What are blue lips?

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

Most commonly, blue lips 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 it may be due to chronic underlying conditions such as lung diseases or chronic heart defects. A lack of oxygen in the blood can lead to a blue coloration of your skin that is most quickly seen in your hands, feet and lips.

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

Blue lips are a serious symptom that may be caused by a serious or life-threatening underlying condition. If you, or someone you are with, have blue lips with other serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, chest pains, fatigue, fainting or change in level of consciousness or lethargy, seek immediate medical care (call 911).


SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with blue lips?

Blue lips 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.

Symptoms that may occur along with blue lips

Blue lips may accompany other symptoms caused by underlying conditions or due to events that lead to a lack of oxygen in the blood including:

CAUSES

What causes blue lips?

Blue lips 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.

Acute causes of blue lips

Blue lips may be caused by conditions, events or environments that are short term in nature including:

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 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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