Cyanosis is defined as bluish or purplish skin color due to inadequate oxygen in the blood. It is important to note that the skin has a natural pink or reddish tinge. If the body is receiving enough oxygen via the lungs and into the bloodstream, the dominant reddish tinge reflects the oxygenated blood which is red.
Blood that does not have enough oxygen is carrying waste carbon dioxide from the cells to be exhaled by the lungs. This deoxygenated blood is darker in color and bluish-red than red.
Once the body parts turn bluish or purplish due to cyanosis, it simply means that the organs, muscles and other tissues do not receive enough oxygen to properly function.
What are the usual causes?
Cyanosis can be brought about by various health conditions such as:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Congestive heart failure
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Drug overdose
A mild case of cyanosis might be hard to detect even among individuals with light skin. Generally, the bluish tinge could not be noticed until the oxygen content in the blood has significantly dropped.
Among dark-skinned individuals, the signs of cyanosis are not evident, but it can be seen on the membranes around the lips, nail beds and the gums. These might turn purplish instead of blue. In addition, the skin around the eyes might also have a purplish tinge.