Livedo Reticularis

Livedo reticularis is a disorder in which blood vessels are constricted, or narrowed. It results in mottled discoloring on large areas of the legs or arms.

What is going on in the body?

The mottled look seen in a person with livedo reticularis occurs when some of the blood vessels feeding the skin go into spasm. Anything that decreases blood flow further, such as exposure to cold, will make the condition worse.

What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?

Symptoms of livedo reticularis include a mottled, or lace-like, appearance of reddish blue areas on the skin. The mottling is more apparent on the thighs and forearms, and sometimes the lower abdomen. It is more pronounced in cold weather.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

The exact cause of livedo reticularis is unknown. It is felt to be due to spasm of the blood vessels. It occurs more often in women, and usually begins when a person is in his or her thirties.

What can be done to prevent the condition?

To minimize livedo reticularis, a person can avoid cold temperatures.

How is the condition diagnosed?

Livedo reticularis is diagnosed by the appearance of the skin.

What are the long-term effects of the condition?

Livedo reticularis may in time become permanent, rather than just being associated with cold. Ulcers in the lower extremities may occur in severe cases.

What are the risks to others?

There are no risks to others, as livedo reticularis is not contagious.

What are the treatments for the condition?

There is no treatment for livedo reticularis.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

There are no side effects, since there is no treatment.

What happens after treatment for the condition?

Livedo reticularis is an ongoing disorder and not expected to clear entirely.

How is the condition monitored?

Livedo reticularis can be monitored by the affected person. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to a healthcare provider.