What is the Definition of Hyperemia?

Medical Words

If there is a noticeable amount of blood in any part of the body and reddening with swelling occurs, this is referred to as hyperemia. Often, a blood vessel has dilated due to irritation, an insect bite, or inflammation. Hyperemia can also be created artificially.

What is hyperemia?

The artificially induced hyperemia can have therapeutic benefits and is used, for example, in the context of hydrotherapy, electrical stimulation or electrotherapy, but also in orthopedics to treat muscle strains. See AbbreviationFinder for abbreviations related to Hyperemia.

The definition of hyperemia is therefore:

In contrast to ischemia, which is caused by an undersupply of blood as in Raynaud’s disease, hyperemia is characterized by an oversupply of blood.

Certain organs or a part of tissue are affected by the increased blood flow. This increased blood flow becomes visible through bluish or reddish discolouration of the skin. In addition, the affected skin area is particularly warm.


Hyperemia is often caused by inflammation or irritation. When there is an infection, there is a rush of blood in the appropriate place. One then speaks of an endogenous hyperaemia, because the cause lies in the body itself. Blood circulation abnormalities or problems can also cause hyperemia.

However, exogenous or external causes can also trigger hyperaemia. Hyperaemia can be produced, for example, by applying a vasodilating or circulation-enhancing ointment or by taking a PDE-5 inhibitor such as Viagra. A similar effect can be achieved by applying ointments containing insecticide or chili peppers to treat lumbago.

Exogenous hyperemia is used, for example, in capillary blood gas analysis, but also when increased blood flow to a part of the body is desired. Reactive hyperemia occurs when the blood flow in the arm is blocked with a cuff to measure blood pressure.

Reactive hyperaemia can also occur after exposure to cold. With the vascular disease Raynaud’s disease, blood is emptied from the fingers and toes in fits and starts. This phenomenon becomes noticeable through white fingers and toes that appear bloodless. Then sudden painful blood surges or hyperaemia can occur in the limbs.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Hyperaemia leads to increased blood flow to certain organs and regions in the body, so that the affected areas can often turn reddish to bluish. Affected people also complain about an uncomfortable feeling of warmth that occurs with persistent hyperemia. If such hyperemia remains without any treatment, permanent damage to the skin tissue can occur.

The feeling of warmth already mentioned lasts as long as the hyperemia persists. Under certain circumstances, individual blood vessels can even burst if the pressure becomes too great as a result of such increased bleeding. In extreme cases, the bleeding can even penetrate to the outside, so that medical care is essential. Another symptom of hyperemia is a constant feeling of pressure that occurs directly in the affected region.

The large flow of blood usually also causes a general feeling of discomfort, so that affected people often appear very weak and ill. Smaller or larger swellings are another symptom of hyperemia. The stagnation of blood causes swelling because the blood cannot circulate properly in the body. Drug and medical treatment is often necessary to eliminate these symptoms. Otherwise, a significant increase and intensification of the individual symptoms can be expected.

Diagnosis & History

Diagnosis and course of hyperemia must be evaluated differently. The artificially induced hyperemia can have therapeutic benefits and is used, for example, in the context of hydrotherapy, electrical stimulation or electrotherapy, but also in orthopedics to treat muscle strains.

No diagnosis related to the hyperemia is required here. Hyperemia can also develop after physical exertion or as a result of insect bites. But she is not sick. The redness subsides as spontaneously as it came. Hyperemia is also the reaction of the male body to taking Viagra and similar sexual enhancers that increase the blood flow in the penis.

However, if a rush of blood or hyperemia occurs without a visible reason and without being triggered by a therapist, an insect or a drug that increases blood flow, one should think of an inflammation. Medical diagnostics make sense here. The course of hyperemia depends on the diagnosis and treatment.


Hyperemia causes excessive accumulation of blood in a specific area of ​​the body. This accumulation does not necessarily have to be associated with any particular symptoms or complications, but in some cases it can be life-threatening. This is the case, for example, when hyperemia occurs due to high blood pressure and is not treated.

In the worst case, this can lead to a heart attack and thus to the death of the patient. Insect bites can also be responsible for the hyperemia, with the symptoms usually disappearing on their own without complications. If the blood accumulates, it can lead to serious heart or liver diseases, which can be life-threatening for the patient.

