Blue Nails May Be a Sign of These 3 Medical Conditions

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Have you ever been working on a client and noticed that their natural nails have a blue tinge to them? While this may be a matter of poor circulation, research suggests it could be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition.

According to an article on, in some cases, fingernails can turn blue or purplish because of cyanosis, which can also affect the lips and skin. This happens when the blood is not carrying enough oxygen to the fingertips or the person has poor circulation. It can also result from problems with hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen.

Nail techs who encounter blue nails should keep in mind that if just one nail is blue, it is more than likely an injury causing blood to collect under the nail. Also, cold weather can impact poor circulation because of blood vessels narrowing in the reduced temperatures. The normal nail color should return when the person warms their hands, the article states.

Medical conditions that cause cyanosis include:

  1. Lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pneumonia and pulmonary embolism.
  2. Heart diseases, including congenital heart disease, Eisenmenger’s syndrome and congestive heart failure.
  3. Blood cell and vessel abnormalities, including methemoglobinemia, carbon monoxide poisoning, polycythemia vera and Raynaud’s phenomenon.

If a client has blue nails, suggest they visit their doctor for a more in-depth diagnosis and potential treatment.

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