What is Acrocyanosis
Did your hands and feet turn blue? Acrocyanosis is a condition that causes our extremities to turn blue. It occurs in the toes, fingers, and sometimes the face (nose and ears).
The “word acrocyanosis” comes from the Greek words “akros” (which means extreme) and “kyanos” (which means blue).
Acrocyanosis is caused by vasospasm of the skin small vessels in response to cold. This condition is classified in primary acrocyanosis and secondary acrocyanosis.
It occurs on its own. It affects both sides of the body (symmetrical). It presents mainly in adolescents and young adults (acrocyanosis incidence decreases with increasing age), and is more common in females.
Acrocyanosis is rarely seen in children or post-menopausal women. It has also been reported in patients with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Primary Acrocyanosis: Causes
As we mentioned above, the cause of primary acrocyanosis is unknown or it may be genetically determined. It may be caused by cold temperatures, or an emotional or mental disturbance. Your doctor will be able to differentiate this condition from Raynaud’s disease, since they may be confused.
It affects only one side of the body and is an underlying symptom of an eating disorder, a genetic condition, or a blood disorder. It may present at any age, depending on the underlying cause. This type of acrocyanosis may be painful and cause tissue loss.
Which Are the Causes of Secondary Acrocyanosis?
The main underlying conditions causing secondary acrocyanosis are eating disorders (like anorexia, since weight loss impairs body heat regulation) and Raynaud’s disease. However, there may also be other contributing factors that cause secondary acrocyanosis, such as:
- Connective tissue diseases
- Buerger disease
- Atrophic rhinitis
- Psychiatric or psychological reasons
- Genetically inherited diseases, such as mitochondrial disease, Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Occlusive arterial diseases
- Haematological disorders
- Drugs and toxins
- Neoplasms (ovarian cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma)
- The mosquito-borne viral infection chikungunya
Acrocyanosis and Newborns
Does your baby have bluish colored hands and feet? After babies are born, they may present primary acrocyanosis because there is a change in circulation.
Newborns may present acrocyanosis in their first hours of life. It occurs because blood and oxygen are flowing to the brain, lungs, kidney and other important body parts, but not enough to the hands and feet.
Is acrocyanosis in newborns related to preterm or full term deliveries? Preterm babies are more susceptible to develop acrocyanosis because their organs have not fully developed and they cannot regulate their temperature as well as adults. So, acrocyanosis is more frequent preterm babies.
This condition will improve as the hours go by, once the baby gets “used” to the new blood circulation pattern. Warming your baby’s body temperature can resolve the symptoms.
In babies, acrocyanosis may be related to a heart condition but it may also occur in non-pathological cases, like fever, extreme fever, bacteremia, among others.
Acrocyanosis and Women
Why is acrocyanosis more prevalent in women than in men? Did you know that women in their 20s are more susceptible to this condition? Although research suggests that the cold climate, outdoor activities and low body mass index are the main factors for developing acrocyanosis, women are significantly more affected than men by this condition. Experts say it is because of differences in BMI between men and women.
Which are the Symptoms of Acrocyanosis?
The main symptoms include:
- Blue fingers or toes
- A normal pulse
- Cold, clammy skin
These symptoms may be worsened by emotions and cold temperatures, and warmth can, on the other, hand decrease symptoms.
Acrocyanosis: Treatment and Cure
As regards the cure, primary acrocyanosis is benign, it resolves in middle age with no long term sequelae; in babies, this condition dissipates after some hours on its own and does not return; as for secondary acrocyanosis, it may resolve when the primary cause is treated.
Acrocyanosis: Natural Remedies
How to get rid of blue coloration in the extremities? If you notice a persistent blue coloration in your hands, feet, or ears and nose, you should ask your doctor to examine you and give you an adequate diagnosis; a professional will determine if there is an underlying condition causing acrocyanosis. If you have been diagnosed with acrocyanosis, here you will find a few natural remedies to deal with blue colored extremities…
- The first and foremost action you may consider against acrocyanosis is protecting your extremities from the cold weather. Always wear blankets when you are laying down on the couch or your bed.
- If you have been diagnosed, cut meat and sugar consumption, as well as alcohol and smoking. Substitute them with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Always wear wool or cotton socks, even when you sleep.
- Drink elderflower tea.
Elderflower Tea: Recipe
Elder bark can be collected in Autumn (the bark is dried out naturally by sunlight). Gather elder bark from strains and branches. Leave a teaspoon of elder bark in a container with water overnight. In the morning, add one cup of water and heat it up. Drink three cups a day in the main meals.
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