Buerger’s disease is a severe inflammation of small arteries in the hands and legs caused by smoking. The inflammation of the arteries causes swelling and they can be blocked by blood clots.
This disease is a rare condition that mostly occurs in men who smoke. It can be hereditary disease, occurring mostly in people from Asian or Easter Europe origin.
The symptoms in the early stage of the Buerger’s disease show in intervals, and these are:
- pale hands or feet, especially after being exposed to cold
- pain in the legs or hands, which may get worse during night or after exercises
- numbness, pricking and burning sensation in fingers or feet
With time, these symptoms get worse, with possible ulcerations on the tip of the fingers or legs, and even gangrene.
The cause of Buerger’s disease is unknown, but it is considered that people genetically prone to this diseases cause autoimmune reaction by smoking, when the immune system produces antibodies that attack their own tissues. Thus, inflammation of leg arteries occurs, sometimes affecting the hands, which leads to reduced blood supply to the corresponding tissues.
The risk factors of Buerger’s disease are:
- Smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, hand-rolled cigarettes
- Long-term gum infection
The complication of Buerger’s disease occurs of the condition gets worse. This implies that there is not sufficient blood flow to the extremities, which may lead to gangrene.
The only prevention of Buerger’s disease is to stop using any kind of tobacco. If you can’t stop it, there are programs and courses offered how to quit smoking.