The blue coloration of parts of the body often indicates a lack of oxygen. At blue lips Although it is not necessarily a dangerous condition, the underlying causes should be treated.
The vessels are particularly close to the skin surface on the lips. If there is a lack of oxygen, this is the first noticeable here because the vessels appear from under the skin.
The blood is responsible for the transport of various substances in the human organism. On the one hand, it brings nutrients such as vitamins into every cell and, on the other hand, it supplies all organs with the oxygen they need so that the body can maintain its function. As part of the gas exchange, used oxygen is constantly replaced by fresh.
The hemoglobin in the blood takes care of the binding of oxygen and carbon dioxide. At the same time, this is responsible for the typical red color. Once the blood is loaded with oxygen, its color shimmers in a lighter shade. If there is an undersaturation of the important substance, the blood appears bluish.
The vessels are particularly close to the skin surface on the lips. If there is a lack of oxygen, this is the first noticeable here because the vessels appear from under the skin. Thus, blue lips indicate an insufficient supply of oxygen.
Blue lips caused by a lack of oxygen are also known as cyanosis. Ultimately, the phenomenon arises due to multiple triggers, such as slowing blood circulation. Various factors are responsible for the fact that the vessels contract and the blood flow slows down. As soon as the human organism loses temperature and freezes, the vessels constrict. In this way the body tries to avoid further loss of heat.
Because the skin on the lips is particularly thin, the appearance is noticeable here. Circulatory disorders are triggered, for example, by blood clots as part of a thrombosis. This is a life-threatening condition and should quickly be under medical supervision. At the same time, circulatory disorders can generally be behind the symptom. Different processes can change the properties of the blood so that it can no longer transport enough oxygen. The main factor here is an increased concentration of methemoglobin.
The oxygen supply can also be disturbed in other places, such as the gas exchange in the lungs caused by lung diseases. If the heart no longer functions properly, an undersupply cannot be ruled out either.
When making a diagnosis, the doctor must be able to differentiate between peripheral and central cynosis. While in central cynosis the blood is not loaded with sufficient oxygen due to disorders, there is a reduction in the flow rate in the context of peripheral cynosis.
The doctor looks at the tongue, for example. A bluish discoloration indicates the presence of central cynosis. However, such a test cannot guarantee 100% reliability. In general, the diagnosis includes a gaze examination focusing on the lips, nose, ear lobes, mucous membranes and fingernails. By analyzing the patient's blood, the level of oxygen carried by the red blood cells can be measured.
The oxygen saturation can also be determined using pulse oximetry. The finger is illuminated by infrared light, whereby the color of the blood gives an indication of the oxygen saturation. If the doctor suspects a central cynosis, further examinations are ordered, which are primarily intended to examine the heart and lungs. The course of the disease depends on the underlying cause.
First of all, it should be noted that "blue lips" are only a symptom and not a disease. The blue lips themselves can therefore not cause complications. The diseases that cause the symptom of blue lips, on the other hand, can very well result in serious complications. If the blue lips appear as a result of cold, there is no need to worry. It is a normal body reaction to the cold. The blood is transported more slowly and the oxygen-poor blood that is in the veins appears bluish through the rather thin lips. This is, if at all, a cosmetic problem at best.
However, if the blue lips appear as part of a lung or heart disease, they are no longer harmless, but the symptom of a serious illness. Complications of these diseases can include permanent heart failure, chronic oxygen deficiency, and other diseases of the heart and lungs. In the context of an insufficient supply of oxygen, for example, it can lead to unconsciousness. Other possible "complications" include death. If there is a circulatory disorder due to a blood clot behind the blue lips, this can lead to death.
Usually, blue lips can be attributed to the cold and are harmless. Complications must be feared only if these occur more often and not in connection with cold. It is advisable to consult a doctor.
Blue lips are part of the medical phenomenon of cyanosis, which is caused by a lack of oxygen or the influence of cold. The appearance of blue lips due to the influence of cold is usually less threatening. Searching for a warm room usually helps here. A doctor is rarely needed. Blue lip syndrome is an under-supply of oxygen. The color of the lips is largely determined by the blood flowing in them. Oxygen-rich blood is freshly red, while the color of oxygen-deficient blood is darker and bluish.
