Varicose veins of the legs are among the most common diseases in the world and, according to WHO, every fifth person has a disease. The pathology of the venous vessels of the lower extremities is associated with a malfunction of the intravenous valves, vein expansion and thinning of their walls. This leads to a reverse flow of blood and its stagnation in the vessels. The patient's movements are difficult, pain syndrome appears, working capacity and quality of life decrease.
Varicose veins of the lower extremities are caused by many factors. Therefore, the disease requires accurate diagnosis and competent treatment, which is selected individually for each patient.
In the absence of timely therapy, a detached blood clot can lead to dangerous complications, disability, disability, and even death.
Causes of varicose veins
The blood in the veins moves in jerks towards the heart. The muscles of the lower extremities are responsible for this, as well as intravenous valves that prevent blood from flowing in the opposite direction. When the valves fail, the blood flows against the movement, the pressure in the veins increases, and they expand. As a result, the venous wall becomes thinner, and blood diffuses through it to the surrounding tissues, swelling and pain appear in the lower extremities.
Predisposing factors for varicose veins include:
- excessive load on the lower limbs due to excess weight, intense physical exercise, carrying weights;
- sedentary lifestyle;
- pulling or pinching the veins of the lower extremities (tight clothing, bandages, sports equipment: expanders, elastic bandages);
- prolonged and regular work in a sitting or standing position without changing body position and regular rest;
- constant wearing of shoes with heels;
- period of pregnancy and menopause;
- chronic diseases (constipation, diabetes, kidney and cardiovascular diseases).
In men, the main factors in the development of varicose veins are heredity, unbalanced physical activity and bad habits, while varicose veins in women are more often associated with hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause, wearing uncomfortable shoes.
Symptoms of varicose veins
The first signs of the disease may not be felt physically, but appear only externally in the form of vessels of dark blue and purple colors translucent through the skin, spider veins and spider veins, protruding veins above the surface of the skin in the form of twisted cords.
Signs of the next stage of varicose veins are manifested in the form of discomfort and pain, pulsations, burning or spasms in the legs are observed, there are sensations of heaviness and swelling of the lower extremities, itching in the area of the affected vessel.
Complications of varicose veins
Varicose veins can have serious consequences, causing discomfort and life threatening. These include:
- trophic eczema or skin ulcer in the area of the affected vein, which is preceded by blanching of the skin;
- deep vein thrombosis caused by a blood clot from smaller superficial veins;
- pulmonary embolism due to blood clots that have entered the bloodstream from the veins of the lower extremities;
- rupture of the varicose vein, which is accompanied by profuse bleeding that is difficult to stop.
Diagnosis of varicose veins
Vein problems are dealt with by phlebologists, however, other specialists are involved in making an accurate diagnosis: angiologist, dermatologist, nutritionist, endocrinologist, and, if surgery is necessary, a vascular surgeon.
At the initial consultation, the phlebologist clarifies the symptoms, when they appeared and how often they recur, and also asks about the presence of similar problems in other family members. In addition, it is important for the doctor to know about the lifestyle and habits of the patient.
After a complete examination of the lower extremities and the disturbing area in particular, the phlebologist can refer the patient for additional examinations: ultrasound, phlebography (x-ray of the veins), phlebomanometry (measurement of blood pressure in the veins), three-dimensional computed tomography, phleboscintigraphy (assessment of venous blood flow by intravenous administration of radioisotope-labeledalbumin molecules).
At advanced stages or with complications, Dopplerography (color duplex angioscanning) is considered the most accurate method. It allows you to assess the nature of the blood flow, the condition of the valves and deep veins, to identify the reverse flow of blood and the presence of blood clots.
Only an accurate diagnosis will allow the doctor to draw up an optimal treatment plan.
Treatment of varicose veins
Therapy is aimed at identifying and minimizing the influence of disease-provoking factors, as well as eliminating the consequences and preventing complications.
There are three approaches to therapy for varicose veins: conservative, minimally invasive, and radical surgery.
Conservative treatment for varicose veins includes:
- The use of ointments, gels and tablets based on phlebotonics - substances that improve the tone of the veins, the condition of their walls, blood circulation, relieve swelling and discomfort. An effective drug from this group for varicose veins is Detralex, which includes five plant components that have a beneficial effect on the condition of the venous vessels. The drug is available in two forms: tablets and oral suspension.
- Wearing compression underwear, which creates optimal pressure in problem areas of the legs, prevents the expansion of veins and maintains the tone of the vascular wall.
- Diet therapy, depending on the specific case, can be aimed at weight loss, strengthening the walls of venous vessels, preventing edema and normalizing stools. Not only the diet itself is important, but also a certain diet, as well as the optimal amount of water consumption.
- Physiotherapy is necessary to improve blood circulation, increase the tone of muscles and blood vessels in the legs, and eliminate venous stasis. In addition, physical activity helps in normalizing weight and improves the psychological state of the patient. Sports with varicose veins require compliance with safety precautions. In particular, during training, you need to wear compression garments and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and increase blood viscosity. Prolonged static loads and heavy lifting are also prohibited. After training, it is recommended to lie on your back with your legs up to ensure the outflow of blood from the veins.
Non-invasive methods for removing varicose veins include laser treatment (laser exposure) and radiofrequency ablation (high frequency current exposure). As a result, the walls of the vessel are soldered, and the vein soon resolves.
Sclerotherapy is also performed: a sclerosant is injected into the affected vein - a special substance that causes its blockage. As a result, blood flow is redirected to the nearest healthy vessel, and the problematic vein eventually disappears. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis with the obligatory wearing of compression underwear after it.
In severe cases of varicose veins, a phlebectomy is performed - an operation to partially or completely remove the damaged vessel. Such a radical approach is recommended in cases where the patient has contraindications to the methods of "soldering", as well as at a high risk of recurrence of the disease.
After the operation, in order to prevent varicose veins in the future, it is necessary to normalize the diet, give up bad habits, take drugs prescribed by the doctor to thin the blood and strengthen blood vessels, and do therapeutic exercises.
Prevention of varicose veins
It includes sports activities (swimming, walking, cycling, light jogging, aerobics), adherence to a drinking regimen, avoiding bad habits, tight-fitting clothing, high-heeled shoes, regular warm-ups during sedentary work, when prescribed by a doctor - wearing compression stockings. In addition, it is important to monitor the general state of health in order to identify and treat diseases that can provoke varicose veins in time.
At the first suspicion of a problem with blood vessels, you should contact specialists for diagnosis and timely initiation of treatment.