Hyperemia  – “hyper” refers to more and “emia” refers to blood. So, hyperemia is more blood flow in somewhere on the body. In case of hyperemia, the artery is vasodialate and because of vasodilation more blood flow into the artery.

We can understand this with an simple example. Before exercise you have to vasodialate your blood vessels to make opportunity to blood enter, and prevent cramps. And if you don’t warm up before exercise, this leads to a shortage of oxygen, as well as an increase in the amount of metabolic waste that builds up in the organ.

Hyperemia is an increased amount of blood in the vessels of an organ or tissue in the body.

It can affect many different organs, including the:

  • Liver
  • Heart
  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Brain

Types of hyperemia

It is of two types:

Active hyperemia – This happens when there is an increase in the blood supply to an organ.

  • This usually takes place when there is an higher requirement of blood.
  • E.g. If you are exercising.

Passive hyperemia – It is when blood can’t properly exit an organ, so it builds up in the blood vessels.

  • This type is also known as congestion.

Causes of hyperemia

As we know active hyperemia is caused by an increased flow of blood into your organ. It usually happens when organs need more blood than usual. Your blood vessels widen to increase the blood supply flowing in.

Causes of active hyperemia include:

  1. Exercise

Our heart and muscles requires more oxygen when we are active. Blood rushes to these organs to supply extra oxygen. Our muscles need up to 20 times their normal supply of blood during a workout.

  • Heat

When you walk or run when it is hot outside, to release heat from the body extra blood flows.

  • Digestion

To break down foods and absorb nutrients our stomach and intestine need more blood to help this process.

  • Inflammation

During an injury or infection, blood flow to the site increases.

  • Menopause

Women who are in menopause often have hot flashes, which causes a rush of blood to the skin – especially to the face, neck, and chest. Blushing is a similar response.

  • Release of a blockage

Hyperemia can happen following ischemia, which is poor blood flow to an organ. Once  ischemia is treated, blood rushes to the area.

Passive hyperemia when blood can’t properly drain from an organ and begins to build up in the blood vessels.

Causes of passive hyperemia

  1. Heart failure
  2. It is also termed as ventricular failure.
  3. The pumping of blood is by the right and left ventricles of the heart.
  4. The right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs, and the left ventricle pumps oxygen rich blood to the body.
  5. If the heart can’t beat well enough to push blood through the body, then the blood begins to back up.
  6. This backup causes swelling, or congestion in organs like liver, spleen, and kidneys.
  7. Deep vein thrombosis(DVT)
  8. This is caused by a clot in one of the deep veins.
  9. It is often in your lower legs.
  10. The term called pulmonary embolism occurs when the clot break and get lodged in a vein in your lung.
  11. Hepatic vein thrombosis(HVT)
  12. It is also known as Budd-chiari syndrome.
  13. HVT blockage in the veins of the liver caused by a blood clot.


The main symptoms are

  • Redness
  • Warmth

Other symptoms depend on the cause of the problem.

Heart failure symptom include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Swelling in the belly, legs, ankles, or feet caused by the fluid build up
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Fast heartbeat

DVT symptoms include:

  • Swelling and redness in the bag
  • Pain
  • Warmth

HVT symptoms include:

  • Pain in the upper right side of your abdomen
  • Swelling in your legs and ankles
  • Cramps in your legs and feet
  • Itching


  • Hyperemia itself isn’t treated, because it’s just a sign of an underlying condition.
  • Active hyperemia caused by heavy exercises, digestion, or heat doesn’t  need to be treated as it  will slow down when you stop doing such activities.
  • Causes of passive hyperemia can be treated.
  • By addressing the cause of the disease such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • It’s treatment includes:
  • Following a Healthy diet.
  • Exercising regularly
  • weight and BMI
  • Intake of medicines such as ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers to lower blood pressure.
  • Digoxin to strengthen your heartbeat

DVT treatment

  • Blood thinners such as heparin or warfarin(coumadin) can be used to stop the blot clot from getting bigger.
  • Also it prevents our body from building up new clots.
  • If these drugs do not work then, one might get clot-busting drugs called thrombolytics.
  • It helps in quick breaking up of clot.
  • To stop swelling in your legs, one can wear compression stockings.

HVT treatment

  • It can be treated with blood thinners and clot-busting drugs. You might need medication to treat liver disease too.

Complications and associated conditions

  • Hyperemia itself doesn’t cause complications. Conditions that cause hyperemia can have complications like:
  • Heart valve problems
  • Kidney damage or failure
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Liver damage or failure
  • Pulmonary embolism – a blood clot that becomes lodged in a blood vessel in the lung

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