You probably don’t spend much time looking at other people’s palms, or indeed, even your own palms. So if you or someone else has red palms, you may not notice it right away. Depending on how bright the coloring it, it can be easy or difficult to discern.
Red palms are referred to in the medical field as palmar erythema. Having red palms can result from various medical issues, and each one has its own level of severity. In many patients, they display red palms, but there is not one identifiable cause, and they are just referred to as primary palmar erythema. But in other cases, red palms could be symptomatic of another, underlying medical problem, and these present as secondary palmar erythema.
If you don’t normally have abnormal red coloring in your palms, and you notice that they have become red, you need to consult your physician. This coloring can be a sign of a medical condition.
If you speak with a specialist, he will tell you that palms are related to the thyroid gland, the body’s hormones and the functionality of your circulatory system. So if your palms have begun to look red, it can be symptomatic of an underlying disease, and you do need to speak with your physician.
Red Palms Symptoms
There are a number of common symptoms that are associated with the appearance of red palms:
- The palm area affected most is the fleshy mass near the medial area, known as the hypothenar eminence.
- The redness may also appear on the palm near the base of the thumb, in an area known as the thenar eminence.
- The palms will display an overall reddish tinge.
- The affected skin may feel warm when you touch it.
- You may also experience red on the soles of your feet.
- There is usually no pain, itchiness or scaling of the affected area.
Red Palms – Potential Causes
Here are the most commonly seen causes that lead to red palms:
- Idiopathic – No triggers are identified and the cause is unknown.
- Heredity – The role of heredity in red palm onset has been identified only in some rare cases.
- Pregnancy – During pregnancy, the circulatory system undergoes changes and the body has increased levels of estrogen. Red palms are commonly linked with pregnancy.
- Adrenal gland problems
- Liver disease – including cirrhosis, hereditary hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, hepatitis and other hereditary liver diseases – In cases of chronic liver disease, red palms may come from abnormal levels of estrogen or estradiol.
- Thyroid problems – hyperthyroidism, thyrotoxicosis – These patients present with increased estradiol levels, which lead to the development of red palms.
- Cancer – including ovarian cancer, liver cancer, metastases, brain cancer and leukemia – Growing tumors always cause a rise in estrogen levels, which is among the reasons that red palms develop.
- Shoulder-hand syndrome – also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy – This affects the body’s upper extremities. It presents with rigidity and pain in the fingers, shoulders and hands. This is accompanied by red palms.
- Circulatory problems – known as polycythemia vera
- Diabetes mellitus – Many patients with diabetes describe their palms as not only red but also hot to the touch. For some patients, their palms may have red spots, rather than being entirely red.
- Rheumatological disease – includes rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus – The precise link between red palms and rheumatoid arthritis isn’t identified as of yet, but 60% of RA patients have red palms, too.
- Smoking – Prolonged, lifelong smoking may lead to problems in the circulatory system, especially in the hands, which leads to red palms.
- Some medications – Albuterol (used for asthma), Topiramate (an anti-convulsant), Cholestyramine (a bile acid sequestrant), Gemfibrozil (a drug used in lipid level reduction) and Amiodarone (an antiarrhythmic agent) can cause red palms.
- Oral contraceptives – These lead to high estrogen levels, just like pregnancy does. High levels of estrogen lead to red palms for some women.
- Chronic mercury intoxication – Chronic mercury poisoning may lead to cutaneous and neurological symptoms. Among these symptoms, you’ll find red palms.
- Sarcoidosis – This disease affects multiple systems and causes inflammation. It comes with many symptoms, and one of these is red palms.
- Abuse of alcohol – excessive and prolonged drinking of alcohol affects the liver in a negative way. This leads to high estradiol and estrogen levels, which leads to red palms.
- Myelopathy – This condition is a degenerative one, leading to spinal cord pinching, as well as problems with circulation, including red palms.
- Gestational syphilis – Becoming infected with syphilis while pregnant may lead to the development of red palms and other symptoms.
Treatment for Red Palms
At this time, there are no specific treatments just for red palms. The symptom frequently disappears when the underlying cause is identified and properly treated. However, red palms may appear without any medical history of problems, or even any identifiable cause. If you have red palms but no underlying conditions, after testing, this condition could simply disappear without treatment.
Pictures of Red Palms
Here are some of the pictures of red fingers and palms: