Buerger’s Disease

Below you will find more information about Buerger’s Disease from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Buerger’s Disease it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with Buerger’s Disease and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to Buerger’s Disease comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.

Definition

Buerger's disease, also known as thromboangiitis obliterans, is a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs. Buerger's disease is marked by a combination of inflammation and clots in the blood vessels, which impairs blood flow. This eventually causes damage or destroys tissues and may lead to infection and gangrene. Buerger's disease typically begins in the hands and feet and may progress to affect larger areas of the limbs. Buerger's disease is uncommon in the United States, but is more common in the Middle East and Far East. Buerger's disease most commonly affects males between ages 20 and 40, though it's becoming more common in women. Basically everyone diagnosed with Buerger's disease smokes cigarettes or uses other forms of tobacco. Quitting all forms of tobacco is the only way to stop Buerger's disease from developing. For those who don't quit, amputation of all or part of a limb may ultimately be required.

Treatment

Symptoms are treated as there is no direct treatment for the disease. Cessation of tobacco use may slow down any further progression of the disease. Vascular surgery can sometimes be helpful in treating limbs with poor perfusion that are secondary to this disease. Usage of vascular growth factor and stem cell injections have been showing promise in clinical studies. Streptokinase has been suggested as adjuvant therapy in some cases.

Symptoms and Signs

Signs and symptoms of Buerger's disease include pain and weakness in the legs and feet or arms and hands, and fingers and toes that turn pale when exposed to cold (Raynaud's phenomenon). The patient may also experience swelling in the feet and hands, and open sores on the fingers and toes.

Causes

Buerger's disease is a result of the inflammation in the arteries and veins of the arms and legs. Inflammatory cells - and eventually blood clots - form in the vessels and block blood flow in and out of the hands and feet. Reduced blood flow means that the tissue in the hands and feet doesn't get enough oxygen and nutrients needed to sustain it. This results to the signs and symptoms of Buerger's disease, beginning with pain and weakness in the fingers and toes and advancing to other parts of the arms and legs. It is not clear what triggers the inflammation and clots. The cause of the disease is not known but heavily linked to tobacco use. There have also been associations to persons with digestive disorders.

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