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Blue hands and feet

Discussion in 'Autonomic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory' started by Katie, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. Katie

    Katie Guest

    Hello, I posted this symptom quite randomly in the questionnaire thread as I wanted to know if this problem had a particular name. However, a few suggestions came up as to what it could be so I thought I would describe my blueness and see where it led.

    I get occasional bouts of my fingers and feet turning a dusky blue. It has been as bad as the blue reaching half way up my calves. It's not painful and sometimes I only notice because I happen to have taken my socks off for a shower or something. I also suffer with my little finger going white and cold which is another circulation issue. I have seen a nurse practitioner after getting an emergency appointment and he told me it was because my body thought something bad was happening (fainting for example) so my blood was sent to my vital organs. He said it could have happened due to the temperature change of getting out of the shower (it was after getting out of the shower that I noticed the blue reaching up my legs). It was put down as an ME symptom.

    I don't know if this is related either but sometimes when I'm in the shower my palms go blue and I can see all the veins really clearly. Bit odd but it's another weird thing I've had for years.

    So far raynauds phenomenon has been suggested but I would have thought the nurse practitioner would have mentioned that. It looks to be the most likely if it's not just a nameless ME symptom.
    Ehlers-Danlos has also been mentioned but I don't fit the criteria for that being short and inflexible ;)
    Blood pooling is another theory but I don't know much about that or whether it could be rectified.

    Any ideas? I'm not unduly worried but after all these years I feel I should know a little more about things that happen to me rather than just saying it's ME all the time.
  2. Hi Katie,

    I have very cold feet and fairly cold hands pretty much all the time, while getting hot flushes in my face and upper body at least once a day.

    It is most odd. Yesterday my husband thought I'd been outside in my bare feet but I'd been in our lovely warm flat all the time in just a vest and jeans.

    I do suspect we both have Raynaud's Phenomenon.

    TBH I wouldn't expect a health professional to always put their finger on what a symptom is and how to treat it. I used to live with a bunch of medical students and I was totally shocked at all the facts they had to learn just to pass. It was unbelievable. No wonder they can't always tell what's wrong with us, especially as they have to learn more and more things all the time.

    Next time you're there, suggest it. Once you mention a name like that, little bells will go off in the nurse's or GP's head (if they're worth their salt) and they'll be able to tell you if it looks like the RP that they've seen in other patients. That's certainly knowledge they have that we don't.

    -Rachel xx
  3. jimbob

    jimbob ME/CFS84-XMRV+

    myrtle beach, s.c.
    not blue hands, but I have had very red palms ever since I can remember
  4. cfs since 1998

    cfs since 1998

    It's called cyanosis. I've experienced this too, and it's mainly a problem in my feet rather than my hands. Actually if I hold my fingers next to my toes the difference in coloration is kind of alarming. But both hands and feet are always very cold.
  5. Dainty

    Dainty Senior Member

    When my temperature plummets my fingernails will turn blue, but my skin is its regular color. Raising my body temperature back up cures the problem.
  6. FernRhizome

    FernRhizome Senior Member

    Blue and red feet and hands can be from blood pooling....both of those parts are far from the heart and "down hill" so it can be hard, with CFS, for the heart and circulatory system to get the blood back up the arms and back up the legs. We have low blood volume and as I posted somewhere else there are three things that keep our blood circulating: our hearts, the smooth muscles of our blood vessels, and the weight and use of our skeletal muscles as they put pressure on the smooth muscles of the blood vessels. In CFS the blood vessels aren't working right and, Dr. Bell's theory, they are constricted and so can't pump blood well. This puts an undue amount of responsibility on the heart which can't do it all. So blood pools in low spots....

    But the white fingers sounds more like raynauds....~Fern
  7. Katie

    Katie Guest

    I had no idea anyone had replied to this, I must use the subscribe function!

    It does sound like Raynauds to me, I might bring it up again with my doctor but I'll see how I go, it's not painful, just irritating (especially having the weird little fingers, they are like icicles!) Reminds me I forgot to buy a wheat bag again today and Cleo the cat prefers sleeping on my chest rather than my feet. And she dribbles.
  8. julius

    julius Watchoo lookin' at?

    Me too. Living in Canada is hard. On really cold winter days, my hands and feet will freeze so badly that when I come inside and warm them, they swell to the point that I can't bend my fingers.

    Since this is probably a circulation issue, I was wondering if anyone here has the following. If I push on my skin (anywhere) with my finger for a second or two, when stop I have a white mark on my skin that takes 2-3 seconds to return to normal skin color.

    When I was a kid (with cfs) one of my friends noticed this. I was the only kid in class that had it.

    Try it out and see if it's the same for you.
  9. Katie

    Katie Guest

    Ah, well, my nails are currently pink. Oster shell pink to be exact. I couldn't sleep the other night so I painted them. I'll get back to you!
  10. julius

    julius Watchoo lookin' at?

    Oops, that's not what I meant. If I push on my arm, there will be a white spot on my arm where my finger was. Not white under my nail.
  11. Katie

    Katie Guest

    Just did that and I'm ok, but I'm going to try it again when I have another episode of my white or blueness. My hands are toasty for the first time tonight!
  12. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

    Bay Area, California
    Yep I have that too. I bet it's from low blood circulation too. Geez, no wonder we're so exhausted. One of my fingernails turned really blue for a month once. My fingernails look bluer at times. I can feel the blood pooling in my hands and feet when I walk sometimes.

    Katie, yours sounds like Raynaud's to me as well.
  13. beesknees

    beesknees Senior Member

    I've never had blue hands or feet but my lips do turn blue sometimes. But it doesn't seem to happen when I'm cold.
  14. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member

    When my youngest child was a few months old I lifted him from his cot one morning and his feet to and hands were navy blue. I panicked because I thought it was his heart and rushed him to the doctor.

    It was diagnosed as Raynaud's condition. It turns out my daughter husband and mother in law all have it but their fingers go white, the navy blue is more extreme.

    There are pills which help, but they are for extreme cases - it is possible to lose fingers. Gloves and warm socks obviously but my son developed chilblains as a teenager because of it. He didn't feel cold because the blood was going from his extremities to keep his core warm. When he strayed to wear a t shirt under his shirt his feet were much better.

    In their case, it is a genetic defect which means the blood vessels snap shut when it is cold. I think in ME and CFS it is that the blood vessels are compromised.

    It is important not to rub your fingers to get them warm or to apply too much heat as it could break the vessels. I would let the kids put their hands on my tummy as body heat can warm gradually. Tepid water is fine or keeping gloves on in the house.

    My son has fingerless gloves he wears indoors and you can get wrist warmers designed for people with arthritis to keep their hands warm for the pain.

  15. Scarlett


    YES! I get this a lot, hands and feet often a really unsettling shade of dirty blue. It's not always when they're cold though, sometimes they are just a funny colour - and I get totally white, grey or blue-tinged finger nails often too. I thought it may be to do with anaemia but I'm not sure. I have also started getting the strange, yellowy-white freezing little fingers and my feet are often freezing cold even though I am wrapped in a sleeping bag on the sofa with two pairs of socks on. When I was first ill I had very distinct differences between left and right - my right side was weak and tired and I had a lot of nerve sensations all down my right side, particularly in the right side of my face. I noticed then that often my right hand was blue/mottled and my left was pink.

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