Statistics clearly show that in the modern world more than half of the world's population suffers from varicose veins. The causes of varicose veins are quite varied, and the triggering mechanism of this disease is a violation of the normal functioning of the venous valves, which leads to the backflow of blood through the veins.
As a result, the venous walls expand and the veins become visible under the skin. This symptom is one of the clinical manifestations of the disease. Depending on the stage of the varicose veins, the treating physician decides the correct treatment tactics.
About the disease
Varicose veins are manifested in the pathological expansion of the venous walls, the tortuosity of the veins and the destruction of their valvular apparatus. Most often, this process affects the vessels of the lower extremities, but there is also an expansion of the veins of the esophagus. There are often varicose veins in the anus and even in the spermatic cord. In medicine, depending on the pathological process and the presence of certain symptoms, it is customary to distinguish the stages of varicose veins.
To correctly understand how the symptoms of a disease correspond to certain stages, it is necessary to understand how it develops. Varicose veins of the lower extremities begin with a disruption of the normal function of the valve apparatus of the veins, which implies the appearance of reverse blood flow. In the development mechanism, the main role is played by a failure in the physiological balance between collagen, muscle cells and elastic fibers in the venous wall.
Initially, there is a gradual slowdown of blood flow in the veins. In the event that the factor that provoked the initiation of the trigger mechanism acts for a long time, an inflammatory process develops. Little by little, this process spreads through the venous network of the lower extremities, causing endothelial cell dysfunction.
The result is damage to the venous wall along its entire length, especially in the area of the valves, which are constantly subjected to mechanical stresses of various kinds. It is logical to assume that the valves that are experiencing the maximum load will be the first to be affected.
Some of the blood returns through the superficial veins in the opposite direction (not up, but down). The volume of blood flow in the veins gradually increases and causes stretching of the venous walls. The body tries to cope with the excess blood by pouring it through the perforating veins into the deep ones, which eventually leads to their stretching. The muscle venous pump stops working efficiently, leading to increased pressure in the vein area. The normal blood supply to the tissues begins to suffer.
The constant pressure and stretching of the venous walls causes the appearance of varicose veins, which initially form in certain areas of the veins, gradually covering new areas. Complications of varicose veins develop in the form of thrombophlebitis and trophic ulcers. At each stage of the disease progression, different symptoms appear, which makes it possible to distinguish various stages of varicose veins.
A few words about risk factors
To prevent the stages of varicose veins, it is important to know those factors that provoke the development of the disease. This will help not only stop the progression process, but also stop the disease in the early stages.
The main predisposing factors for varicose veins include:
- Inheritance. As a result of a genetic predisposition, weakness of the venous wall develops due to insufficient connective tissue.
- Hormonal imbalanceDisruption of hormonal balance plays an important role in the development of varicose veins of the lower extremities, which are often found when taking hormonal medications, including contraceptives.
- Being overweight is a scientifically proven factor that leads to varicose veins.
- The pregnancy. An increase in blood flow in volume and compression of the veins of the retroperitoneal space during pregnancy can
- Food. The lack of raw vegetables and fruits often leads to the disruption of the recovery processes in the area of the venous walls.
- Lifestyle. Prolonged sitting or standing, strenuous physical activity associated with weight lifting, and tight, uncomfortable clothing often cause varicose veins.
The risk of developing varicose veins is also higher in those who have long legs and are tall, since in this case the blood column is high enough, which means that the pressure on the veins increases.
Important!Since not all factors can be completely ruled out, it is necessary to closely monitor the first signs of disease. If there is heaviness, swelling, burning, pain in the legs, you should consult a doctor to establish an accurate diagnosis and prescribe timely therapy.
Stages of varicose veins
Varicose veins of the lower extremities have several fairly common classifications that are widely used by doctors in their medical practice. This helps to prescribe the proper treatment in certain stages of varicose veins and stop the progression of the disease.
