Varicose veins are a pathological condition resulting from chronic venous insufficiency, in which the venous walls become thinner, the lumen of the veins increases, and aneurysm-like dilations (nodes) form. Visually, the veins become very swollen, blue in color, twisted. Manifested by feeling of heaviness in the legs and its fatigue, edema of the feet and legs, night cramps in the legs.
Causes of varicose veins
The exact cause cannot be named, but there are a number of factors that can cause increased pressure and decreased elasticity of the veins, as well as weakening of the valves, as a result of which they developvaricose veins.
In clinical phlebology, several factors that cause varicose veins are distinguished:
- Foot play or standing for a long time
- Wear socks with strong elastic bands that compress the legs.
- Tissue weakness as a result of congenital conditions.
- Walking upright. The legs have a greater load than the whole body. This factor is dangerous for people whose job involves standing for a long time.
- genetic predisposition. If the parents had varicose veins, then the child with a 70% probability will also develop pathology. It is true that risks can be reduced and avoided. To do this, you only need not to create provoking factors. With a genetic predisposition, varicose veins appear very early.
- Lifestyle. If a person is not active enough, the risk of varicose veins increases. Phlebologists call this condition "computer varicose veins. "
- Hormonal alterations and pregnancy. During pregnancy, varicose veins develop due to an increase in blood volume, as well as compression of the veins by an enlarged uterus. With hormonal disturbances, progesterone production increases and estrogen synthesis decreases, which increases blood clotting.
- Obstacles to blood flow. This condition occurs with the formation of blood clots, the development of tumors.
- Obesity. Excess weight increases the load on the legs, failures in blood circulation begin and the extra kilos cause an increase in abdominal pressure, which changes the blood output.
- Diabetes. When you are sick, high sugar levels begin to damage the vascular system, leading to blood clots.
- Stress and nervous disorders affect the blood vessels and lead to the development of varicose veins.
- Alcohol abuse. Alcohol can dehydrate the body, and if consumed in excess, the blood thickens, the veins become clogged and blood flow is interrupted.
- Unbalanced diet. If the body does not receive vitamins C, E, P, as well as useful microelements: blood circulation is disturbed, the condition of blood vessels worsens, which leads to varicose veins.
- Frequent stool retention. In this case, abdominal pressure increases and blood flow in the legs is affected.
- Renal and cardiac pathologies.
- Drug overdose to increase blood clotting.
Depending on the cause of the development of the disease, there are 3 main stages of varicose veins:
Varicose veins are not a serious pathology, but their complications are terrible.
Pay attention! If the disease appears, it will not go away on its own. Failure to contact a specialist in a timely manner will lead to serious violations, which are dangerous.
The main symptoms of varicose veins
The clinical picture of varicose veins is not difficult, this allows the phlebologist to quickly make a preliminary diagnosis and send the patient to instrumental diagnostics.
Among the main signs of varicose veins are:
- The appearance of swelling in the legs at the end of the day, at night. The first symptom is possible, especially when wearing tight shoes. After a normal rest in the morning, the swelling goes away.
- Heavy legs. A person feels not only heaviness, but also a burst in the calves, especially after a day of work. The symptom is more common in people with sedentary work. If you walk at night and ensure adequate rest, the symptoms disappear in the morning, but reappear at night.
- Intense heat in the legs, particularly in the calves.
- Night cramps than cramps in the calves.
- The appearance of the vascular network on the legs (blue-red "stars").
- Increased veins in the legs (as if they were raised above the skin). This sign is one of the last to develop and speaks of pronounced varicose veins.
The symptoms described are subject to mandatory treatment, the earlier it is done, the less serious the complications will be.
Complications of varicose veins
When varicose veins appear, the pathology does not disappear by itself and without treatment it begins to give complications. What is the danger of varicose veins and what consequences can there be in the context of the disease?
The complicated shape of the course of varicose veins is felt by means of:
- Acute thrombophlebitis.
- Trophic ulcers.
A progressive disease causes varicothrombophlebitis and then phlebothrombosis. Such conditions affect the deep veins, the blood flow in the legs is not only disturbed, but can be stopped, due to which gangrene is formed.
Diagnosis of varicose veins
At the beginning of the development of varicose veins, the symptoms, as a rule, are not pronounced, often the pain in the legs and other sensations are attributed to fatigue.
The patient does not immediately decide on a visit to the doctor (when the veins begin to swell and this is noticeable with the naked eye).
