign for recognizing anemia. Pallor has a relatively low sensitivity (35-38%) but a high specificity (90-94%) for chronic anemia.

Pallor in the hand can manifest in:
1 - the back of the hand [see the photo above];
2 - the inner palm;
3 - the major hand lines (= doctors describe this as indication for severe anemia);
4 - the fingernails.

An example of palmar pallor: the color of the palm is extremely 'pale' compared to the color of the arms.

Interestingly, there is another hand characteristic that is associated with anemia: the nail disorder 'koilonychia' (a.k.a. spoon nails) is associated with anemia caused by iron deficiency.

An example of koilonychia.

Now, from what I have read so far, it appears that especially palmar crease pallor has a highly reliable diagnostic value for anemia - however, it manifests in less than 10% of anemia patients, see:

Therefore it is probably better to always look for combinations of pallor (and if the tongue or inner eye lid show pallor as well... then you can advice the person not to wait any longer before contacting a doctor.)

I have listed a few more details at my Multi-Perspective Palm Reading Blog:


Martijn van Mensvoort
Hand researcher & psychologist in The Netherlands (Holland)
Presents: Multi-Perspective Palm Reading + the Global Palm Reading Network
Martijn (admin)

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Join date : 2010-07-23
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