According to the classification, the following stages of varicose veins are distinguished:
- Compensation. The first stage of varicose veins is characterized by the fact that at this stage there are no specific complaints, but the characteristic symptom is the presence of varicose veins. They can be noticed on one leg or two at a time.
- Subcompensation. The second stage of varicose veins is determined by the fact that, upon examination, the dilated contoured veins on the legs are clearly visible. There are complaints about the appearance of "goose bumps", a popping sensation on the lower leg. Additionally, patients report nocturnal cramps. In the feet and ankles, up to the legs, there is a slight swelling, especially in the late afternoon. In the morning, the swelling disappears completely.
- Decompensation. This is the last stage of varicose veins, in which all the listed symptoms begin to join with skin lesions in the form of eczema and dermatitis. There is an itching sensation along the veins and the skin becomes shiny and dry. It is well adhered to the subcutaneous tissue. These first clear signs are harbingers of trophic disorders. Hyperpigmentation is observed due to minor bleeding.
In addition, varicose veins have an international classification, which is also widely used in medical practice in many countries of the world:
- Class 0. There are no signs of varicose veins, but there are complaints of a feeling of heaviness that occurs in the legs (especially in the late afternoon).
- Class 1. Venous meshes and spider veins are clearly visible on the legs. Several patients have cramps in the calf muscles.
- Class 2. Dilated leg veins are clearly visible.
- Class 3. There is swelling in the feet, legs and ankles that does not go away after a short rest.
- Class 4. Examination of the legs reveals signs of hyperpigmentation and dermatitis.
- Class 5. Pre-ulcer formation occurs.
- Class 6. There are characteristic trophic ulcers.
Important!Regardless of the classification, the last stage of the disease is the appearance of trophic ulcers, the onset of formation of which can provoke even the smallest trauma. They are difficult to treat, often reappear and leave noticeable scars.
Varicose veins are quite insidious as they develop imperceptibly and often many people simply do not pay attention to the first signs of varicose veins and often delay until the last before going to the doctor. It is dangerous to do this because the complications of the disease can be very serious.
The appearance of trophic ulcers in some cases is accompanied by the development of infectious processes, since it is simply an excellent open environment for microbes to penetrate. Bleeding from varicose veins is also possible, accompanied by pain, redness, and local compaction along the veins. Therefore, it is very important to start treatment in a timely manner, when the initial stage of varicose veins with minimal symptoms is determined.
It is not necessary to wait for complications that threaten not only health, but also life. This will determine not only the nature of the treatment, but also the speed of recovery. If at the beginning of the development of the disease it is possible to do without taking special drugs and wearing compression stockings, then at the last stage surgical intervention is often required.
Everyone knows that it is better to prevent a disease than to treat it later. For varicose veins in the lower extremities, this rule also works. And the measures for the prevention of this disease are quite simple, easy to implement and very effective.
These include the implementation of the following rules:
- Wear comfortable shoes with or without low heels.
- Try to wear loose clothing without elastic bands and tight belts.
- It is important to walk a lot with bare feet, especially on pebbles and sand.
- During sedentary work, you should periodically change the position of your body.
- Do not abuse the baths and saunas that are too hot.
Do not consume large amounts of smoked, salty or spicy foods, as well as alcohol, as this can lead to blood clots. It is useful for sports, going to the pool and going for a walk, but only with comfortable shoes. If the diagnosis of varicose veins has already been made, the decision on the number of loads should be made together with the attending physician.
Varicose veins are a disease that is based on the thinning of the venous walls. This leads to the fact that enlargements are formed in the veins and their lumen increases. In the absence of timely therapy and competent prevention, one stage of varicose veins begins to replace another. This leads to the formation of venous nodes and is often complicated by phlebitis, chronic venous insufficiency, and trophic ulcers.
In order not to start the pathological process in the severe stages of varicose veins and complications, you need to carefully monitor the health of the legs, the first signs of this disease, and also seek the help of a specialist in a medical institution in time. Complex therapy and adherence to preventive measures will contribute to the fact that the legs will delight in their beauty and health, and the gait will regain lightness.