Buerger’s Disease: Buerger’s disease, also called thromboangiitis obliterans, is an inflammation of small- and medium-sized blood vessels in the arms and legs. This eventually damages or destroys skin tissues and may lead to infection and gangrene.
The disease is found worldwide and can affect people of any race and age group. Though, it largely affects Asian and Middle Eastern men between the ages of 40 and 45 who profoundly use, or have heavily used, tobacco goods, including chewing tobacco.
Stopping all forms of tobacco is the only approach to stop Buerger’s disease. For those who don’t stop, amputation of all or part of a limb is sometimes essential.
Causes of Buerger’s Disease
- The definite cause of Buerger’s disease remains unknown. The chance for developing Buerger’s disease raises when you smoke heavily.
- It has been assumed that Buerger’s Disease is an “autoimmune” reaction (the body’s immune system attacks the body’s own tissues) triggered by some constituent of tobacco.
Symptoms of Buerger’s Disease
- Pain that may arise and go in your legs, feet or in the arms and hands.
- Cold hands or feet- This pain may happen when you work your hands or feet and eases during you stop that activity (claudication), or when you’re at rest.
- Skin changes, painful sores, or ulcers on the hands or feet.
- Inflammation along a vein just below the skin’s surface (due to a blood clot in the vein).
Diagnosis of Buerger’s Disease
- Buerger’s disease can be mimicked by a wide variety of other diseases that cause diminished blood flow to the extremities. These other disorders must be ruled out among an aggressive evaluation because their treatments differ substantially from that of Buerger’s Disease.
- Buerger’s Disease may be confused include endocarditis (an infection of the lining of the heart), atherosclerosis (build-up of cholesterol plaques in the arteries), other types of vasculitis, severe Raynaud’s phenomenon connected with connective tissue disorders (e.g., lupus or scleroderma), clotting disorders of the blood, and others.
- To determine if someone has Buerger’s disease doctors run tests that rule out other more common conditions. These tests may include blood tests, Allen’s test or an angiogram.
Treatment of Buerger’s Disease
It is fundamental that patients with Buerger’s disease quit smoking quickly and completely. This is the only treatment associated to be efficient in Buerger’s disease. Patients who continue to smoke are usually the ones who need amputation of fingers and toes.
Notwithstanding the clear presence of inflammation in this disorder, anti-inflammatory agents such as steroids become not been shown to be beneficial. Furthermore, strategies of anticoagulation (thinning of the blood with aspirin or other agents to prevent clots) have not proven effective.
The only way to limit the progression of the disease is to stop all tobacco products.