Livedo reticularis is a disorder in which blood vessels are narrowed. It results in mottled discoloring on large areas of the legs or arms.
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.
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.
The exact cause of livedo reticularis is unknown. It occurs more often in women, and usually begins when a person is in his or her thirties.
To minimize livedo reticularis, a person can avoid cold temperatures.
Livedo reticularis is diagnosed by the appearance of the skin.
Livedo reticularis may, over time, become permanent, rather than just being associated with cold. Ulcers in the lower extremities may occur in severe cases.
Because livedo reticularis is not contagious, there are no risks to others.
There is no treatment for livedo reticularis.
There are no side effects, since there is no treatment.
Livedo reticularis is an ongoing disorder and not expected to resolve.
Livedo reticularis can be monitored by the affected person. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to a healthcare professional.
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 1998, Fauci et al.
Tierney, Lawrence, editor, "Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment, 39th edition", 2000