Thread veins: Eight things you may not know about the condition

Thread veins, known medically as telangiectasia, are small clusters of blue or red veins that sometimes appear on the face or legs. They’re harmless and, unlike trunk varicose veins, don’t bulge underneath the surface of the skin. In rare cases, they can cause burning or itching. According to Dr Munir Somji, there are eight important points to bear in mind if the condition shows up.

It runs in the family – thread veins are a genetic code. “If your mother or father have got thread veins, it is really likely that you may develop it too,” said Dr Somji.

Varicose veins – Thread veins can be caused by varicose veins underneath. It is important too address the root cause in order to establish the best course of treatment, as Dr Somji explained: “If you suffer from varicose veins you may not see things on your legs, so it is important to go to a medical professional to assess whether you do have varicose veins as any treatments you do have for the thread veins may not be successful.

“It can even be up to about 80 percent of people with thread veins in their legs have varicose vein abnormalities so worth getting checked out.”

Rosacea – thread veins in the face is normally a sign of an underlying health condition called Rosacea – where your blood vessels are a little bit wider than normal and it can result in a lot of facial flushing and the appearance of thread veins in the face, said Dr Somji.

Microsclerotherapy – this is one effective way to treat thread veins. It is an injection of an agent within the veins to destroy the veins in that area, he said.

If you suffer from varicose veins first, treat the thread veins afterwards

Dr Somji

Laser treatments – Dr Somji recommends a laser treatment called long pulsed Nd:YAG laser. This can obliterate the veins in the leg. “If you suffer from varicose veins first, treat the thread veins afterwards,” added Dr Somji.

Pulse dye-lasers is another option, as Dr Somji explained: “One of the best ways I have found in my practice is pulse dye-lasers for thread veins. It takes them off normally in one or two sessions.”

Radio frequency – this can also be used to treat the condition. “Sometimes I use needle radio frequency in that area to also coagulate the blood vessels and stop them coming back but these two options, sometimes combined work really well for facial redness,” he said.

Daily regimes – daily skincare and not exfoliating in the face can prevent thread veins from cropping up often.

Exercise – physical activity can cause thread veins to spring up in certain areas. “If you do exercise, wearing compression stocking over that area can really take the weight off that area and help your blood flow in that area and prevent thread veins from coming back.”

According to the NHS, varicose veins develop when the small valves inside the veins stop working properly.

In a healthy vein, blood flows smoothly to the heart. The blood is prevented from flowing backwards by a series of tiny valves that open and close to let blood through.

If the valves weaken or are damaged, the blood can flow backwards and collect in the vein, eventually causing it to be swollen and enlarged (varicose).

Certain things can increase your chances of developing varicose veins, such as:

  • Being female
  • Having a close family member with varicose veins
  • Being older
  • Being overweight
  • Having a job that involves long periods of standing
  • Being pregnant
  • Other conditions

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