What is it?

-Edema is the swelling of a certain body part due to the accumulation of water and salts. It is typically a symptom of a different condition. Edema is usually localized and affects the legs or the arms, but it can affect any part of the body. On the other hand, edema can be generalized, meaning the whole body swells. This condition is called "extreme generalized edema" or "anasarca". Causes of edema are many, including injury, diet, menstruation, pregnancy, dehydration or overhydration, certain medications, and health conditions. Anasarca usually indicates a more severe disease, such as liver failure, kidney failure, heart failure, severe malnutrition, or serious allergic reaction. Anasarca can be an emergency and should be examined thoroughly.
-Jaundice is a condition in which the skin, the eyes and mucous membranes turn yellow. It is caused by high levels of bilirubin, which has a yellow pigment. Bilirubin is formed due to breakdown of red blood cells.- that’s why a reabsorption of large hematoma or hemolytic anemia can cause jaundice. During the production of bilirubin, jaundice may be caused by Hepatitis or EBV infection, alcohol consumption, autoimmune disorders, rare genetic metabolic diseases and medicines such as penicillins and oral contraceptives. After bilirubin is produced, anything that makes bile accumulate may result in jaundice- gallstones, inflammation of gallbladder, gallbladder cancer or a pancreatic tumor.

-Paleness, or pallor, is a condition in which there is an unusual lightness of skin color compared with normal complexion. Paleness could be caused by reduced blood flow, as what happens in shock, or by decreased number of red blood cells, such as what happens in anemia. Paleness could be general or localized to one limb, typically. Paleness can also be caused by little sun exposure. Localized paleness can be caused by occlusion of an artery.

-Flushing is a temporary redness of the skin, typically the face, which is involuntary. It occurs due to dilation of vessels beneath the skin surface- so the color of the blood can be more visible. Usually, flushing is a normal physiologic response to hot temperature, exercings, eating spicy food or drinking alcoholic beverages. Some people are flushed in response to stress, anger or embarrassment. Hormonal changes could also cause flushing, or carcinoid tumors that produce hormones that result in vascular changes. Allergic reactions and inflammations could also produce flushing. Medication could also cause it, as well as conditions such as hyperthyroidism, polycythemia and mastocytosis.

-Cyanosis could be either central or peripheral.
Peripheral cyanosis is a bluish color of the skin in the hand and feet, usually caused by low oxygen levels in the red blood cells or problems getting the blood oxygenated. Sometimes it could be caused due to vessel narrowing, occurring when there are cold temperatures. Causes for not enough blood being delivered to tissues include venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis, Raynaud's phenomenon, lymphedema, heart failure, arterial insufficiency, hypotension and hypovolemia. Central cyanosis is seen on the lips and tongue, and it is caused by heart and lung disease, abnormal hemoglobin types like methemoglobin or sulfhemoglobin.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Changes in Skin Texture
- Eschar
- Induration of skin
- Thickening of skin

Signs & symptoms

-Symptoms of localized edema may include:
- Swelling of one or more body parts (usually lower extremities).
- A discomfort in the swollen area.
- Difficulty in moving the swollen area.
Symptoms of anasarca include:
- Generalized swelling of the whole body.
- High or low blood pressure.
- Fast or slow heart rate.
- A sense of discomfort and difficulty to move at all.
- Difficulty breathing.
- chest pain.

-Jaundice is a symptom, which may be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the underlying cause- fever, chills, abdominal pain, flu-like symptoms, dark colored urine or clay-colored stool and pruritus.

-Paleness is a symptom that may be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the cause. For example, rapid heart rate, chest pain and shortness of breath could be more signs of anemia.

-Flushing is a symptom that may be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on its underlying cause. Symptoms may include sweating, fever, flu like symptoms, dizziness, diarrhea, changes in level of consciousness and more.

-Cyanosis may be accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, shallow breathing, and rapid breathing.


-Diagnosis is made by questioning and investigating the medical history and physical examination to provide additional information and define the cause. Further tests include:
- Blood testing.
- CT or MRI scans.
- Heart testing – including EKG, ultrasound, and stress test.
- Allergy tests.

-Jaundice is diagnosed clinically. Diagnosing the reason for jaundice can be done by physical examination, urinalysis, complete blood count, and imaging of the liver.

-Paleness is diagnosed in a physical examination- it should be noted if there is paleness in the inner membranes of the lower eyelid, palms of the hands, fingernails, tongue or inside the mouth. Then, blood tests should be performed.

-Flushing is diagnosed clinically. Diagnosing the reason for flushing can be done by physical examination, blood work, and imaging tests.

-Cyanosis is diagnosed on a physical examination, saturation test, followed by blood work and sometimes chest X-ray or CT-scan.


-Treatment of edema and anasarca depends on the underlying condition. Usually, once the underlying cause is treated, the swelling resolves as well. In addition, some medications (called diuretics) target the accumulation of water and salts in the body tissues and help the body remove the excess fluid through the urine.

-Jaundice is usually not treated, but the underlying cause should be treated, as well as its complications such as the pruritus.

-Treatment depends on the underlying cause and it's severity. Treatment for anemia may include blood transfusion, iron supplements and more.

-Flushing itself does not require any treatment, but sometimes the underlying cause must be treated.

-Treatment for peripheral cyanosis varies depending on the underlying cause. There are some medications that can help to dilate blood vessels such as antihypertensive, antidepressant and erectile dysfunction drugs. Other medications, such as beta blockers should be avoided. Beyond that, the underlying cause like pneumonia, obstructive pulmonary disease and more should be treated.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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