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What causes red streaks on the hands that turn purple after sometime?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1405 Questions
Awakend at 9am yesterday w/ pain & itch at elbow; felt feverish, noticed red streaks across fingers & hands; moved from bed to chair by phone, to call doctor, & fe ll asleep; awakened llpm, streaks had become purple, extending from fingers to shoulder; decided to call family, and fell asleep till 8am, today; less feverish, and purple streaks faded to reddish. What's haappening?
Fri, 13 Apr 2018 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Salah Saad Shoman 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Various possible causes

Detailed Answer:
Dear Sir,
I have gone through your question and I understand your concerns,

But I would like to see a photo of the streaks affecting your skin. So, if possible please attach/upload a photo in the follow-up question.

However, this could be due to a number of causes including cellulitis which is an infection of the skin or subcutaneous tissues and is accompanied with fever, swelling, red or purple streaks of the skin that indicates spreading of infection and sometimes drowsiness and lethargy... This should be treated with an antibiotic course for 7-10 days...

Another cause is increased secretion of cortisol hormone ( Cushing syndrome ) and this can lead to weight gain, muscle weakness, fatigue, high blood pressure and purplish or reddish streaks of the skin...

I would recommend a blood test of cortisol level to either confirm or exclude this possibility...

I hope you find this helpful
Let me know if I can assist you further...

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes red streaks on the hands that turn purple after sometime? 2 hours later
Thank you. This is consistent with a diagnosis a decade ago of adrenal exhaustion. Also, for your information, of post-traumatic stress syndrome originating in early infantile 3rd degree burn (recovery from which occupied the first 4 months of my life, I am told.)
Answered by Dr. Salah Saad Shoman 13 hours later
Brief Answer:
Different conditions

Detailed Answer:
Dear sir, hello again . adrenal fatigue or insuffiency is different from the Cushing syndrome which I have suggested as a cause of your symptoms. Despite that both conditions affect the adrenal gland and both can causes extreme fatigue and sleepiness but adrenal insufficiency means that the amount of cortisol secreted is below normal while Cushing syndrome means that the amount of cortisol secreated is above normal .
adrenal insufficiency causes dark pigementation of the skin, while Cushing syndrome causes red or purple pigmentation of the skin.. to differentiate between both conditions you need a blood test of the cortisol level in your blood. I hope you find this helpful..
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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