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Mottled Skin: When Should You Be Concerned?
Mottled skin can result from poor blood circulation in the body and can be solved with just a short bath in warm water. However, mottling of the skin can also occur before death. With the many reasons why mottling happens, when should you let yourself worry?
What Is Mottled Skin?
The mottled definition is that of smears and spots of colors presenting on any surface. Thus, mottled skin, also known as livedo reticularis or dyschromia, occurs when the skin shows patchy and irregular colors. Mostly it is red and purple, appearing in streaks or spots and may even have a marbled semblance.
What Are the Causes of Mottled Skin?
There are a lot of reasons why skin turns mottled. Some of them are the following.
Cold or Low Temperatures
Low temperatures, especially when they hit the freezing mark, affect blood circulation. The blood vessels and arteries shrink so the blood can’t pass through them quickly. Oxygen is also restricted, forcing the heart to work harder in order to supply blood all over the body.
The most uncomplicated treatment would be to move to a place with a warmer temperature and wait for your skin to return to its original color.
These shocks are results from trauma or other medical emergencies such as infections or poisons. Shock needs immediate medical attention, depending on the degree of trauma and concussion.
Side Effect or Reaction to Certain Medicines
Side effects depend on your allergies or the overall condition of your body. Because of specific reactions, there are some medicines that you should not take. Taking them on accident, or without the knowledge that your body has an adverse reaction to them, can cause mottling.
The following are examples of medicines that can cause mottled skin:
- Minocycline (Minocin)
- Gemcitabine (Gemzar)
Hypothyroidism takes place when the thyroid is abnormally inactive. When the thyroid is underactive, it does not produce the proper thyroid hormones responsible for the body’s energy management. Hypothyroidism will make an individual lazy, have mood swings, and can even cause depression.
A study found out that 80% of those with primary hypothyroidism have thin epidermis, making their skin dry and mottled.
Lupus affects any part of the body. It is an autoimmune disease that’s persistent and continuously recurring. Those with lupus are sensitive to sunlight, and this results in rashes. A butterfly-shaped rash on the face is a symptom of lupus.
When digestive enzymes “eat” the pancreas, it becomes inflamed and causes pancreatitis. It can be chronic and acute. Acute pancreatitis can result in the mottling of the skin in the abdomen area.
7. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Another autoimmune disorder is Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s the inflammation of joints on both sides of your body. Meaning that if your left knee is affected, your right knee will be as well. It results in dark, patchy skin brought about by the damaged blood vessels.
8. Poor Blood Circulation
Lack of oxygenated blood containing hemoglobin is also a viable reason for this discoloration. Regular exercises and drinking the right amount of water your body needs are the standard solution to have good blood circulation. Massages can also help. For a healthy person, immersing themselves in warm water can make the discoloration disappear.
9. Hughes Syndrome
Antiphospholipid Syndrome or APS is an autoimmune condition that increases a person’s risk of developing blood clots. It generally affects young to middle-aged adults. It involves the blood vessels, and the mottled skin appears in the wrists or knees.
10. End of Life
Mottled skin is also a sign of dying. Those with a terminal illness or are in the late stages of their life exhibit the patchy, red-purplish color of the mottled skin.
What Are the Symptoms of Mottled Skin?
Mottled skin is easy to spot as it has blotchy, red, and purple colors. It can also appear anywhere in the body and can go away on its own. If it doesn’t go away on its own, you can go to your doctor and let yourself be checked.
What Are the Treatment Options for Mottled Skin?
Treatments for mottled skin vary, and the options depend on the cause.
Body shock demands immediate medical attention. While other diseases, such as lupus, come with prescribed medicines to manage your body’s reactions. New medication or change in dosage can control side effects or reactions. Discuss it with your doctor as you notice these reactions. Others will need you to have a lifestyle change. To eat healthily and have regular exercise.
Does the Mottling of Skin Occur Before Death?
Yes. Since the person is nearing death, circulation only comes to the vital organs. What is mottling for those nearing death? Mottling often comes around one to four weeks before the end of life. However, it is not always the case and will vary per individual. The mottling comes from the skin temperatures going from highs to lows repeatedly, making the skin pale and moist. It starts near the bottom parts of the body, such as the feet.
End-Stage of Life Mottling Symptoms
There are many symptoms of skin mottling when an individual’s body is starting to shut down.
- The occurrence of blood disorders such as low platelet count
- Development of medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Sudden changes in body temperature
- Inconsistent heart rate and blood pressure
- Dyspnea or shortness of breath
- Not wanting to eat as the digestive system slows down
- The Inability to feel any discomfort or pain as they feel more tired and will tend to be more focused on their exhaustion
- The need to sleep more
- Fewer bowel movements
- Less urine
- Restless and irritated
- Disorientation of time and space
Learn More About the Mottling of Skin Near Death With All American Hospice
Do you have any loved ones who have the symptoms above? If you want professional support on adequately taking care of them, feel free to contact All American Hospice today. We have an array of professionals who understand what you and your loved one will need.