Telangiectasia is a condition that is characterized by the enlargement of blood vessels, often spider-like in appearance, on the surface of an organ. In particular, telangiectasias that are red in appearance affect the capillaries, while the ones that affect the veins appear blue in color. They can cause discomfort and look unappealing to the human eye. Symptoms include pain, itching and red marks on the skin and sores on the legs.

Telangiectasias can appear in any area of the body; however they can be seen more easily once they appear on the surface of the skin, mucous membranes and sclera (the white portion of the eye).

Among the possible causes of telangiectasia include aging, obesity, genetic factors, pregnancy, inactivity, sun exposure, and in the case of rosacea, alcohol consumption.

Telangiectasia is often harmless, though it may be associated with different types of disorders such as


  • ataxia-telangiectasia
  • bloom syndrome
  • cutis marmorata telangiectasica congenital
  • rosacea. 


Though telangiectasias generally do not cause any symptoms, some forms can cause bleeding, which in turn can trigger severe problems. Severe swelling can result in blood clots that travel to the heart or brain (ex: spider veins in the brain).


What diseases may be associated with Telangiectasia?

Telangiectasia is easily seen as red marks on the skin. In some cases, doctors may need to examine the individual in question in order to determine there is no underlying disorder present. Diseases that may be associated with telangiectasia include the following:

·         Rosacea

·         Port-wine stain

·         Varicose veins

·         Blood syndrome

·         Sturge-Weber Syndrome

·         Scleroderma

·         Actinic keratosis

·         Ataxia-telangiectasia

·         Xeroderma pigmentosum

·         Angioma spider

·         Rendu-Osler-Weber

·         Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber

·         Cutis marmorata telangiectasica congenital


Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive and it is always a good idea to consult with a doctor regarding any questions, concerns, or if symptoms persist.


What are possible treatment options for Telangiectasia?

The most appropriate treatment options for telangiectasia depend on the type of telangiectasia in question.  Generally, conditions involving capillaries are difficult to treat. In some cases, treatment options involving laser ablation (targeting the widened vessel and sealing it) or surgery (removing the widened vessels) may be useful to help remove telangiectasias. Treatment for telangiectasis involving the veins responds well to sclerotherapy, which focuses on irritating the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to swell and stick together, and the blood to clot.

There are several therapies which are still experimental, such as those based on antibiotics or antivirals. In order to mask the appearance of telegiectasias, possible use of make-up products may be helpful.


When is it advised to consult with a doctor regarding telangiectasia?

Telangiectasia is generally harmless. It is advisable and important to consult with a doctor anytime there is a presence of dilated blood vessels in the skin, mucous membranes or the eyes. Identifying the exact cause of the condition and determining the most appropriate form of treatment can help prevent further complications. Treatment can help improve the appearance of the skin and individuals who have undergone treatment can expect to resume with their normal activities after recovery.