Circumoral Cyanosis (In Newborns & Adults) – Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Prevention


Cyanosis, derived from the Greek word ”kuaneos” translating as dark blue, refers to the bluish color of the skin resulting from low blood circulation or oxygen supply. Circumoral refers to the area circling or surrounding the mouth.

When the deoxygenated hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells which transports oxygen throughout the human body) in the blood reaches between 4 to 6 g/dl, this condition may be seen.

This blood is purple or bluish giving the skin and mucous membranes their appearance. In dark-skinned people, circumoral cyanosis (CC) may be easier to see in the mucous membranes (gums, lips, area around the eyes) and nails.

Symptoms of Circumoral Cyanosis

  • breathing difficulties – this is a severe symptom that needs careful monitoring of the patient and is particularly seen in a newborn along with CC.
  • chest pain – if this condition is caused by pleural effusion (the excess fluid which accumulates in the pleural cavity), pulmonary embolism (a blockage of an artery in the lungs by a substance), or pneumonia, the sufferer may experience chest pain.


Acute respiratory distress syndrome (occurs when fluid builds up in the alveoli) or neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (usually caused by a lack of a slippery substance in the lungs called surfactant) – this condition may lead to CC since the lungs can’t provide sufficient oxygen for the rest of the body.

Cold exposure — a moderate cold exposure allows for increased unloading of oxygen from the blood to the tissue and slows the transit times considerably through capillary beds in young children and infants, leading to this condition. Nevertheless, this rapidly resolves with patient warming.

Obstruction of the pulmonary blood flow that may lead to pulmonary stenosis (it is the most usual cause of congenital outflow tract obstruction). Even with normal arterial oxygenation, CC can occur when there is an increased extraction of oxygen at the capillary level.

Raynaud’s disease, also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, is a condition that affects the blood supply to certain parts of the human body, especially the feet and hands.

Heart conditions, like – congenital heart disease, heart failure (occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t pump blood), or cardiac arrest (the cessation of any spontaneous mechanical activity of the heart).


Treatment for CC involves treating the underlying disease.

For newborns, the initial stabilization may require oxygenation. Occasionally, a ventilator or breathing machine might be needed.

Note – severe CC requires urgent supportive therapy. This will include intravenous fluids withholding of enteral feedings.


The congenital or acquired disorders of this condition can’t be prevented. However, this condition is usually caused by problems of the respiratory or cardiovascular systems for adults. Hence, here are some lifestyle changes you can quickly make:

Note – the sooner you start, the higher are your chances of preventing or delaying this condition as well as numerous other conditions, like heart disease – a life-threatening condition that kills more people in the United States than the next four leading causes of death combined.

Don’t Smoke Tobacco

Smoking cigarettes is one of the leading causes of various diseases among which circulatory system diseases are the most frequent ones. Also, you shouldn’t go to places where people smoke cigarettes (to avoid secondhand smoking) and try to ban smoking in your house and workplace (if possible).

Avoid Alcoholic Beverages

Unless your alcohol consumption is already low, lowering the number of alcoholic beverages you drink can help protect your cardiovascular system.

Get Enough Sleep

Make sure you get adequate sleep because sleep deprivation negatively affects the body’s capacity to handle stress which is a major factor for respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

Physical Exercise

Daily moderate physical exercise is one of the best methods to keep your body healthy since it generates a proper blood flow in the body that notably reduces the chances of getting a cardiovascular system disease.

You can choose cycling, jogging, walking, swimming, soccer, tennis, or any other sports which can keep your physical body working. A minimum of 60 to 90 minutes of moderate physical exercise daily is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.


According to a 2012 study, individuals who practiced meditation twice per day for twenty-five minutes had lower blood pressure, experienced less anger and stress, and they were less likely to have a stroke or heart attack.

Lower Your LDL Cholesterol

Research has concluded that people who are at the highest risk for cardiovascular problems should lower their LDL and total cholesterol levels. An LDL cholesterol level of 70 may be the ideal value for individuals at the very highest level of risk.

Eat Foods Rich In Dietary Fiber

Fiber may improve blood sugar control and plays a vital role in your heart, digestive, and skin health, and more. Fiber is also effective in lowering your total cholesterol, and you will get vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients the natural way, from foods.

Foods rich in fiber include – chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, green peas, red kidney beans, chickpeas, artichokes, okra, zucchini, turnips, carrots, apples, pineapples, mangoes, papayas, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet potatoes, or potatoes.

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