What Are The Causes and Symptoms Of Buerger Disease?

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What is Buerger Disease? What are the causes, symptoms, complications and prevention of Buerger Disease? Information on Buerger Disease.

Buerger Disease

This is a chronic disease of the arteries and veins. Although it affects the extremities most often, it can involve any blood vessels of the body. A gradual thrombosis—narrowing of the blood vessel—eventually interferes with the blood supply to the affected part, and gangrene results. The disease is thought to be hereditary. Patients are almost always men, and most have a history of heavy smoking. Another unexplained fact about Buerger’s disease is that 50% of the victims are of Jewish parentage.
The first symptom is usually a crampy pain in the calves or arches brought on by walking or running. As the disease progresses, it takes less and less activity to produce this pain—and after a while it is almost constant. Phlebitis—inflammation in which the veins become swollen, red, and painful to touch—is usually associated with Buerger’s. The nails become brittle and grow slowly, and there is ulceration of the toes. Color changes take place. In the beginning the extremity is usually cold to touch and pale in color. Later on, depending upon where the disease is established, the affected part may be deep red or blue—depending on its position. When it is elevated, it may turn white; when it is hanging down, it becomes dark.

As time passes there is a tendency for the skin to infect easily. There are ulcerations. Eventually gangrene may develop, accompanied by severe, persistent pain.

The main complication is the amputation of the affected part, surgically or spontaneously. Another serious complication is severe infection with eventual gangrene. There have been some reports of coronary or cerebral artery involvements resulting in stroke or coronary attacks.
Patients must be put on a strict program which will improve the circulation picture. This program has to be strictly observed. Smoking is forbidden. Specific exercises are prescribed. The affected extremity must be kept warm, and special care taken to avoid injury or chilling of the feet. Infections must be treated immediately.

Medications, nerve blocks, and surgery are all available and are used by the physician as the situation warrants.

***This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a doctor warning or recommendation.

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