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Buerger’s Disease Causes

While the causes of Buerger’s disease remain largely unknown, there are consistent factors that are almost always associated with this rare condition that causes blockages in the blood vessels of a patient’s arms, legs, hands, and feet. These blockages result in a reduced blood flow, which can lead to tissue death if the tissue is starved of nutrients and oxygen for an extended period of time.

In examining the causes of Buerger’s disease, scientists have found that nearly everyone who suffers from the condition is a heavy smoker, or regularly uses tobacco products in other forms. Though the correlation between the two is well documented, scientists are still trying to understand how and why tobacco use increases a patient’s chances of developing the disease. Some have speculated that there may be a common genetic factor in patients that is triggered by heavy tobacco use.

Buerger’s disease produces several noticeable symptoms, including:

  • Pain in your feet or hands, either during use or at rest
  • Numbness or tingling in your limbs
  • Hands, feet, fingers, or toes that turn white when exposed to cold
  • Open sores or gangrene on fingers or toes

The only effective treatment for Buerger’s disease is for the patient to discontinue all use of tobacco products. While taking this step has helped patients who are suffering from mild symptoms experience some amount of recovery, in severe cases it can only help prevent additional tissue damage.

At Tampa General Hospital, our experienced team of heart and vascular physicians and specialists uses state-of-the-art technology to treat a wide variety of conditions, including Buerger’s disease. To be referred to a specialist with Tampa General Hospital, please visit our online PhysicianFinder or call 1-800-822-DOCS (3627).