Peripheral Cyanosis: All You Need To Know About This Skin Condition

Peripheral Cyanosis affects your blood oxygen flow in your body, you need medical attention if you have these symptoms.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Feb 04, 2022Updated at: Feb 04, 2022
Peripheral Cyanosis: All You Need To Know About This Skin Condition

Have you ever noticed your hands or feet turning blue? Well if not, then you are lucky. There are some conditions that may not look very harmful but are quite problematic. Most of the conditions that occur on the skin membranes can further affect your health by causing narrowing of blood vessels. One such condition is that of peripheral cyanosis. This is a condition in which your hands and feet turn bluish due to narrowing of blood vessels and reduced blood flow in feet and hands. It is important to cure this to avoid health complications. Thus today we will discuss about this condition in detail and know related problems.

What is Peripheral Cyanosis?

We spoke to Dr. Sumeet Nigam, General Physician from Sahara Hospital, Lucknow to know about this condition in detail. He said that Cyanosis is a blush cast to the skin that appears because of decline in blood flow in your particular section of the body. Peripheral Cyanosis is a condition in which cyanosis occurs in hands and feet of the person. It happens because of narrowing of blood vessels and leads to blue-tinged skin. 

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Sometimes massaging that part of the body can retain blood flow and make your skin look fine again, but if it doesn’t then it could possibly be serious and you should consult a doctor as soon as possible. Even though the cause might differ, one thing is for sure that something is getting interfered with your oxygen-rich blood. It is important to restore blood oxygen in order to cure this skin problem.

Signs and Symptoms for Peripheral Cyanosis

Normal haemoglobin levels usually are around 12.0 to 15.5 grams per decilitre for women and it could be slightly different for men, say around 13.5 to 17.5 g/dL. During cyanosis, this haemoglobin level goes down to 3-5 g/dL which could be very concerning. This means that the concentration of deoxygenated haemoglobin goes down which could particularly create issues with the person.

There are no special or different symptoms for peripheral cyanosis. It usually affects your hands and feet. In some cases, it gets worse and affects tongue and mouth as well. However unlike other types of cyanosis present, this type does not affect your mucous membranes.

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Symptoms of medical emergency

If your lips or skin turns blue or purplish, then these could be signs of medical emergency and you would need to get medical attention as earliest as possible. In order cases, there could be some symptoms that may affect you together. These symptoms mean that there is something wrong and you need to get it checked. 

  • Fever
  • Headache 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Having chest pain
  • Sudden sweating that is very profuse
  • Numbness in legs, hands, fingers and toes.
  • Pain in arms or feet
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Blanching of arms, legs, hands, etc

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Causes of Peripheral Cyanosis

Our blood that is rich is oxygen appears to be bright red colour, but if the oxygen levels go down then the colour of blood also becomes dark red. When you put a light and it reflects on the skin, it makes the skin appear in a blue tint condition. If your hands and feet get cold, then it could possibly be because of low amount of oxygen in the blood.

In other cases, it could be because of extremely warm conditions and could possibly affect your health. Peripheral cyanosis could be a signal for your body that there is something wrong with your body’s blood oxygen. In mild condition, it can be cured by regulating your diet and few techniques.

Your blood oxygen can affect your tissues and it reveals the condition of the bloodstream. The oxygen depleted blood returns to the heart and lungs through your veins. But in peripheral cyanosis, the blood does not return to our lungs and heart and therefore causes health issues. In the first place, the oxygen rich blood is not affected. 

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Some causes of having blue hands and feet can be due to the following reasons-

  1. Too tight clothing or jewellery
  2. Hypovolemia, it is the condition in which the blood circulates less through your body
  3. Cholesterol embolism- In this the plaque gets deposited in your hands and feet
  4. Presence of plaque in arterial walls
  5. Arterial insufficiency that reduces blood flow through your arteries
  6. Venous insufficiency- a condition in which the blood flow slows down in your veins
  7. Due to deep vein thrombosis
  8. Because of decreased blood flow in areas such as fingers
  9. Heart failure
  10. As a result of Seizures 
  11. Swelling caused because of build-up in the lymph fluid
  12. Severe hypotension or extremely low blood pressure
  13. Condition that could cause hyperviscosity, including blood cancer and other such disorders

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How to treat Peripheral Cyanosis?

Treatment of peripheral cyanosis can be done through curing the conditions causing the reduced flow of blood in back to the heart and lungs. After diagnosis, the oxygenated blood flow needs to be restored that could be done by taking some medications in majority of conditions. This includes-

  • Anti-depressants
  • Anti-hypertension drugs
  • Erectile dysfunction drugs

These three drugs can be effective to relax blood vessels and organise blood flow in your veins and parts of the body. Once the blood flow and oxygen is retained, then bluish feet and hands will also get cured.

Picture Credits- pixabay.com, istock.in

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