A phlebologist is engaged in the diagnosis of varicose veins, the diagnosis is established on the basis of a conversation with a patient, an internal examination and data from diagnostic studies, in particular:
- Color duplex examination. It makes it possible to measure the speed, the direction of the blood. The data allow mapping of blood flow.
- Phlebography. Shows the external characteristics of the veins, the operation of the valves. The method is used in extreme cases.
- Diagnostic tests: allow you to determine the patency of the veins and the condition of the valves. The most common test is Troyanova.
- Doppler ultrasound: an assessment of blood flow in a particular vessel is performed.
The methods described are used to diagnose superficial and deep veins.
Consequences of varicose veins in the legs
The danger is not in the varicose veins themselves, but in the complications and subsequent consequences that become a real threat to human life. Let's take a closer look.
This state involves several development steps. At the beginning of venous insufficiency, the changes are insignificant and horizontal venous reflux appears.
Four stages can be distinguished:
- Null. There are no typical symptoms, only temporary swelling of the legs occurs, the veins are slightly visible.
- First. It is accompanied by severe varicose veins in the legs, but there are no trophic failures.
- Second. The obvious appearance of veins on the legs with a large number of nodes, the legs are affected by eczema, ulcers.
- Third. Persistent trophic disorder, which cannot be stopped with medication.
Patients with chronic venous insufficiency develop the following symptoms:
- Stagnation of blood and the appearance of formations (varicose veins).
This complication is characterized by the appearance of blood clots that block the vessels. Blood becomes slimy, making it difficult to drain. The upper leg and lower thigh are affected. A phlebologist can easily identify a complication by pronounced changes:
- Seal fabrics.
When thrombophlebitis develops, many veins are affected, including the pulmonary artery. Treatment of thrombophlebitis should be done without delay at the first symptoms, surgery is used as therapy.
In the initial stages, outpatient therapy is carried out if the varicose veins have not reached the lower leg.
For treatment, apply:
- Non-steroidal drugs for inflammation.
Trophic ulcer always occurs in advanced cases, when blood output is severely affected. Typical signs of complication:
- Slow formation.
- Darkening of the skin of the legs, strong pigmentation.
Any trauma to the legs can damage and break ulcers. If you give quick help, there will be no consequences and the injury will heal quickly; otherwise, tissue inflammation will begin and a bacterial infection of varying severity may develop.
An operation is performed to treat complicated trophic ulcers. During treatment, specialists prescribe bed rest for 2 or more weeks. As conservative treatment, broad spectrum antibiotics, regenerative drugs and topical antiseptics are prescribed.
Thromboembolism is the most dangerous and often fatal consequence. This condition suggests occlusion of the pulmonary artery or its branches by dislodged thrombotic masses.
Main development risks:
- Performing an operation.
- Heart failure.
- Prolonged lie.
Complications are more common in women, development is possible even in children. Pulmonary embolism can be determined by the following symptoms:
- Chest pain.
- Temperature rise.
- Coughing up blood.
- Shortness of breath.
It is impossible to diagnose the disease on its own, if thromboembolism is suspected, urgent hospitalization is performed.
Treatment and prevention of varicose veins
Today there are several main types of treatment for varicose veins:
- Conservative treatment. The technique depends on the stage of the disease. They use drug therapy, sclerotherapy of the affected veins, compression treatment.
- Surgical treatment. This method includes several types of operations: radiofrequency vein obliteration, intravenous thermal occlusion, Varadi surgery, and laser vein coagulation.
The essence of prevention is to keep blood vessels in a healthy state, as well as to prevent failures in venous circulation.
Preventive measures are also indicated for healthy people who, due to genetics or foot work, can develop varicose veins, as well as for those who already suffer from varicose veins.
For prevention purposes, you need:
- To control body weight, with obesity, there is a heavy load on the legs, blood circulation is impaired, and blood vessels can not function normally. When applying weight loss diets, you must control the menu so that it is correct and complete.
- Eat well, so that the diet contains foods that strengthen the vascular system and normalize blood circulation. It should include more plant foods, whole grain breads.
- To carry out moderate physical activity, preventing varicose veins and keeping the veins in the legs in good condition. Ideal for swimming, walking, dancing.
- Wear loose clothing, shoes.
- Use products in the form of ointments and creams that can saturate tissues with useful substances, improve blood circulation, strengthen blood vessels.
Even if varicose veins begin to develop, prevention can significantly slow down the development of pathology and reduce the risk of complications.