Did you know that birthmarks are fairly common? It is estimated that more than 10 percent of babies are born with birthmarks of some sort.
Birthmarks are harmless and most fade away as children get older. However, some parents are alarmed if they find an infantile hemangioma on their child.
These types of birthmarks are not a cause for concern. Continue reading to learn more about infantile hemangioma. Learn what you should do if your child has one.
What is Infantile Hemangioma?
Let’s first break down the word “hemangioma”. It is two root terms and one suffix. “Hem” means blood, “angio” means vessel, and “oma” means growth.
So, put back together, the word means a growth of blood vessels. This makes sense given the slightly raised, red appearance of a hemangioma.
They appear on the skin as small red bumps or scratches. Because of their deep red appearance, they are sometimes called strawberry hemangiomas.
Infantile hemangioma are the most common growths on children. About 5% of children have an infantile hemangioma. While it can be present at birth, it usually grows within the first year and then fades over time.
How Do They Develop?
As discussed above, infantile hemangiomas are groups of blood vessels. However, those vessels become a hemangioma when they multiply more than they should and form incorrectly. They group together in one area of the body, and that’s what you’re looking at when you see a hemangioma.
Experts are not sure why the blood vessels group together like that. They believe it has something to do with certain proteins that are produced by the placenta during the gestational period.
Infantile hemangiomas are more common among babies who experience preterm birth. The premature baby is believed to have a higher amount of those proteins and other cells that stimulate blood vessels to group together into a hemangioma.
Besides the skin, hemangiomas can develop on the liver, kidneys, lungs, colon, and brain.
Treatment for Infantile Hemangioma
Lucky for the preterm baby and other term babies, infantile hemangioma is usually nothing to worry about. Oftentimes, a small, single hemangioma does not require treatment. Usually, by the age of 10, the hemangioma will fade entirely.
There is a small percentage of cases that do require medical intervention. Some hemangiomas may open, bleed, or become painful. Also, if there are hemangiomas on the spine or central nervous system, immediate action is required.
For cases that require further intervention, the gold standard is a prescription medication called Propanolol. Read more about this drug here.
Propanolol works by making the blood vessels narrower and lessening the amount of blood in there. With less blood flow going to those rogue blood vessels, the hemangioma shrinks.
The More You Know
Now you know that if you find an infantile hemangioma on your child, there is no need to panic. Watch it to track growth and call your doctor.
Your pediatrician will evaluate it and tell you what he or she thinks is going on and what course to take next. The more you know, the less you need to worry.
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