Buerger's disease is a kind of vasculitis. Vasculitis is a condition in which the blood vessels are inflamed. The inflammation of the blood vessels causes blood flow to be restricted. As a result, there is pain and tissue damage at the site of the affected organ or body part.
Buerger's disease is closely associated with the use of tobacco (smoking or chewing). To halt the progression of Buerger's disease, patients must immediately stop using tobacco. Although inflammation is clearly the cause of the pain and tissue damage, anti-inflammatory medications and steroids are not effective treatments for Buerger's disease. Treatment with blood thinners is also ineffective. People who continue to smoke or chew tobacco after their diagnosis are at high risk for amputation. Even those individuals who quit tobacco may not be able to avoid the lingering effects of severe tissue damage.