Thromboangiitis Obliterans, commonly referred to as Bueger’s disease, is a disease involving the blood vessels in the hands and feet. People with TO experience progressive bouts of inflammation and clotting in the small and medium arteries and veins. The biggest culprit for this disease is smoking.
Because of the poor circulation through their blood vessels, those with TO may present with ulcers and/or gangrene in certain areas of their hands and feet. Without intervention the gangrenous extremities are eventually amputated.
TO is a rare disease, however, it is commonly found amongst those who smoke or use Tobacco. Researchers believe that TO is an autoimmune disease and that something in the tobacco may trigger the inflammatory process.
There is no cure for the disease and treatment is mostly supportive. Patients are encouraged to stop smoking in order to slow the progression of the TO but it does not stop its progression. The best way to avoid it is to not smoke at all. If you do smoke quit now. It is never too late. Below are the signs and symptoms associated with TO.
- Blue, red or pale hands and feet
- Pain, burning or tingling in the hands and feet
- Hands and feet abnormally cold
- Pain in the lower extremities when walking
- Dark discoloration or ulcerations of the hands and feet
For more information about how to quit smoking please visit: http://www.smokefree.gov