Because of their thin skin, blue lips clearly indicate an insufficient supply of oxygen, and not just directly in the lip area, but also in the wider body, since the blood eventually flows, even if with cyanosis it may be slower than usual.
There are many possible causes for the blue lip symptom, including life-threatening body conditions. Blue lips can indicate an impending thrombosis, which justifies calling an emergency doctor. Lung diseases and heart diseases such as heart failure are also common causes of blue lips.
Here, too, it can be better to call the emergency doctor right away and thus possibly save a life. After the first emergency therapy, the family doctor, internist, cardiologist or pulmonologist will take over the further check-ups. These should definitely take place in order to avoid further emergencies.
Therapy depends on the trigger. The focus is on treating the cause that led to the lack of oxygen. For example, a thrombosis, heart failure or asthma must be treated. In this way it is also possible to control the blue discoloration of the lips. After all, these are not an independent disease, but only the symptom of another.
Therapy can therefore consist of medication, bed rest or surgery. For example, heart failure is treated by different components. Thus, those affected should initially avoid heavy physical work, eat a low-salt diet and achieve or maintain their normal weight. At the same time, drug therapy is initiated. This often consists of beta blockers and dehydrating agents.
If severe cardiac arrhythmias have developed, it may be necessary to use a pacemaker. Asthma is alleviated by two main means. These are able to widen the bronchi or to alleviate existing inflammation. In addition, the mucous membranes are swollen by means of drugs. Sufferers usually need to continue treatment throughout their lives.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) primarily requires patient cooperation with regard to tobacco consumption. To avoid the triggers of the disease, smoking is prohibited. Otherwise, certain sprays will cause the bronchi to enlarge.
Blue lips are a well-known phenomenon that suggests it is time to get warm. However, very few people know that they can also be dangerous. Parents in particular pay attention to whether their children get hints of blue lips when, for example, they play in the swimming pool in summer or outside in the snow in winter.
When blue lips are already appearing, it is high time to warm up the body again, because they are the first supposedly harmless sign of hypothermia. As long as something is done quickly now, the appearance of blue lips will have no further consequences. If the immune system is in poor health, the hypothermia could have been enough to open the door to bacilli. A cold is no longer unlikely.
If the body is not rewarmed when blue lips appear, the hypothermia will continue unhindered. It is of course extremely unlikely that this will happen in a summer swimming pool. In other situations, however, blue lips turn into severe hypothermia, which can result in all sorts of other complications such as cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest and respiratory arrest and, in extreme cases, death of the patient.
In these cases, however, it is no longer just about blue lips, but about cases in which the patient could not be brought out of the hypothermia quickly enough.
Blue lips can be prevented to a limited extent. The focus here is above all on a healthy lifestyle without cigarettes and with sufficient exercise. Existing excess weight should be reduced. In order to avoid deposits, we recommend a balanced diet with few animal fats and a lot of plant-based food.
After operations, an injection may be necessary to prevent a possible thrombosis. In general, people who are prone to circulatory disorders should not spend long episodes standing or sitting. The only way to prevent cyanosis is through preventive treatment of the underlying causes.
Blue lips are always an early indicator of insufficient oxygen supply to the blood. A number of self-help measures are available for treatment. However, it should be ensured that the symptoms were not caused by serious organic diseases or poisoning that require medical attention as quickly as possible.
In the many cases in which insufficient protection against cold temperatures has caused blue lips, a gentle supply of heat from outside and inside helps. Hot tea or other hot drinks - including hot tap water - carry heat directly into the body. From the outside, heat can also be carefully and actively supplied using a hot water bottle or other suitable means. If such items are not at hand, a wool blanket or thermal sheet can help, as they prevent the heat generated by the body from being radiated to the outside.
Essential oils or rubbing alcohol with which, for example, legs and arms are rubbed in are suitable for general support of the blood circulation. Cold arm casts that start on the back of the hand of the right arm and are carried out slowly up to the shoulder also have a particularly stimulating effect on the circulation. The left arm is then treated in the same way. Muscle movements are responsible for the generation of additional internal heat, because part of the energy from the conversion of ATP into ADP is converted into heat.