Telangiectasia

Telangiectasia is the term used to describe the permanent dilation of small blood vessels, which create small red markings on the skin and mucous membranes.

I came up with a mnemonic device to teach myself how to spell this word. I simply think to myself "Tell Angie CT Asia" and there it is. She's a travel agent and I'd love to travel to both Connecticut (CT) and Asia.

Looking at pictures of this condition, it reminds me of taking a bottle of ketchup and drizzling it all over the surface of the skin. That's what it looks like to me.

An alternative name for this is Vascular ectasias and what they are, are small dilated blood vessels on the skin. Usually meaningless, there's a chance that they could be associated with several diseases. They may also bleed and cause bigger problems. They are not associated with varicose veins or other venous disorders.

Telangiectasia Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of general essential telangiectasia:

  • Usually, there are no symptoms, but tingling or numbness can occur
  • Red or pink dilated capillary blood vessels of a tiny diameter forming a lacework or branch-like pattern
  • Most often found on the feet, ankles and lower legs - but they can appear in the torso area and upper body parts like hands and arms Sometimes, many of them will join together to form a diffuse red patch. When pressure is applied to the affected areas, temporary blanching occurs until blood returns to the area. 
  • © Anatoly Shevkunov | Dreamstime.com - Veins on the face

    Thought to potentially be caused by sun exposure, alcohol use and the aging process, they can actually develop anywhere in the body, but can be most easily seen in the skin, mucous membranes, and whites of the eyes. You should contact a medical professional if you notice their enlargement in these areas. Usually, they do not cause symptoms unless there is bleeding.

    Women are more prone to this issue than men are, and the condition most often shows up in the 40-50 year age range. Sometimes, it runs in the family.

    They cannot be removed, but laser treatment (see diagram, above) has proven to show improvement. Those who are self-conscious can cover them up with cosmetics or sunless tanning lotions. Other than that, I can't really offer any skincare tips for this condition except for reminding you to use sunscreen, since sun exposure has been known to contribute to this condition.

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