What are blue hands?

Blue hands occur when the skin in the hands takes on a bluish tint or color. This generally is due to either a lack of oxygen in the blood or extremely cold temperatures. When the skin becomes a bluish color, the symptom is called cyanosis.

Most commonly, blue hands are caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood. This may happen when you are at high altitude or if you are choking, or may be due to chronic underlying conditions such as lung diseases or chronic heart disease. A lack of oxygen in your blood will lead to a blue coloration of your skin that is most quickly seen in your hands, feet and lips.

Blue hands are a serious symptom that can indicate a severe medical condition and should always be promptly evaluated by a medical professional.

Blue hands are a serious symptom that may be caused by a serious or life-threatening underlying condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you experience blue hands with other serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, fatigue, fainting or a change in level of consciousness or lethargy.

For blue hands not associated with other serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening situation, seek prompt medical care.


What other symptoms might occur with blue hands?

Blue hands are generally due to a lack of oxygen in the blood. Often, this can be caused by an underlying condition that may cause other symptoms.

Cardiac and respiratory symptoms that may occur along with blue hands

Blue hands may accompany other symptoms affecting the heart or respiratory system including:


What causes blue hands?

Blue hands are usually caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood, although they may also be caused by extreme cold. Decreased oxygen levels in the blood can be due to a variety of underlying conditions.

Cardiovascular causes of blue hands

Blue hands may be caused by cardiovascular disorders including:

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Jul 31, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Skin, Hair and Nails

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