Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk of Buerger's disease. Heavy cigarette smokers (people who smoke one and a half packs a day or more) are most likely to develop Buerger's disease, though it can occur in people who use any form of tobacco, including cigars and chewing tobacco. People who smoke hand-rolled cigarettes using raw tobacco may have the greatest risk of Buerger's disease.

It isn't clear how tobacco use increases your risk of Buerger's disease, but virtually everyone diagnosed with Buerger's disease uses tobacco. It's thought that chemicals in tobacco may irritate the lining of your blood vessels, causing them to swell. Rates of Buerger's disease are highest in areas of the Middle East and Far East where heavy smoking is most common.

Although secondhand smoke isn't thought to be a major risk factor for Buerger's disease, if you're diagnosed, you should stay away from people who are smoking. Secondhand smoke could worsen your condition.

Chronic gum disease

Long-term infection of the gums also is linked to the development of Buerger's disease.

Feb. 01, 2013