What is Buerger’s disease ? Causes, Symptoms, Risk & Complications !

Buergers Disease thromboangiitis obliterans

Buerger’s disease is characterized by blood vessel inflammation, and blood clots that may block the flow of blood in arteries and veins of arms and legs. The fall-out of buerger’s disease is seen as infection and gangrene. Smoking and tobacco use are considered as primary causes for buerger’s disease. In the extreme cases of buerger’s disease, amputation of all of part of the limbs is the only remedy.


The exact causes of buerger’s disease are not known. However, it is found that, buerger’s disease occurs in those who smoke and use tobacco products. There is also genetic predisposition to this disease. Also, the immune system attacking the healthy tissues may be a potential factor for buerger’s disease.


The symptoms of buerger’s disease are evident as pain in the arms and hands, inflamed veins, blood clots in the veins, pale colored fingers and toes, and sores on fingers and toes.


People who use hand-rolled cigarettes made out of raw tobacco are at greater risk of buerger’s disease. The chemicals in tobacco cause irritation of the blood vessels and swelling. Buerger’s disease is more common in males than in females.

The complications of buerger’s disease are evident as decreased blood flow in arms and legs. The tissues of fingers and toes fail to receive oxygen and nutrients and turns blue or black. The fingers and toes lose feeling and starts emitting foul smell due to gangrene, a serious condition that requires amputation.


The doctor may advise for blood test that will help to identify the presence of scleroderma, lupus, blood-clotting disorders and diabetes. The Allen’s test is also recommended to assess the condition of blood flow in the arteries carrying blood in the hands.

As part of this test, the doctor presses on the arteries at the sides of both the wrists that make the hands lose their normal color. CT and MRI scans are also suggested. As part of the scanning process, a special dye is injected into the artery to identity possible blood clots and artery blockages.


Depending on the stage of buerger’s disease the doctor may advice on the right course of treatment. Medications may be directed at improving blood flows and dissolving blood clots. In cases of gangrene, amputation is recommended.

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