Information On Capillary Fragility - Capillaritis, Purpura
Capillary is the smallest type of blood vessel in the vascular system. Capillaries connect the smallest arteries with the smallest veins; most are so narrow that only one blood cell can pass along them at a time. The capillary wall is the conduit for material passing from an artery to a vein. The function of capillaries is to carry oxygen-rich blood to the tissues, to pass food substances to tissue cells, and to carry away waste products, such as carbon dioxide.
Capillaritis is the name given to a harmless skin condition in which there are reddish-brown patches caused by leaky capillaries. It is also known as pigmented purpura.
Purpura is a skin discoloration caused by bleeding (hemorrhage) under the skin. A small hemorrhage is called a petechia and a large one, as in a bruise, is called an ecchymosis. Purpura may result from trauma, from fragility of the blood vessels, or from clotting disorders.
Fragility of the blood vessels usually is inherited, although it seldom is serious. In a more serious inherited form of the disorder, a condition known as telangiectasia, there are obvious abnormalities of the blood vessels in the lips, mouth, and fingers.
There is no known cure for most cases of capillaritis. It can disappear within a few weeks, recur from time to time, or frequently persist for years.
Consider if a medication could be the cause: discontinue it for several months to find out if the capillaritis improves. Try avoiding food preservatives and artificial coloring agents. Return to a normal diet if there is no improvement after several months. Topical steroids can be helpful for itching but rarely clear the capillaritis. If the lower leg is affected, consider wearing graduated compression elastic hose. Currently available lasers are not particularly helpful for this condition.
Prolonged treatment with drugs such as aspirin and cortisone may also result in purpura. Scurvy (caused by lack of vitamin C) is another disorder that causes purpura. A rare, but serious, cause of purpura is Henoch-Schenlein purpura, which may follow an upper respiratory tract infection that damages the blood vessels.
PCOs are believed to improve capillary stability, and are used for venous insufficiency, liver cirrhosis, diabetic retinopathy, postsurgical lymphedema, postoperative facial edema, sports injury related edema, repeated ecchymoses, and purpuric syndromes.
PCOs are a variety of flavonoid-like proanthocyanidins found in numerous plants. Some of the most abundant sources are grape seeds and maritime pine bark. Other food sources include hawthorn flowers, various berries, onions, legumes, red wine, and parsley, and related chemicals are found in bilberry. Collectively, they are known as procyanidolic oligomers. Recent in vitro studies suggest that grape seed PCOs possess superior antioxidant activity to vitamin C or vitamin E. This antioxidant effect occurs in both polar and nonpolar media, giving PCOs a certain functional similarity to lipoic acid. In Europe, PCOs are widely used to treat conditions believed to be related to increased capillary fragility. These include venous insufficiency (varicose veins and hemorrhoids), other unsightly superficial blood vessels, easy bruising, edema of various causes, and diabetic retinopathy. PCOs are also used for aging skin, Macular Degeneration, allergic rhinitis, and Atherosclerosis. Additionally, they are promoted as general antioxidants.