Beware of Cyanosis, a condition when the skin is blue in color

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Beware of Cyanosis, a condition when the skin is blue in color
Beware of Cyanosis, a condition when the skin is blue in color

Cyanosis is a condition when the fingers, nails, and lips appear bluish in color due to a lack of oxygen in the blood. Cyanosis is generally caused by a condition or disease that requires immediate treatment from a doctor

One of the causes of the body experiencing cyanosis is exposure to cold temperatures that make the body temperature decrease or hypothermia. Cold air can make the blood vessels in the body narrow, so that the oxygen level that flows throughout the body becomes reduced (hypoxia).

Beware of Cyanosis, a condition when the skin is bluish - Alodokter

In addition to exposure to temperatures that are too cold, cyanosis can also be caused by certain he alth problems or diseases. This cyanosis can occur in anyone, including newborns. In newborns, cyanosis can cause the lips to turn black.

In newborns, cyanosis can be caused by congenital heart disease or asphyxia due to neck or head injury during delivery or choking on meconium.

Recognizing Various Causes of Cyanosis

When the amount of oxygen in the blood is very low, the color of the blood will change from a bright red to a darker color. This is what makes the skin and lips look bluish.

There are several conditions or diseases that can cause a person to experience cyanosis, namely:

1. Disorders of the lungs

When the function or performance of the lungs is problematic, the body will find it difficult to get oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide. This can trigger cyanosis.

There are several problems in the lungs that often cause bluish discoloration of the skin, nails, and lips, namely asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung infection or pneumonia, bronchiectasis, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pulmonary edema (pulmonary edema), and pneumothorax.

2. Disorders of the airway

Cyanosis can also occur when the airway is obstructed or obstructed, for example due to choking, choking, or the entry of a foreign object. This condition is often experienced by toddlers and children.

In addition, cyanosis due to airway obstruction can also be caused by swelling or narrowing of the airway due to infection or a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

3. Disorders of the heart

In certain cases, changes in skin color to bluish can be caused by problems with the heart. Several types of heart disorders that can cause cyanosis, including congenital heart disease, heart attacks, and heart failure.

4. Peripheral artery disease

Peripheral arterial disease can occur due to blockages in blood vessels, for example due to thrombosis or blood clots, atheroma, and embolism. This condition can reduce the blood supply to the legs and feet. As a result, oxygen levels in the blood in the legs also decrease, causing cyanosis.

5. Deep vein thrombosis

Similar to peripheral arterial disease, obstructed venous flow due to blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can also reduce blood flow.

DVT is more common in the legs, but sometimes it can move and cause blockages in other organs or body parts, causing cyanosis.

6. Lack of hemoglobin

Hemoglobin is a protein contained in the blood and is in charge of carrying oxygen through the blood to all organs of the body. When the amount of hemoglobin decreases, the body will lack oxygen so it will look pale and bluish.

Low levels of hemoglobin in the blood can be caused by various things, including anemia, kidney disease, cancer, impaired liver function, to bleeding in the digestive tract.

7. Methemoglobinemia

Methemoglobinemia is a condition when hemoglobin still carries oxygen, but cannot release it to organs and body tissues effectively. As a result, the oxygen needs of the body's organs are not fulfilled.

In addition to the various conditions and diseases above, cyanosis can also be caused by blood circulation disorders, shock, and side effects of certain drugs, such as beta blockers and sulfa antibiotics.

How to Diagnose and Treat Cyanosis

Cyanosis can be caused by many things and some of the causes are quite dangerous. Therefore, if you experience signs or symptoms of cyanosis, you should immediately consult a doctor for an examination.

In determining the diagnosis, the doctor will perform a physical examination and supporting examinations in the form of blood gas analysis, blood tests, and X-rays or CT scans.

Once the cause is known, the doctor can provide appropriate treatment. The following are some treatments that are generally done by doctors to treat cyanosis:

Oxygen delivery

Cyanosis conditions indicate that oxygen levels in the body are very low. Therefore, the doctor will provide oxygen therapy to increase oxygen levels in the patient's body.

Oxygen therapy is usually done as early as possible, for example in the ER.This therapy can be given through a tube or oxygen mask. However, if a person with cyanosis cannot breathe or is in a coma, the doctor may provide respiratory support through intubation and installation of a ventilator.


Doctors will also provide medicines to treat diseases or medical conditions that cause cyanosis. For example, if cyanosis is caused by asthma, the doctor will prescribe asthma medication in the form of a bronchodilator.

If it is caused by pneumonia or infection, the doctor can give antibiotics. Meanwhile, to treat cyanosis caused by swelling of the lungs, doctors can give diuretic drugs to remove excess fluid in the lungs.


Surgery is usually performed in cases of cyanosis caused by congenital heart disease. In addition, the doctor may also perform surgery to remove a foreign object that is blocking the airway, if the foreign object is difficult to remove.

Cyanosis is not always dangerous, but this condition needs to be watched out for if it appears suddenly or is accompanied by other complaints, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting, fever, or seizures.

Therefore, immediately consult a doctor if you or your child experience any signs or symptoms of cyanosis. After the doctor conducts an examination and determines the diagnosis of the disease that causes cyanosis, the doctor can provide appropriate treatment to overcome cyanosis.

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