What is hyperemia?
Hyperemia is the increase of blood to your organs. There are a number of different reasons why hyperemia occurs. Sometimes, it may be caused by disease, a sign of something serious happening in the body. Other times it might just be a basic physical response to activity in the body.
Signs of hyperemia
Most cases of hyperemia are benign, healthy responses to activity. The signs and symptoms of hyperemia generally include:
However, there are different causes of hyperemia that may produce different kinds of symptoms.
Causes of hyperemia
There are two types of hyperemia: active hyperemia and passive hyperemia:
This is the increase of blood flow in response to an organ’s demand for more blood. This can be caused by the following:
As you eat food, the body must break it down and extract nutrients to use. Blood flows to the stomach and intestines to help with this process.
When the body temperature increases, extra blood flows to the skin to help the body release excess heat.
Hot Flashes and blushing
During perimenopause, hormones fluctuate as the body prepares to stop menstruating. These fluctuations in hormones can create hot flashes. A hot flash causes a rush of blood to the skin. Blushing has a similar effect as well.
Injury and infection
When an injury or infection occurs, the body sends blood to the area to repair the wound and fight off infection. The blood carries important immune cells that help the body self-repair. Severe trauma and infection can cause serious hyperemia and swelling.
Blocking or restricting an artery or vein will cause an increase in blood flow to that area. Bed rest can cause blockages. Once this is addressed, the blood will flow back through.
Passive hyperemia is an increase or build up of blood that can’t be pumped through the body. Usually, it occurs because of disease that causes poor function or a blockage in an artery or vein.
In the process of pumping blood through the body, oxygen-rich blood flows into one side of the heart and pumps out the other side to send the blood throughout the body.
If the heart can’t pump blood out through the body, it can build up and cause congestion in other organs like the liver, kidneys, and spleen, and lungs. This can lead to other serious health problems.
Blocking or restricting an artery or vein can cause hyperemia. Bedrest that causes persistent pressure on veins may lead to hyperemia and bed sores.
Thrombosis is a clot that forms in a vein or an artery. This clot blocks blood flow and causes a build up of blood in one area. Thrombosis can be caused by:
Your doctor will take your personal and medical history, along with noting your symptoms. They may also perform a physical exam and take your vital signs like your heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and temperature.
Depending on the type of hyperemia, your doctor may or may not perform tests. Active hyperemia is often a natural response that occurs as the body responds to activity. This can usually be diagnosed through symptoms and may not need tests.
Passive hyperemia may accompany other symptoms like:
If these symptoms occur along with variations in your vital signs, your doctor may also order:
- Blood tests
- Exercise stress test
- Imaging tests
Your doctor will use these to check the health and structure of arteries, veins, and the heart.
Treatment for hyperemia
Active hyperemia is often a natural response that occurs as the body responds to activity or tries to repair itself. Hyperemia during exercise, or caused by hot flashes, blushing, and digestion, generally don’t need treatment unless there are other symptoms. This is generally a healthy response in the body.
Treatment for passive hyperemia may involve lifestyle factors, medication, and medical devices, including:
The treatments will vary based on the cause of hyperemia. Adopting healthy lifestyle practices will benefit your overall health.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Heart Association: "Common Tests for Heart Failure."
American Heart Association: "Lifestyle Changes for Heart Failure."
American Heart Association: "Warning Signs of Heart Failure."
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: "Ischemic and Pressure-Induced Hyperemia: A Comparison."
Inflammatory Reaction: "Hyperemia, Stasis, and Increase in Vascular Permeability: New Methods for Their Quantitation."
John Hopkins Medicine: "Thrombosis."
Journal of Tissue Viability: "Hyperaemia."
Top What Is Hyperemia Caused By and Symptoms Related Articles
Natural Remedies for Hot FlashesHot flashes are experienced by many women, especially at night. However, not all women undergoing menopause experience hot flashes. What causes hot flashes? A hot flash is a feeling of warmth that spreads over the body. Treatment for hot flashes include hormone replacement therapy and alternative prescription medications such as:
- SSRIs (Effexor, Paxil, Prozac),
- clonidine (Catapres),
- megestrol (Megace),
- and gabapentin (Neurontin).
Blood Disorders QuizExactly what is sickle cell anemia? Learn about sickle cell and other diseases by testing your IQ with the Blood and Bleeding Disorders Quiz.
Blood Disorders: Types, Symptoms, and TreatmentsSome blood disorders are forms of cancer. Others are benign. Find out what happens and why.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT, Blood Clot in the Legs)Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in the deep veins, and can be caused by broken bones, trauma to a limb, immobility, medications, smoking, cancer, genetic predisposition, and cancer. Symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis in a leg are swelling, tenderness, redness, warmth, and pain. Treatments for DVT include medications and surgery.
DVT QuizTake the Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism Quiz to learn causes, symptoms, and treatments for these two dangerous conditions.
Healthy Eating: Foods That Help Increase Blood Flow CirculationGood blood flow circulation occurs when you eat the right foods. Choose cayenne pepper, beets, berries, fatty fish, pomegranate, garlic, walnuts, grapes, turmeric, spinach, and citrus fruit to keep blood flowing.
DVT SlideshowDeep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a dangerous and sometimes fatal blood clot that occurs deep within the lower leg or thigh. Understand the symptoms, treatment and prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Heart failure (congestive) is caused by many conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that overwork the heart. Symptoms of heart failure include
- congested lungs,
- fluid and water retention,
- fatigue and weakness, and
- rapid or irregular heartbeats.
There are two types of congestive heart failure, systolic or left-sided heart failure; and diastolic or right-sided heart failure. Treatment, prognosis, and life-expectancy for a person with congestive heart failure depends upon the stage of the disease.
Heart Failure QuizWhat is heart failure? Learn about this dangerous condition, as well as who is at risk, and what to do about it.
Hot FlashesHot flashes (or flushing) is the most common symptom experienced by a woman prior to and during the early stages of menopause, and often is described as the feeling of warmth that spreads over the body, often starting at the head accompanied by sweating. Symptoms of hot flashes include flushing, excessive sweating, anxiety, and palpitations.
Hyponatremia (Low Blood Sodium)Hyponatremia is a condition in which the levels of sodium in the blood is too low. Some of the symptoms of hyponatremia include headaches, muscle cramps or spasm, seizures, weakness, restlessness, and confusion. Hyponatremia can occur from excess fluid in the body, or a loss of sodium in body fluid. Causes of low levels of sodium in the blood include chronic diseases like kidney or congestive heart failure, adrenal gland problems, hypothyroidism, and liver cirrhosis, and some medications. Diet and other lifestyle changes in addition to treatment with electrolyte replacement with an IV. Other treatments for hyponatremia depend upon the cause.
High Red Blood Cell Count (Polycythemia)Polycythemia (elevated red blood cell count) is a rare blood disease in which the body produces too many red blood cells. Causes of polycythemia are either primary (acquired or genetic mutations) or secondary (diseases, conditions, high altitude).
Causes of Flushing (Hot Flashes)Menopause isn't the only thing that causes flushing (hot flashes). Find out what else can trigger these sudden waves of heat as your body tries to cool down.