…or why do my feet have a weird blue pattern on them?
Livedo reticularis – a purplish pattern on the skin of the hands and feet over the vascular reticular system. This happens when the small venules ( between veins and capillaries) are swollen as the capillaries get small blood clots.
Many autoimmune, medication/toxin related, anemia, nutrition deficiencies, smoking, and hyperlipidemic or microvascular conditions can increase patients blood clotting risk factors.
In some patients, this can be a normal condition, often in young women and aggravated by cold exposure. Feet may show signs and symptoms of Livedo Reticularis most often and physicians often confuse it with Raynauds Syndrome or Chilblains.
It is important to investigate, however because Livedo Reticularis can be a sentinal symptom of a more serious underlying condition such as Buerger’s disease, for which it may be one of your first signs. Infections like Lyme disease, syphilis, TB may also present with this type of vasculitis. It is common in rhematologic or autoimmune syndromes like Lupus, Erythema nodosum, sarcoidosis, and Sjögren’s syndrome.
How can I tell if I have Livedo Reticularis?
80% of the cases are diagnosed by biopsy of the affected vessels.
What are the causes of Livedo Reticularis?
- Idiopathic (most common) benign condition of mostly women, more often in the winter.
- Autoimmune Vasculitis
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Drug induced: Adderall, Bromocriptine, Rasagiline, Amantadine
- Cryoglobulinemia-aggravated by cold
- Breast augmentation silicon implants
- Thrombocytosis, polycythemia
- Pernicious anemia
- Intra-arterial injection often by drug addicts
- CMV infection
What is the Treatment of Livedo Reticularis?
Most often, warming the area will decrease the effects of this syndrome and minimize the purplish pattern on the hands and feet. It is important to identify the primary cause and address that condition.
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