Buerger's disease: Introduction
Buerger's disease is a type of vasculitis in which there is inflammation of the arteries and veins of the hands and/or feet. Buerger's disease, also called thromboangiitis obliterans, results in the development of clots (thrombosis) in the arteries of the hands and/or feet and can lead to serious complications if not treated promptly.
Healthy arteries and veins are critical to supplying vital oxygen and nutrients to cells and tissues and removing waste products. This circulation is key to the health of the cells and tissues of the hands and feet. Buerger's disease interferes with circulation leading to ischemia of cells and tissues. In ischemia, cells are unable to reproduce normally, recover effectively from injury, and fight infection.
Symptoms of Buerger's disease include pain in the hands and/or feet and the development of sores or lesions that do not heal. If Buerger's disease is left untreated, gangrene (tissue death) can occur. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of Buerger's disease.
The cause of Buerger's disease is smoking and the use of chewing tobacco. It is theorized that tobacco triggers an autoimmune reaction, in which the body's immune system mistakes healthy tissues as potentially dangerous invaders into the body and attacks them. This causes inflammation and the development of clots in the arteries and veins of the hands and feet that are characteristic of Buerger's disease. People at risk for Buerger's disease include people who smoke or use chewing tobacco. Buerger's disease occurs most often in young adult men who are heavy cigarette smokers.
Making a diagnosis of Buerger's disease includes completing a thorough medical history, tobacco use history, and a physical examination. A misdiagnosis of Buerger's disease is possible because its symptoms and complications are very similar to symptoms and complications of other diseases and conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of Buerger's disease.
Diagnosis of Buerger's disease is based on medical history and examination combined with ruling out a variety of other diseases and conditions, such as Raynaud's phenomenon and other types of vasculitis. A test called an angiogram may be performed to assist in diagnosis of Buerger's disease. An angiogram is an imaging test that creates a picture of the arteries and can reveal the artery damage and blockages in the hands and feet that are typical of Buerger's disease.
If caught early, Buerger's disease can often be successfully treated before the development of complications. Treatment involves quitting smoking. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of Buerger's disease. ...more »
Buerger's disease: Buergers's disease is a recurring inflammation and thrombosis (clotting) of small and medium arteries and veins of the hands and feet.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Buerger's disease is available below.
Buerger's disease: Symptoms
Symptoms and complications of Buerger's disease are due to inflammation of the arteries and veins of the hands and/or feet and develoment of blood clots (thrombosis). This creates blockages in the blood vessels, which result in an insufficient supply of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to cells and tissues in the hands and/or feet.
Symptoms of Buerger ...more symptoms »
Buerger's disease: Treatments
The only effective treatment for Buerger's disease is to quit smoking (smoking cessation) and to abstain from the use of all tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco. At this time, there are no medications that are effective in treating Buerger's disease.
Smoking cessation is a challenging process and requires a multifaceted approach to be successful. For ...more treatments »
Buerger's disease: Misdiagnosis
It is possible that a diagnosis of Buerger's disease can be delayed or missed because symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other conditions and diseases, such as atherosclerosis, clotting disorders, peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, diabetic ulcers, frostbite, and other forms of vasculitis, including Raynaud's phenomenon ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Buerger's disease
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Treatments for Buerger's disease
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Definitions of Buerger's disease:
Ophanet, a consortium of European partners,
currently defines a condition rare when it affects 1 person per 2,000.
They list Buerger's disease as a "rare disease".
Source - Orphanet
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