A blood vessel disorder can put any individual at risk of endothelial lining lesion or even blood compromise. Besides these disorders mimic the clinical presentation of precancerous conditions to malignancies. One of the conditions is phlebectasis, more commonly known as venous lakes, which are dilatations of facial capillaries. Because the blood vessels affected are venous in nature, they transport deoxygenated blood, which may grossly appear as bluish to violaceous soft macule or papule, causing uneven facial features especially in the sun-exposed parts of the cranial area.
While the exact aetiology and process for venous lake formation haven’t been finalized, several mechanisms have been looked into, especially factors that connect to the resultant vascular ectasia that is observed in phlebectasis.
It was surmised that the outer lining of the blood vessels, known as the adventitia, can be injured due to radiation exposure and smoking, which compromises its contractility causing dilation of superficial vessel structures. Besides extrinsic causes, internal causes such as vascular thrombosis may have been contributory factors. The accumulated factors increase the inadvertent dilatation of the venous capillaries, thus resulting in the venous lakes. A variation or a precursor of phlebectasis is a capillary aneurysm, which is related to the mechanisms mentioned above. This usually happens in adults at the age of 50 and above, especially in populations who have long hours of exposure to the sun.
Treatment. Why do we need help from Mycotherapy?
As this is a harmless condition, treatment is not completely called for. While this is true, venous lakes may cause unsightly lesions in the face and thus, affected individuals may choose to treat this. A more temporary but straightforward approach is through the application of cosmetic camouflage cream thereby concealing the affected area. This is also the most commonly done management as this is non-invasive and effective in some cases, through the use of medical-grade make-up, that is resistant to moisture, and is adaptable to the skin tone of the patient.
A more definitive approach is through more invasive procedures including cryotherapy, electrocautery, and sclerotherapy, which minimizes the dilatation in the area. Some of these procedures may leave scars, which again because is located in the face, may cause aesthetic problems in the patient.
This is where mycological treatment is warranted, as some mushroom extracts have been found to have activity for vascular health, thereby preventing such vascular conditions including venous lakes.
Treatment with Mycotherapy
Mycotherapy has been looked into to improve this condition and the overall health of the human vasculature. The following mushrooms have been discovered to contain bioactive substances and warrant further studies to be used in the clinical setting. These mushrooms are currently available now as extracts, mostly taken orally, to improve the management of venous lakes.
Cordyceps sinensis has been known to have microvascular benefits maintaining the optimal health of the blood vessels with the smallest calibre, as these are the vessels most vulnerable to obstruction and resultant dilatation, which is what we need to prevent in venous lakes. It induces lower blood pressure especially beneficial for smaller blood vessels, thus preventing clot formation or even ischemia. Cordyceps does this as its extracts were discovered to help limit the levels and concentration of serum lipid peroxidase, which in turn, lessens the activity of low-density level (LDL) oxidation.
Grifola frondosa was found to have vascular benefits, targeting multisystemic organs to decrease harmful biomolecules from being produced and deposited in the blood vessel linings. Maitake regulates the metabolism of lipids, which are known to deposit to the endothelial lining causing atherosclerotic plaques. By taking action on the root of the metabolism, the Maitake takes action in the liver to control the metabolism of lipids and prevent its accumulation in the liver and blood. This mechanism also alleviates the circulation of high blood pressure, which takes its toll to the integrity of blood vessels.
Among the most studied one through phytochemical studies is the Ganoderma lucidum, which was found to contain a myriad of bioactive substances with microvasculature benefits. Among these is the cyclo-octasulfur, which is an alkaloid with regulatory activity on the vascular tone of the heart, which in an extension would improve the peripheral vascular function. Another one is the ganodermadiol, a triterpene which has a hypotensive activity, and lastly is the ganodermic acids, which lowers both blood pressure and cholesterol production. In addition to these, Reishi also has an effect on the platelet aggregation, which prevents thrombosis formation.
Venous lakes are benign vascular lesions that warrant attention due to their similarity in presentation with malignant conditions. While venous lakes are benign, the cases that call for treatment would have options between the general treatment, which are only temporary, versus the definitive treatments, which are highly invasive with noticeable scarring. By taking advantage of these mushroom bioactive extracts, protective mechanisms are sought to improve venous lakes and the overall microvascular health.