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What is Blue Skin Disorder? Treatment and Prognosis of Blue Skin Disorder

Updated on October 5, 2014
Blue Skin Disorder mainfested on the Foot
Blue Skin Disorder mainfested on the Foot

What is Blue Skin Disorder?

Blue Skin Disorder is a condition that is characterized by blue discoloration of the skin, particularly, the finger and toe nails.

It is not life threatening, but does leave a few long-term and permanent effects on the body.

Symptoms of Blue Skin Disorder

Blue skin disease is seen as:

  • At the outset of the disorder, you may notice that that the fingernails and toenails have turned bluish.
  • Over a period of time, the tip of the nose and portions of the legs and feet turn blue as well.
  • Gasping, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties are commonly seen associated features.

What Causes Blue Skin Disorder?: Risk Factors for Blue Skin Disorder

The primary cause is that your body does not use and store the requisite amount of oxygen. A shortage of oxygen makes the nails and the skin turn blue. When the number of red blood cells in the body is less; and the cells fail to hold sufficient amounts of oxygen, that's when the the disorder develops. Cyanosis or blue discoloration is frequently seen in the following medical conditions:

  • Cardiac defects such as tetralogy of Fallot, ventricular arrhythmias and transposition of the great arteries are important causative factors. Raynaud's Syndrome is also known to cause the disorder.
  • Pulmonary disorders like: COPD including Asthma (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), epiglottitis, and high altitude pulmonary edema set off hypoxia and cyanosis.
  • Minocycline, an antibiotic that treats Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Mycoplasma-type pneumonias, chancroid, and Borrelia infections tends to cause blue discoloration.
  • Chemicals like aniline dyes, nitrates, nitrite, dapsone, ergotamine, and phenazopyridine have also been incriminated in the development of the blue skin disease.

Treating Blue Skin Disease: Treatment Regimen for BSD

Correct and prompt diagnosis and the right line of treatment are vital for the effective management of the condition.

  • Your physician will first start off a course of antibiotics to fight infections.
  • Oxygen therapy is necessary to manage severe shortness of breath and breathing irregularities.
  • Cardiac defects become evident at birth itself, and can be tackled prudently and properly.
  • Likewise, a suitable treatment regimen is essential to manage pulmonary diseases. Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy is suggested to manage lung malignancies.
  • Your doctor may also ask you to stay away from cold temperatures.

Prognosis for Blue Skin Disease

The outcome of blue skin disorder is moderate to good; depending up on the etiological factor and how soon the treatment is started.

Pulmonary diseases, such as COPD, croup and edema; and blue discoloration because of chemical toxicity show good prognosis; whilst, cardiac anomalies like tetralogy of Fallot, ventricular arrhythmias and transposition of the great arteries show relatively poor prognosis.


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