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This eventually damages or destroys skin tissues and may lead to infection and gangrene. Buerger’s disease usually first shows in your hands and feet and may eventually affect larger areas of your arms and legs.
Virtually everyone diagnosed with Buerger’s disease smokes cigarettes or uses other forms of tobacco, such as chewing tobacco. Quitting all forms of tobacco is the only way to stop Buerger’s disease. For those who don’t quit, amputation of all or part of a limb is sometimes necessary.
Buerger’s disease symptoms include:
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you think you may have signs or symptoms of Buerger’s disease.
The exact cause of Buerger’s disease is unknown. While tobacco use clearly plays a role in the development of Buerger’s disease, it’s not clear how it does so.
Experts suspect that some people may have a genetic predisposition to the disease. It’s also possible that the disease is caused by an autoimmune response in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.