Symptoms often do not appear immediately, making early treatment difficult. Hyperaemia does not have to be treated in every case. The symptom often occurs after prolonged physical activity and does not lead to any complications. If high blood pressure occurs, appropriate medication must be taken to resolve it. As a rule, life expectancy is not reduced by the disease.

When should you go to the doctor?

The affected person should consult a doctor as soon as he notices congestion of the blood in the organism. If the congestion increases or spreads, see a doctor as soon as possible. If severe discoloration of the skin occurs again and again without a fall or a bruise, a check-up by a doctor is necessary. If there is swelling or a feeling of pressure inside the body, the signs should be examined and treated.

Since the patient may die prematurely without medical care, a doctor should be consulted in the event of a feeling of illness, cardiac arrhythmia, disrupted sleep or general malaise. If functional disorders occur, if there are problems with digestion or irregularities in breathing, a doctor’s visit is advisable. Cold feet or cold fingers are often caused by circulatory disorders that make an examination necessary.

A drop in the usual level of performance, a feeling of fullness or a feeling of heaviness should be evaluated by a doctor. If you experience headaches, internal heat or sweating, a doctor’s visit is recommended. A doctor is needed for emotional difficulties, mood swings or increased irritability. If there is a loss of consciousness or a sudden collapse, the emergency services must be alerted. There is an emergency that requires life-saving measures.

Treatment & Therapy

Treatment is not necessary for some forms of hyperemia. If, for example, you have a conspicuous rush of blood after strength training, an inner excitement or after a sauna session, this usually has no disease value.

An insect bite is chilled. If it becomes inflamed, ointments must be used. If there is an allergic tendency, desensitization therapy can be considered. Viagra-related rush of blood is contraindicated in hypertensive diseases. It can last for different lengths of time and does not require therapy if the sexual enhancer is used properly.

Inflammatory hyperemia must be treated. Depending on whether the inflammation is superficial or deep in the body, the therapy fails. If there is inflammation on the surface, decongestant, cooling or anti-inflammatory ointments can be applied. But if the cause is deeper, the therapy must be different.

In the case of passive hyperaemia – for example in venous blood congestion or thrombosis, in the case of cardiac insufficiency or liver cirrhosis – the cause must be determined and treated accordingly. In such cases, hyperaemia is an attendant symptom, which is to be regarded as an indicator of a deeper-lying disease.


In this way, there is no prevention against the occurrence of hyperaemia. However, a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and a good diet helps to prevent almost all diseases.


Like treatment, follow-up of hyperemia depends on where the inflammation is located. For the therapy and follow-up treatment of superficial inflammations, cooling and decongestant ointments that inhibit the infection are usually sufficient. In the case of deeper-lying causes, on the other hand, a different aftercare is carried out, which is based on the previous medical therapy.

Cold packs are also suitable for cooling superficially affected areas. Other home remedies, such as tea tree oil and basil, can also help relieve skin irritation and pain. Homeopathic remedies are also available, such as products based on arnica or bryony.

If the typical rush of blood is due to a Viaga overdose, it will go away after a while, even without treatment. Nevertheless, those affected should consider whether another remedy is better for them. If symptoms occur more frequently, an appointment in the doctor’s office is advisable.

Here, the physician clarifies the health conditions of the patient and makes appropriate recommendations. Otherwise, the risk for those affected can increase, especially in connection with cardiac insufficiency, thrombosis or cirrhosis of the liver. A health-conscious lifestyle with sufficient physical activity and a nutritious diet is beneficial in any case.

You can do that yourself

Hyperemia does not necessarily require medical treatment. If the blood pools after an insect bite, it is usually sufficient to cool the affected area. If the sting becomes infected, an ointment may be applied. The same applies to inflammation-related hyperemia. In addition to the use of cold packs, there are also various home remedies.

For example, the affected skin area can be treated with tea tree oil or fresh basil. Proven alternatives from homeopathy are globules with arnica, bryony or poison sumac. Congestion caused by a Viagra overdose will go away on its own after a few minutes to hours. However, switching to a different drug should be considered.

If you have regular symptoms, you should visit your doctor. If passive hyperaemia is present – for example due to heart failure, liver cirrhosis or thrombosis – a doctor should be consulted. Those affected should determine possible causes themselves and inform the doctor about them. If the underlying disease is already known, the treatment may have to be adjusted. If hyperemia occurs without an apparent cause, the person affected should consult a doctor promptly and have the rush of blood examined.