Acrocyanosis is a medical condition where the extremities, most commonly the hands, are discolored with a blue or cyanotic color. While it is most commonly experienced in the hands it can also affect the feet and also the distal parts of the face. While it is a benign cosmetic condition that does not usually require any sort of medical treatment.
The most common symptoms of Acrocyanosis is the persistent discoloring of the hands, feet and/or face. These extremities often are cold to the touch and may have a clammy feel to them. In some cases there could be some swelling (made worse during warm weather). It is important to note that the pulse taken in the extremities should be normal indicating it is not a circulation problem.
The exact cause of Acrocyanosis is currently not known but many experts believe that vasospasms in the coetaneous arteries produces the discoloration associated with this condition. The compensatory dilation that occurs in the post capillary venules causes the sweating that is normally associated with acrocyanosis.
There is not currently a standard treatment used for Acrocyanosis. Since the condition does not cause any serious medical problems it is rarely treated medically or surgically though a sympathectomy can resolve the issue. That procedure is very extreme and not recommended due to the high risk involved and little benefit.
Diagnosis of Acrocyanosis
Acrocyanosis is diagnosed clinically using a variety of indicators including medical history, a physical examination of the extremities and confirmation that the pulse is normal. Lab studies and imaging is not normally used to diagnose this condition. Some doctors will run a pulse oximetry to confirm normal oxygen levels in the blood going through the hands or feet. This will confirm that the issue is not something more serious that needs more medical attention.