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Buerger's Disease

Definition


Disease: Buerger's Disease Buerger's Disease
Category: Cardiovascular diseases
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Disease Definition:

Also called thromboagiitis obliterans, Buerger’s disease is a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs. The blood vessels swell in this disease and become blocked with blood clots (thrombi), damaging or even destroying skin tissues and leading to infection and gangrene. Although this disease could expand to affect large areas of the arms and legs, however, it starts in the hands and feet.

This disease is common in the Middle East and Far East and it affects men between the ages of 20 and 40. But nowadays, it is becoming more common in women.

Quitting all forms of tobacco is the only way to stop Buerger’s disease, because everyone who’s diagnosed with this disease either smokes cigarettes or uses other forms of tobacco, such as chewing tobacco. However, amputation of all or part of a limb may be necessary in case the patient doesn’t quit smoking.

Work Group:


Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes

Symptoms:

Some of the signs and symptoms of this disease include:

 

  • Open sores on the fingers and toes
  • Swelling in the hands and feet
  • Weakness and pain in the arms and hands or in the legs and feet
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon, a condition in which the fingers and toes turn pale when exposed to cold.


In case a person experiences any of these signs and symptoms, they should see a doctor.

Causes:

Swelling in the arteries and veins of the arms and legs causes this disease, but what exactly triggers this condition is still not known. Cells that cause swelling are formed in vessels that lead to the hands and feet, blocking the blood flow to those parts of the body.

The skin tissue in the hands and feet doesn’t get adequate oxygen and nutrients due to reduced blood flow, causing the signs and symptoms of Buerger’s disease that start with weakness and pain in the fingers and toes and eventually spread to other parts of the arms and legs.

Complications

Complications:

Blood flow to the arms and legs decreases as Buerger’s disease worsens, the cause of which is the blockages that make it hard for blood to reach the tips of the fingers and toes. Eventually, the skin and tissue on the ends of the fingers and toes die, a condition called gangrene, because they don’t receive enough oxygen and nutrients they need to survive. Gangrene is a serious condition that usually requires amputation of the affected finger or toe. Some of its signs and symptoms are:

 

  • Black or blue skin
  • A foul smell from the affected area
  • A loss of feeling in the affected finger or toe.

Treatments:

Various treatment approaches could be tried in order to reduce the signs and symptoms of this condition. However, there’s no cure for Buerger’s disease.
Some of those treatment options include:

 

  • Surgical sympathectomy, which is surgery to cut the nerves in the affected area in order to control pain
  • Medications in order to dissolve blood clots or to improve blood flow
  • In case infection or gangrene occurs, amputation may be necessary
  • Medications and counseling, in order to help the patient stop smoking and to stop the swelling in the blood vessels.

Prognosis:

Not Available

Expert's opinion

Expert's Name:
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Expert's opinion:

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Clinical Trials:

Not Available

 

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