Acrocyanosis: what it is and what is its treatment

Acrocyanosis is a clinical picture characterized by a blue coloration of the acras zones. These are, mainly, the hands and the feet. The word comes from the Greek, where 'akro' means 'extreme' and 'kyan', 'dark blue'. It is a persistent and painless bluish color.

Acrocyanosis usually occurs in women. In fact, the fingers of the hand are affected more frequently. Also, this box It is usually triggered by exposure to cold or stress situations. In this article we explain what it is and its treatment. Keep reading!

Why acrocyanosis occurs?

Acrocyanosis consists of bluish coloring and coldness of the distal parts of the extremities. Sweating is also common. It is due to a arterial spasm which, generally, is caused by cold or stress emotional.

The clinical picture is that, when the arteries contract, the blood reaches the most extreme parts with difficulty of the body. In the same way, oxygen does not come either. Thus, the fingers and toes tend to turn blue and cold.

It is not known what the etiological factors are of acrocyanosis. In these patients, immunological alterations are usually found. First, there is an elevation of antinuclear antibodies (ANA). They are antibodies that are elevated in autoimmune diseases. Circulating immunocomplexes are also found.

Acrocyanosis usually occurs in women, usually around 20 years. However, it sometimes appears in childhood. It has also been observed relatively frequently in patients with schizophrenia. On the contrary, this can not be considered an etiological factor. Similarly, acrocyanosis has been linked to some medications. For example, beta-blockers and some chemotherapeutics.

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What are the symptoms?

As we mentioned, It's about a permanent vascular syndrome. The affectation is usually symmetrical. In addition, it predominates in fingers and hands, and to a lesser extent, in the feet. It is important to note that cold is not a trigger as you might think. It is an aggravating symptom, which is less pronounced in times of heat.

Although it is a painless pathology, sometimes there may be more sensitivity and pain. This happens if the outside temperature is very cold. In the same way, hyperhidrosis usually occurs. It is a symptom characterized by excessive sweat production. It usually occurs in the palms of the hands. In addition, it increases when it is hot and under emotional stress.

Acrocyanosis can cause self-esteem problems in the patient. Mainly, because it is very striking, but also because of this hyperhidrosis.

Unlike what happens in Raynaud's syndrome, in acrocyanosis the blue coloration persists. In fact, it does not revert easily. Neither trophic changes nor ulcers occur. In addition, in Raynaud's syndrome the patient does have pain.

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Types of acrocyanosis

It is classified in two types:

  • Primary: It is more common between 20 and 30 years. It rarely happens after menopause. This fact suggests a hormonal influence in the pathology.
  • High school: It is a form that is associated with fasting and anorexia nervosa. It has also been observed in neoplasms, diseases such as syphilis, and so on. Even with the administration of certain medications, such as some antidepressants.


There is no specific treatment and cash for this pathology. However, it is recommended to avoid exposure to cold temperatures. In the same way, it is advisable to reduce stress situations as much as possible. Sometimes medications are used to dilate arteries, such as calcium channel blockers. The problem is that its effectiveness is not proven.

In conclusion

Is very important to explain to the patient that it is not a serious pathology. You also need to understand that it is a permanent syndrome, and that certain situations can aggravate it. If you understand the mechanism by which it is produced, you will know how to handle the situation better.