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Buerger's Disease

Buerger's Disease

Overview of Buerger's Disease

Buerger's disease, or thromboangiitis obliterans, is a rare condition most often found in smokers. The inflamed blood vessels in their arms, legs, feet, and hands make it hard for blood to travel through the vessels. When clots form, the symptoms get worse and cause pain and tissue damage. Quitting smoking is the best way to start feeling better.

What is Buerger's Disease

Buerger's disease is a rare condition that affects the blood vessels in your arms, legs, fingers and toes. It can cause inflammation inside the blood vessels, making it difficult to move your blood through them. As a result of these difficulties, you may experience pain and damaged tissues beginning in your fingers and toes, spreading to your legs and arms.

Buerger’s Disease and Raynaud’s Disease – What’s the Difference?

Buerger's disease can be a symptom of Raynaud's disease, commonly known as Raynaud's phenomenon. When you have Raynaud's disease, tension or a feeling of cold causes the blood vessels in your fingers and toes to burst. Your skin appears white or blue when not enough blood is passing through your blood vessels. Your skin may seem red and feel tingly or numb after a few minutes or hours.

Wearing gloves, warm socks, or simply warming up your hands will help alleviate the sensations. Raynaud's illness has less symptoms than Buerger's disease, which is painful and has many more.

How does Buerger’s Disease Affect the Body?

When you're at rest, your arms and legs may experience severe pain. You can develop sores on your fingers or toes, and your hands or feet might feel hot, numb, or tingly. You may develop skin ulcers or muscle spasms over time.

What Causes Buerger’s Disease?

Although the exact cause of Buerger's disease is unknown, scientists believe that something in cigarettes damages the blood vessel lining. The majority of those who have Buerger's illness smoke cigarettes. Your genes could increase your risk of developing Buerger's disease. Some researchers believe it to be an autoimmune disorder

How Is Smoking Related to Buerger’s Disease?

Buerger's disease has an elusive specific origin, however smoking is closely associated with its onset. According to research, cigarettes may include compounds that irritate blood vessel linings and cause swelling.

Almost everyone who has been given a diagnosis of Buerger's disease smokes cigarettes or uses chewing tobacco or other tobacco products.

Don't use any tobacco products or smoke cigarettes if you wish to avoid developing Buerger's illness.

What are the Symptoms of Buerger’s disease?

Over time, Buerger's disease symptoms appear gradually. These signs include:

  • Hand or foot pain (burning or tingling feeling).
  • Sores on toes or fingers.
  • Ankle, foot or leg pain when you walk.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon.
  • Skin color or texture change.

After you've had Buerger's disease for a long, you could have additional symptoms. These consist of:

  • Muscle cramps.
  • Blood clots in blood vessels.
  • Red, blue or pale fingers or toes.
  • Blue in part of your face.
  • Cold or numb feet or hands.
  • Gangrene.
  • Skin ulcers.

What are the Complications of Buerger’s Disease?

Rare complications of Buerger’s disease (thromboangiitis obliterans) include:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Transient ischemic attack
  • Removal of toes or fingers (amputation)
  • Problems with blood vessels in your intestines
  • Problems with your nervous system.

Risk Factors of Buerger’s disease

  • Tobacco use

Smoking cigarettes significantly raises your risk of developing Buerger's illness. However, anyone who uses tobacco, including those who smoke cigars and chew tobacco, is susceptible to Buerger's disease.

The greatest risk of developing Buerger's disease may be among individuals who smoke more than a pack and a half of cigarettes each day and hand-rolled cigarettes made from raw tobacco. In regions of the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Asia where heavy smoking is most prevalent, Buerger's disease rates are highest.

  • Chronic gum disease

Although the cause of this association is not yet understood, long-term gum disease infection has been associated to the onset of Buerger's disease.

  • Sex

Males are much more likely than females to have Buerger's disease. However, this discrepancy might be explained by men smoking more often than women.

  • Age

People under the age of 45 are frequently the ones who initially develop the condition.

Tests and Diagnosis for Buerger’s Disease

Since there is no specific test to identify Buerger's disease, it is considered a "clinical diagnosis." Your doctor can rule out a variety of other disorders by doing specific tests since they can mimic Buerger's disease.

After discussing your symptoms, your doctor can suggest blood testing to rule out blood clotting issues, diabetes, or lupus. If they come back negative, your doctor might prescribe a vascular ultrasound or an angiography in addition to other imaging tests.

Angiograms are a specific kind of X-ray in which contrast dye is injected into your arteries concurrently with the X-ray by a doctor. It necessitates inserting a needle into the big arteries in your arms or legs, and on occasion, catheters are needed.

The Allen test is another another examination that your doctor could carry out. This examination looks at your hands' blood flow. A positive test outcome may aid your doctor in making the diagnosis of Buerger's, but it may also point to a variety of other illnesses.

Treatment for Buerger’s Disease

For Buerger's disease, there is no known treatment. However, giving up smoking is the single most crucial component in lessening symptoms and halting the disease's progression.

In rare circumstances, pain can also be managed by staying out of the cold.

Rarely, the discomfort may be so bad that it requires a surgical treatment called a sympathectomy to be removed.

On the other side, other patients claim that their symptoms improve by remaining active and consuming lots of water, which improves circulation.

Prevention of Buerger’s Disease

Never again use tobacco of any kind.

Almost all individuals with Buerger's illness have used tobacco in some capacity, most notably cigarettes. It's crucial to stop using cigarettes if you want to avoid Buerger's illness.

It can be challenging to stop smoking. You've probably tried to stop smoking in the past if you're like most smokers. Retrying is never too late. Ask your doctor for advice on effective quitting methods.

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