Telangiectasia is a condition when the small blood vessels on the surface of the skin enlarge. This condition is characterized by the appearance of fine red lines that have a certain pattern on the surface of the skin.
Telangiectasias can appear anywhere on the body, but are more commonly seen in the whites of the eyes, mucous membranes, and areas of skin that are frequently exposed to the sun.
Telangiectasias that appear on the surface of the skin are generally harmless. However, in some cases, telangiectasia can form in internal organs, such as the intestines, liver and brain. This condition is called hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) and can cause severe, life-threatening bleeding.
Telangiectasis Causes and Risk Factors
It's not known what causes telangiectasia, but it's thought the condition is linked to genetics, environmental factors, or a combination of both.
Telangiectasias can happen to anyone. Even so, the risk of developing this disease will be higher in people with the following factors:
- Frequent exposure to the sun
- Suffering from dermatomyositis, rosacea, scleroderma, lupus, or varicose veins
- Alcoholic drink addiction
- Having a genetic disorder that is passed down from parents
- Using corticosteroid-type drugs
- Currently in pregnancy
- old age
Telangiectasia is characterized by red lines on the surface of the skin. In some cases, the lines form a cobweb-like pattern. Therefore, telangiectasia is often also referred to as spider veins.
Telangiectatic streaks usually appear gradually and in groups, especially in the following areas of the body:
Symptoms of telangiectasia can worsen if the sufferer uses soap or a sponge that causes irritation. Telangiectasias can also be accompanied by itching and pain in the area where the red streaks appear.
When to go to the doctor
Check with a doctor if you notice enlarged blood vessels on the surface of the skin, mucous membranes, or the whites of the eyes. In some cases, telangiectasia can be a sign of a serious condition that needs to be treated immediately, such as: hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia.
The doctor will ask about symptoms and perform a physical examination on the patient. Generally, doctors can tell telangiectasias just by looking at the pattern in the lines that appear on the patient's skin.
However, to rule out other diseases, the doctor may perform additional tests, such as:
- blood test
- Liver function tests
- Scans with X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs
Treatment of telangiectasia aims to improve the appearance of the patient's skin. Some methods of treatment that can be done by doctors are:
- Laser therapy
This therapy is done by targeting a special laser to dilated blood vessels. Patients who undergo laser therapy usually recover quickly.
In some cases, surgery is needed to remove the dilated blood vessels. This procedure can be painful and the recovery time will also be long.
Sclerotherapy is done to close the problematic blood vessels by injecting a saline solution (saline) and drugs, so that blood flow is diverted to healthy blood vessels.
Telangiectasias generally resolve within a few months, but may not go away completely. In addition, telangiectasia can also reappear in the same area.
In some people with telangiectasia, the presence of red lines on the skin reduces self-confidence, which can negatively affect their relationships with other people, as well as their performance at school and work.
Since the cause of telangiectasia is unknown, it is difficult to prevent it. However, there are several ways that can be done to reduce the risk of developing telangiectasia, namely:
- Protect your skin from direct sunlight when outdoors, for example by wearing long sleeves and hats.
- Check your health regularly, especially if you have a disease that can increase your risk of telangiectasia or are pregnant.
- Stop the habit of consuming alcoholic beverages. If it is difficult to stop the habit, consult a doctor regarding alcohol addiction rehabilitation.