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Purple skin Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Purple skin. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you noticed the purple skin?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic.

  2. Is the skin truly purple?

    Why: A purple or blue-purple skin coloring is sometimes described as blueness or redness, and some conditions causing purple coloring may also be listed under blueness, cyanosis, redness, hyperpigmentation or dark skin. See cyanosis.

  3. Is the purple skin color localized or generalized?
  4. If localized purple discoloration to skin, what areas of the body are affected?

    Why: may assist in diagnosis e.g. reddish purple flush around the eyes associated with swelling is characteristic of dermatomyositis.

  5. Was the purple skin present at birth?

    Why: suggests port wine stain or strawberry nevus.

  6. If purple skin is actually bruising, have you noticed bleeding from other areas?

    Why: e.g. blood in urine, heavy menstrual periods, bleeding nose, bleeding gums, swollen painful joints, rectal bleeding? - suggests presence of a systemic bleeding defect.

  7. If purple skin is actually bruising, what type of bruising is it?

    Why: e.g. purpura ( multiple small hemorrhages into the skin or mucous membranes); petechiae (small pinhead size purpura); ecchymoses ( large purpura).

  8. If petechiae are present, are they palpable?

    Why: if palpable it suggests due to an underlying vasculitis affecting small vessels e.g. polyarteritis nodosa; if not palpable it suggests due to a platelet defect.

  9. If bruising is present, is bruising abnormal and out of proportion to the offending injury?

    Why: suggests a disturbance of coagulation.

  10. If bruising is present, is bruising spontaneous?

    Why: suggests the presence of a systemic bleeding defect.

  11. If bruising is present, does bruising occur immediately after trauma or is it delayed?

    Why: if immediate suggests platelet defect; if delayed i.e. 24 hrs after trauma it suggests a coagulation factor deficiency.

  12. If bruising is present, what has been the response to previous coagulation stresses?

    Why: e.g. tooth extraction, circumcision, pregnancy - if normal response, suggests an acquired not inherited problem.

  13. Did you notice a viral illness or sore throat beforehand?

    Why: may suggest acute Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) especially in children.

  14. Past medical history?

    Why: Acquired bleeding disorders which may cause purple colored bruising can occur with liver disease, renal failure, lupus erythematosus and some cancers such as Multiple myeloma, myelofibrosis; sarcoidosis; dermatomyositis; HIV infection.

  15. Medications?

    Why: Acquired bleeding disorders which may cause purple colored bruising may be due to certain prescribed medications e.g. aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, anticoagulant therapy, thiazide diuretics, chloramphenicol, cancer chemotherapy drugs, gold, heparin, quinine, quinidine, sulphonamides.

  16. Sexual history?

    Why: may help determine risk of HIV which is associated wih Kaposi's sarcoma.

  17. Blue tongue?

    Why: may indicate central cyanosis which is due to a lack of oxygenated hemoglobin in the blood vessels and thus may indicate high altitude, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary embolism, cyanotic congenital heart disease, polycythaemia or hemoglobin abnormalities. Any cause of central cyanosis can also cause peripheral cyanosis and thus blue skin.

  18. Blue peripheries?

    Why: may indicate exposure to cold, left ventricular failure, shock, arterial obstruction, venous obstruction or any of the causes of central cyanosis.

  19. Symptoms of sarcoidosis?

    Why: e.g. shortness of breath, cough, tiredness, skin symptoms occur in 10% of cases and may include purple or brown plaques or nodules on face, nose, ears and neck in chronic sarcoidosis.

  20. Symptoms of dermatomyositis?

    Why: e.g. muscle weakness, muscle tenderness, muscle pain, purple colored rash on face (especially on the eyelids, upper cheeks and forehead), swelling round the eyes, red rashes, pain in joints, Raynaud's phenomenon, difficulty swallowing, fever, weight loss, tiredness.

  21. Symptoms of Kaposi's sarcoma associated with AIDS?

    Why: e.g. mildly elevated pink, purple or red spots or patches on the skin that may be round or oval appearing first on the upper body or in the mouth. They are associated with lymph node enlargement.

  22. Symptoms of port wine stain?

    Why: e.g. deep purple-red discoloration due to benign abnormal growth of the skin blood vessels; commonly occurring on the face and on the junctions between the limbs and the trunk (i.e. shoulders, neck, buttocks).

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Purple skin:

The following list of conditions have 'Purple skin' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Purple skin or choose View All.

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