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What is Buerger’s Disease?

What is Buerger’s Disease?

Buerger’s disease is described as Thromboangiitisobliterans (TAO)in the medical literature. It is a problem involving the veins and the arteries. It often results in blockage of blood vessels in the arms and feet and leads to wound formation and gangrene. Vessels blocked with inflamed blood clot prevent blood flow to the fingers and leads to wound formation on the fingers.

As Buerger’s disease progresses, almost a quarter of patients require finger tip or finger amputation.

Buerger’s disease is common among smoking men. The first symptoms of the disease start around 20-40 years of age and gangrene is very common when the patient is not treated. According to the researches, there are more cases of Buerger’s diseasein Japan, Israel and India.

Symptoms of Buerger’s Disease

Buerger’s disease, which is more common in young men, mainly starts with the symptom of pain.When the Buerger’s disease involves the feet, the pain starts with walking and as the condition progresses, the pain becomes permanent. Painkillers are not efficacious to relieve pain. As Buerger’s disease progresses, there occurs wound formation, inflammation and gangrene.

Diagnosis of Buerger’s Disease

Buerger’s disease is caused by smoking. Buerger’s disease is not reported among the non-smokers or individuals who are not passive smokers. Factors such as onset of symptoms before the age 50 and duration and intensity of smoking play a role in diagnosis of the disease. The presence of collagen vascular diseases or arteriosclerosis is also investigated.

Treatment of Buerger’s disease starts with quitting smoking. The patient takes a bed rest by keeping the involved area of the body elevated. The involved area must be protected against traumas such as cold and impact. Patients who succeed in quitting smoking have lower risk of amputation.

A hormone, which is normally released in healthy vessels, is injected to the diseased vessels for therapeutic purposes. The treatment lasts for 1 month and the wounds improve during this period. Amputation in certain Buerger’s patients can be avoided by having bypass surgery.

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