What are blue lips?
Blue lips occur when the skin on the lips takes on a bluish tint or color. This generally is due to either a lack of oxygen in the blood or to extremely cold temperatures. When the skin becomes a bluish color, the symptom is called cyanosis.
Most commonly, blue lips are caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood. This may happen when you are at high altitude or if you are choking, or it may be due to chronic underlying conditions such as lung diseases or chronic heart defects. A lack of oxygen in the blood can lead to a blue coloration of your skin that is most quickly seen in your hands, feet and lips.
Looking for a Doctor?
Blue lips are a symptom that can indicate a severe medical condition and should always be promptly evaluated by a medical professional.
Blue lips are a serious symptom that may be caused by a serious or life-threatening underlying condition. If you, or someone you are with, have blue lips with other serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, chest pains, fatigue, fainting or change in level of consciousness or lethargy, seek immediate medical care (call 911).
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- Skin discoloration - bluish. MedlinePlus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003215.htm
- Cyanotic heart disease. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001104.htm
- Kahan S, Miller R, Smith EG (Eds.). In A Page Signs & Symptoms, 2d ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Williams, 2009.