Buerger’s Disease and Raynaud’s Disease are two vascular disorders that affect peripheral body parts, primarily fingers and toes. A comparison of these two vascular disorders reveals the similarities and differences between them.
Buerger’s Disease and Raynaud’s Disease Comparison: Physiology and Causes
Buerger’s Disease or thromboangiitis obliterans occurs when the small to mid-sized peripheral arteries in become inflamed and form blood clots. Because nicotine constricts arteries, cigarette smoking is the number one cause of Buerger’s Disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly everyone diagnosed with Buerger’s Disease is a smoker. Raynaud’s Disease involves episodes of vascular spasms in small arteries preventing blood flow to these areas. Though it’s not completely understood what causes Raynaud’s Disease, it appears cold temperatures, stress, and smoking are the primary instigators.
Buerger’s Disease and Raynaud’s Disease Comparison: Target groups
Young women between the ages of 20 and 40 are the prime targets for Raynaud’s Disease and there is evidence of a genetic link. Buerger’s Disease affects mostly men under the age of forty especially those of Asian and Eastern European descent. It is uncommon in the United States and occurs more frequently in the Middle East and Far East. Buerger’s Disease may also have a genetic link.
Buerger’s Disease and Raynaud’s Disease Comparison: Manifestations
A person suffering from Buerger’s Disease will exhibit very pale and cool or cold digits, especially toes. Other systemic manifestations include pain and cramping in the calves and feet and weak or even absent distal pulses in the arms and legs. Raynaud’s Disease is referred to as the blue-white-red disease because of its course of action. At first, the digits (usually fingertips) turn blue and become cooler as spasms reduce the amount of blood flow. As blood circulation becomes less and less, the digits turn white. When the spasm end and blood flow returns, the digits warm up and turn red. Pain and numbness also occur while the spasms are happening.
Buerger’s Disease and Raynaud’s Disease Comparison: Treatments
Cessation of smoking is the best way to avoid Buerger’s Disease and lessen the effects of Raynaud’s Disease. It would also be helpful for people with Buerger’s Disease or Raynaud’s Disease to avoid things that cause vasoconstriction like stress, cold exposure, and even caffeine. One technique that people with Raynaud’s disease can implement when they feel a spasm coming on is to swing the arms back and forth or around in a circle to keep blood flowing to the fingers.
Mayo Clinic website, Raynaud’s Disease, November 2009
Mayo Clinic website, Buerger’s Disease, September 2010
LeMone, Priscilla & Burke, Karen (2008). Medical-Surgical Nursing-Critical Thinking In Client Care (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall p 964, 1180-1183