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Blue Nails – Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention and More

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Why Are My Fingernails Blue?

Blue fingernails are frequently a symptom of chronic illnesses or low oxygen levels in red blood cells. Find out more about the causes, therapies, and when to get assistance.

Cyanosis is the name given to this illness. A purplish-blue colouration of the skin or membrane beneath the skin results from insufficient oxygen in the blood.

A high concentration of unusual haemoglobin in your blood may cause skin colouring. The protein called haemoglobin is in charge of moving oxygen throughout your blood.

Your fingernails may become blue in cold weather, according to Trusted Source. That is because cold weather causes your blood vessels to contract. It is challenging for enough oxygen-rich blood to go via the tiny passageways.

If your typical nail colour reappears after warming up or rubbing your hands, the blue hue may have resulted from a lack of blood flow to that area of your body owing to the freezing temperatures.

The body frequently reacts to cold weather by producing blue fingers to maintain the proper temperature for internal organs.

However, if fingernails continue to be blue, a disease or structural issue may prevent the body from delivering oxygen-rich blood.

What conditions can cause blue nails, and when should you seek help?

What conditions can cause blue nails, and when should you seek help

Blue nails could mean not enough oxygen is delivered to the fingertips by the blood. Heart and lung conditions are just two of the numerous potential causes. Anyone with blue nails has to see a doctor.

A condition called cyanosis, which can also affect the lips and skin, can occasionally cause fingernails to appear blue or purplish.

If there is insufficient oxygen reaching the fingertips or inadequate circulation, cyanosis may develop. It may also result from issues with haemoglobin, a molecule found in red blood cells that carries oxygen.

To rule out any underlying medical concerns, a person who realises they have blue nails should consult a doctor. This article discusses the ailments that might result in blue nails and describes how cyanosis is diagnosed and treated by medical professionals. Additionally, it covers when someone should ask for assistance.

Why do the nails turn blue?

Why do the nails turn blue

When all nails are blue, this is a sign of cyanosis, a symptom rather than an actual ailment. If only one pin appears blue, an injury that caused blood to accumulate under the nail is probably to blame. Lack of oxygen in the blood is the cause of blue nails.

Blue nails can also happen if the circulatory system is not correctly transporting blood throughout the body, which causes poor circulation and a blue tint.

Temporarily impaired circulation can be brought on by cold weather because of the constricted blood vessels brought on by the lower temperatures. They do this to keep the internal organs at the ideal temperature and to stop the blood from reaching the extremities.

Conditions that cause blue nails:

Conditions that cause blue nails

Blue nails indicate an oxygen deficiency in the fingers, toes, or both.

Cyanosis may result from Trusted Sources:

Lung diseases

Different lung problems might cause the nails to become blue. These circumstances include:

Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are progressive lung disorders that come under the term “chronic obstructive pulmonary disease” (COPD). In contrast, bronchitis causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, which results in a buildup of mucus, and emphysema damages the air sacs in the lungs. The number of Americans with COPD is around 30 million.

Asthma: Asthma can produce more mucus, which could result in a buildup, as well as the narrowing and swelling of the airways. People with asthma may experience breathing difficulties, chest pain, a cough, and wheezing, making daily activities difficult. Life-threatening asthma crises can occasionally result from asthma.

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS): People with ARDS have trouble breathing and have quicker heart rates and breathing rates than usual, which lowers the amount of oxygen in the blood. To raise blood oxygen levels and treat ARDS, doctors use oxygen treatment.

Pneumonia is a contagion of the lungs that bacteria, viruses, or fungi can bring on. Most people recover from pneumonia in 1-3 weeks, though the symptoms can range from minor to severe. For instance, pneumonia might emerge after a severe flu infection.

Pulmonary embolism (PE): A blood clot can obstruct one of the lungs’ arteries, resulting in PE. The clot typically moves from the leg or another body area and blocks the blood supply to the lungs, which can be fatal.

Diagnosis and treatment of Blue Nails

Diagnosis and treatment of Blue Nails

During a physical examination, a doctor can identify cyanosis by looking at the blue nails and checking for finger clubbing. Clubbed fingers can indicate congenital heart disease and lung issues.

The doctor may examine the patient to look for respiratory or cardiac problems.

  • Blood oxygen testing is a crucial diagnostic tool for cyanosis. A physician will draw blood to determine arterial blood gas (ABG), which displays the blood’s oxygen and haemoglobin levels.
  • A pulse oximeter, which measures the oxygenation of the blood, may also be applied to the person’s finger. These examinations assist in identifying the cause of blue nails.

·        The objective is to cure the underlying disease since cyanosis is a symptom.

·        Treatment options for blue nails can vary based on the underlying cause.

·        reputable source: congenital heart disease surgery

·        oxygen support therapyfor methemoglobinemia, methylene blue

·        pharmaceuticals that relax blood arteries, such as erectile dysfunction and antihypertensive medications

·        Patients with Raynaud’s phenomenon may stay given long-term lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and coffee, as medical advice.

·        Cyanosis is a complex illness, necessitating collaboration between several medical teams and specialists.


Blue nails are called cyanosis in medicine, though they can also affect the lips and skin.As the body tightens the circulation to protect the internal organs, the nails may appear blue in cold weather. Cyanosis might also signify a more serious medical issue, like a problem with the heart, lungs, or blood vessel problem.

People should contact a doctor to identify the underlying reason for their blue nails and begin therapy right away.

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