Telangiectasia Symptoms and Treatment

What is it?

Telangiectasia is a skin condition that is characterized by the permanent dilation of small blood vessels, frequently drawing a star shape on the skin. It is benign in the majority of cases, but may be associated with several diseases and may be a symptom of a serious underlying disease, such as ataxia-telangiectasia or hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT), also known as Rendu-Osler-Weber Disease, is a rare genetic disease with a prevalence of 1 in 5000 to 1 in 8000,  which causes telangiectasia not skin but appearing in vital organs, such as the liver. They can burst, cause massive haemorrhage and life-threatening. Ataxia-telangiectasia is an even rarer hereditary disease, affecting 1 in 100,000 children. With telangiectasia, it associates serious neurological disorders resulting in a deficit of coordination of movements (ataxia).

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Symptoms of Telangiectasia

The pathology affects intradermal venules measuring less than 1 mm in diameter. The dilatation of the veinlets shows on the skin very fine lines of red, blue and violet color, forming star motifs, stellar angiomas. Telangiectasias are likely to form on the skin and mucous membranes anywhere on the body, but they occur most frequently where the skin is most exposed to sunlight and air: the nose, cheeks, lips, whites of eyes and fingers.

The origins of the disease

The exact cause of telangiectasia is not known to date. They could be genetic, environmental, or a combination of both. Chronic overexposure of the skin to the sun or extreme temperatures is the cause of most cases. Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia and ataxia-telangiectasia have a genetic origin. The first is due to the mutation of the genes ACVRL and ENG and the second to the mutation of the ATM gene.

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Risk factors for Telangiectasia

People working outdoors or sitting all day long, pregnant women, the elderly, people undergoing corticosteroids, suffering from alcoholism or diseases such as rosacea , scleroderma, dermatomyositis, or lupus erythematosus disseminated , are more exposed than others to telangiectasia.

Prevention and treatment of Telangiectasia

Benign telangiectasia is treated for aesthetic reasons. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a sclerosing product with a very fine needle into the telangiectasias located on the legs. Laser and radiofrequency therapies consist of burning dilated venules. Finally, surgical removal of dilated blood vessels may be required.

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