· As can be gleaned from the name, palmar erythema is a reddening or lesioning of the skin which is confined to the hands, notably at the base of the pinky finger and thumb (known clinically as the hypothenar and thenar eminence, respectively). This condition may also manifest as an overall discoloration of the palms, though, hence its familiar designation. While reddened skin is often associated with an inflammation or swelling of the underlying organ, in the case of palmar erythema, we have an exception to the rule, so to speak. When touched, the erythematous region or regions may lose color completely (i.e. "blanching" of the skin), before regaining their signaling hue. In it of itself palmar erythema is frequently not particularly painful or otherwise uncomfortable, but even so, if the palms are profoundly red, this may be rather distressing to the patient, especially if he or she is very sensitive about body issues.
· Palmar erythema, like related forms of erythema, may be a self-contained condition, so to speak, as well as one co-morbid with other diseases and syndromes. Its most frequent association amid diagnosis is tied to high blood pressure/hypertension, especially as restricted to the portal vein, a blood vessel which drains in the liver and is fed by blood from the gastric, mesenteric and splenic veins. Individuals afflicted with other health problems may likewise see diagnoses of palmar erythema in statistically significant numbers. Cirrhosis, a disease (as opposed to a vein) also connected to the liver, sees its fair share of PE patients. Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, too, may see reddening of the palms, more so than the average individual. Pregnant women, in particular, are susceptible to palmar erythema in light of elevated hormone levels, and some figures suggest better than one in four mothers-to-be develop characteristic symptoms.
· As hinted at, this variant of erythema is notoriously hard to call. Granted, diagnosing palmar erythema is made easier if a concurrent/secondary condition is identified prior to is emergence, but in the absence of this advance information, the reddening of the fingers/palms may not be all that distinctive, especially if the individual's circulation is such that this portion of his or her hand(s) always seems to be richer in color relative to comparable parts of those of other people. Commensurate with this assessment of things, a physician will want to run additional tests before confirming or treating palmar erythema. Once a specific cause can be isolated, say, reactivity to a separate drug treatment for a coexisting disease, the proper steps can be taken to remedy the situation.