Livedo Reticularis - What's not okay?

Livedo reticularis (LR) is a skin symptom. It refers to a netlike pattern of reddish-blue skin discoloration. The legs are often affected. The condition is linked to swollen blood vessels. It may get worse when the temperature is cold.

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There are two forms of LR: primary and secondary. Secondary LR is also known as livedo racemosa.

With primary LR, exposure to cold, tobacco use, or emotional upset can lead to narrowing of the veins, which causes the skin discoloration. Women 20 to 50 years old are most affected.

Treatment of Primary LR is simple, staying warm is the key. Others include:

  • Keeping warm, especially the legs, may help relieve the skin discoloration.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Avoid stressful situations.
  • If you are uncomfortable with the appearance of your skin, talk to your provider about treatment, such as taking medicines that can help with the skin discoloration.

In many cases, primary LR improves or disappears with age. So stay warm and stay away from tobacco & stress, you will be fine.

Secondary LR is different, many different diseases are associated with secondary LR, including:

  • Congenital (present at birth)
  • As a reaction to certain medicines such as amantadine or interferon
  • Other blood vessel diseases such as polyarteritis nodosa and Raynaud phenomenon
  • Diseases that involve the blood such as abnormal proteins or high risk of developing blood clots such as antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Infections such as hepatitis C
  • Paralysis
For secondary LR, treatment depends on the underlying disease. For example, if blood clots are the problem, your provider may suggest that you try taking blood thinning drugs.
How do you know it’s a secondary LR?
There’re a few symptoms:
1. The discolored, mottled skin doesn’t go away with warming.
2. Painful nodules develop in the affected skin.
3. Ulcers develop in the affected skin.
4. You have peripheral vascular diseases.
5. This is a new development for someone with other connective tissue
If you find the above symptom, you will need to make an appointment with your health provider.
* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.