Livedo Reticularis

Livedo reticularis is a condition marked by purplish color of the skin caused by dilation of blood vessels which stops the normal blood flow. This is marked by discoloration of the skin which becomes reddish blue in color. The sub-cutaneous layer of the skin changes its normal color and becomes pale. This situation is seen on the palms, legs and trunk and affects people largely during cold weather.

But this disease affects only the superficial blood vessels and hence does not harm the underlying blood capillaries and blood vessels. It causes net like or mesh like appearance on the skin with dark blue or purple color. Cold climate triggers the dilation of superficial blood vessels causing discoloration of the skin.

Causes :

Underlying medical issues can cause livedo reticularis in some people. For instance cutis marmorata can cause this problem in infants when they are exposed to cold weather. It often occurs as temporary diffusion and does not produce any visible symptoms. For some children livedo reticularis is inherited due to chromosomal abnormalities or due to neurological problems. The condition can be severe in the beginning but it may improve as one grows old.

LR is a benign disorder causing mottling looks on the upper skin layer. It happens due to the swelling of blood vessels or capillaries which causes more blood flow into particular area causing red or purple coloration.

The normal blood flow is blocked due to obstructions like infections or blood clotting which causes disruption in the mechanism of transfer of blood. This will activate the underlying blood vessels to swell thus supplying more volumes of blood to the superficial layer of skin. This can cause prolonged vaso-dilation giving rise to discoloration.

Idiopathic livedo reticularis affects middle aged people during winter. Initial symptoms of mottling are seen during cold season accompanied with tingling sensation on the arms and legs. This can be due to inflammation of blood vessels or due to obstruction of free flow of blood. This disease can occur in combination with rheumatoid arthritis, dermatomyositis, systemic lupus, lymphoma and pancreatitis.

Obstruction in the pathway of blood can occur due to infections like syphilis, blood clots formed from sticky platelets, due to large volumes of calcium deposits, presence of excess of red blood cells and due to cholesterol emboli. This condition can also happen as side effects of medicine like Amantadine.

When you should consult a doctor?

If you have purple blue colored skin on the legs marked by net or mesh like appearance it can be due to livedo reticularis. Iif you have pain or swelling on the area you need to consult your doctor without any delay.

Symptoms :

Signs of LR vary widely on individuals. Some of the common symptoms of this disease are blue or purple colored skin rash giving irregular pattern on the legs, netlike distribution of purple coloration on the skin measuring 2-3cm in diameter. There may not be any defined borders for the rash since it would be pale in color. This will not cause irritation or pain or discomfort.

For some people it can cause tingling sensation or numbness on the arms and legs if accompanied by specific diseases. There can be swelling or inflammation on the affected area and in severe cases it can form ulcers.

Pictures of Livedo Reticularis :

Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Livedo Reticularis

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Treatment :

Since the disease causing discoloration of skin is harmless and benign no treatment is required. However if the condition is accompanied by swelling or ulcerous growth your doctor will examine the position and give suitable treatment.

Livedo reticularis occurs due to pooling of blood on particular areas of lower legs causing discoloration. You should not apply anything cold on the affected area. Usually the mottling mesh like appearance will not heal and these types of changes are permanent on the skin.

For people suffering from chronic illness like rheumatoid arthritis anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed to reduce swelling. Anticoagulants are given depending on the symptoms of the patients. Some people will be given corticosteroid injection for getting immediate relief from swelling and discomfort feeling.

The legs can be kept at elevated position for regularizing the blood flow. Proper care of your foot is advised for reducing the adverse effects of reduced blood supply on the lower legs.

Doing regular exercise can improve blood circulation and helps dilation of blood vessels. Avoid going out barefoot in cold weather.

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