…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.
What to do if you have Livedo Reticularis?
While livedo reticularis itself is typically harmless and benign, it can sometimes be associated with underlying medical conditions. If you have livedo reticularis, it is advisable to take the following steps:
Consult a healthcare professional: If you notice persistent or concerning changes in your skin, it is important to seek medical advice. A dermatologist or a general practitioner can evaluate your symptoms and determine if further investigation is necessary.
Underlying condition management: Livedo reticularis can be associated with various underlying medical conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, vascular disorders, or medication side effects. Treating the underlying cause may help alleviate the symptoms of livedo reticularis. Your healthcare provider will guide you through appropriate diagnostic tests and develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific situation.
Lifestyle modifications: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can potentially improve blood circulation and overall skin health. This includes regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, managing stress levels, avoiding tobacco use, and protecting your skin from extreme temperatures.
Symptom management: While there is no specific treatment for livedo reticularis itself, you can take steps to manage the symptoms and minimize discomfort. This may involve keeping the affected areas warm, using moisturizers to maintain skin hydration, and avoiding exposure to cold temperatures.
When to look for doctor for Livedo Reticularis?
It is advisable to seek medical attention if you notice persistent or concerning changes in your skin, such as the development of livedo reticularis. While livedo reticularis itself is often harmless, it can sometimes be associated with underlying medical conditions that may require evaluation and treatment. It is particularly important to consult a healthcare professional if you experience accompanying symptoms like pain, ulcers, or other signs of poor circulation. Additionally, if you have a known medical condition or are taking medications that can cause skin changes, discussing your concerns with a doctor is recommended for proper assessment and guidance.
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