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Buerger’s Disease vs Raynaud’s: Key Differences Explained

dr shukla neurologist tx
Medically reviewed by Dr. Shukla
dr shukla neurologist tx
Medically reviewed by Dr. Shukla

Do you ever wonder why your fingers or toes turn white or blue when it’s chilly outside? It could be due to Raynaud’s or Buerger’s disease. These two may sound similar, but they’re quite different.

Raynaud’s is like a color-changing magic trick when your body overreacts to the cold or stress. Your fingers and toes might look like they’re having a party with red, white, and blue colors. But it’s not as fun as it sounds.

On the other hand, the definition of Buerger’s disease is like a blocked road for blood. It mostly affects people who smoke and can make your fingers and toes go painfully pale, just like Raynaud’s. But there’s more to the story.

In this text, we will explore the key differences between these two conditions. So, the next time your fingers put on a color show, you’ll know whether Raynaud’s or Buerger’s caused the commotion.

Definition of Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease is a condition that affects the fingers and toes. Sometimes, a person may get affected by other body parts, such as the ears, nose, or lips. It’s like the body’s thermostat malfunctioning, causing these body parts to turn white, blue, or red.

Here’s how it works: you’re in a cold room or stressed out. Then, the tiny blood vessels in your fingers and toes suddenly become very narrow, like thin straws. It makes it difficult for blood to flow to these body parts. As a result, they turn white. They don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients.

After a while, when these body parts start feeling left out, they turn blue. It’s like they’re shouting for help because they’re not getting the love they need from your blood.

But here’s the thing. Once you warm up or calm down, the blood vessels will return to their normal size. Blood will rush back to them. As a result, your fingers and toes turn red.

However, it’s not just the color. In Raynaud’s disease definition, the fingers and toes may tingle or numb. It can be quite painful. This condition occurs independently, but it can also be associated with other health problems. Therefore, if your fingers are putting on a colorful show, it’s worth seeing a doctor. You will be able to find out if it is Raynaud’s disease and learn how to deal with it.

Definition of Buerger’s Disease

Buerger’s disease is also known as thromboangiitis obliterans. It is a disease that affects the blood vessels in the arms and legs, especially medium-sized arteries and veins. It’s like a plug in the blood vessels that can lead to serious problems.

Here’s what happens: The blood vessels in the arms and legs become inflamed and narrowed. This narrowing makes it difficult for blood to flow normally, like a road with many obstacles. As a result, the affected body areas do not receive enough oxygen and nutrients.

One of the main features of Buerger’s disease is that it is closely related to smoking. It is often referred to as a smoker’s finger disease. The harmful chemicals in tobacco can make blood vessels even narrower. So, if you are a smoker, this disease can be a severe warning sign for you. It is a signal for you to stop smoking and improve your health.

The most characteristic signs of Buerger’s disease are pain and discomfort in the hands or feet. The fingers and toes may turn pale or blue.

The good news is that quitting smoking can help slow or even stop the worsening of the disease. But if the disease has already done too much damage, surgery may be necessary in severe cases. It will help to repair blood vessels or even amputate part of the limb.

Thus, Buerger’s disease definition is a disease in which there is a blockage of blood vessels.

You can get this disease due to smoking. If you have disease symptoms, you must see a doctor and follow his recommendations.

man's hands

Comparison of Buerger’s and Raynaud’s Disease

If you compare Buerger’s disease vs Raynaud’s, both can affect blood vessels. They cause strange behavior in fingers and toes. However, they are quite different.

Buerger’s Disease

Raynaud’s Disease

Causes  Buerger’s disease is mostly related to smoking. The harmful chemicals in tobacco cause inflammation and narrowing of the blood vessels in the hands and feet. On the other hand, Raynaud’s disease is often triggered by cold or stress. Then, it is like the body’s reaction to these factors.
Symptoms Buerger’s disease usually causes pain in the hands and feet, especially with vigorous activity. The fingers and toes may turn pale or blue due to restricted blood flow.  In Raynaud’s disease, the fingers and toes may also change color. But this happens suddenly and is often provoked by cold or stress. It can be painful and cause tingling or numbness in these body parts.
Treatment   With a smoker’s finger disease, it is imperative to stop smoking. It will help prevent the disease from worsening. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary. In Raynaud’s syndrome, keeping warm and dealing with stress can help. In severe cases, medication may be used.

In short, Buerger’s disease is closely related to smoking and affects the blood vessels in the arms and legs. Raynaud’s disease definition, on the other hand, is often provoked by cold or stress. It causes discoloration of the fingers and toes. Treatment differs, but for Buerger’s disease, smoking cessation is a prerequisite, and for Raynaud’s disease, management of triggering factors is a prerequisite.

man's hands with buerger's disease

Managing and Treating the Conditions

Treatment for Buerger’s disease vs Raynaud’s is aimed at controlling symptoms and preventing disease progression. Both diseases require lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medical intervention. 

In the case of Raynaud’s disease, minimizing exposure to cold temperatures is critical to managing symptoms. Wear warm gloves and socks, especially in cold weather. Layering clothing and using heating pads can also help you. Combat stress, as stress can trigger attacks. Yoga, meditation, and stress-reducing breathing exercises are helpful.

Buerger’s disease, on the other hand, is closely linked to tobacco use. So, if you want to get rid of smoker finger disease, then stop using tobacco. It is the most effective way to manage symptoms and prevent the progression of the disease. It applies not only to smoking but also to the use of smokeless tobacco products.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Buerger’s and Raynaud’s diseases can affect the fingers and toes. However, they have different causes and require different treatments. If you experience Raynaud’s disease, stay warm, manage stress, and consult your doctor. If you have Buerger’s disease, you need to stop smoking, as it is often associated with the disease. These changes are very important to manage symptoms and prevent the disease from worsening.

Have you or someone you know encountered similar problems? Then you need to see a doctor. Contact a specialist, such as Lone Star Neurology. We can help you get the support and treatment you need for your specific situation. Your health matters!

FAQ

Is Raynaud’s disease the same as Buerger’s disease? 

No, Raynaud’s and Buerger’s diseases are not the same. While both affect blood vessels, Raynaud’s typically impacts smaller vessels that supply blood to the skin, usually in response to cold temperatures or stress. 

Is Buerger’s disease more serious than Raynaud’s disease? 

Both diseases can be severe and lead to significant complications, but Buerger’s disease is often considered more serious because it can lead to tissue damage and, in extreme cases, might require amputation.

Can Buerger’s and Raynaud’s diseases lead to blood clots in fingers? 

Yes, both Buerger’s and Raynaud’s diseases can lead to blood clots. In Buerger’s disease, inflammation of the blood vessels can cause blood clots to form, impairing blood flow. 

Can lifestyle changes prevent Buerger’s and Raynaud’s diseases? 

Lifestyle changes can help manage and prevent the progression of these diseases. For Raynaud’s, avoiding cold temperatures and managing stress can help prevent episodes. For Buerger’s disease, the most effective prevention is to stop all forms of tobacco use.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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