If the outflow of venous blood is weakened, the pressure inside the veins increases, they begin to expand and become visible under the skin. Varicose veins often affect the veins of the lower extremities, but can occur in any organ of the human body.
Varicose veins on the legs can affect men and women of all ages, but are more common in middle-aged and elderly patients. Varicose veins are a very common condition. Up to 15% of older men and almost all older women suffer from this disease.
Risk factors for the development of pathology:
- presence of the disease in close relatives;
- sedentary lifestyle;
- extended standing position;
Causes of varicose veins
The causes of varicose veins are not fully known. In some cases, poor blood flow through the veins is caused by the absence or weakness of the valvular apparatus of vessels located deep in the tissues. Also, varicose veins of the lower extremities and other organs can be caused by weakness of the vascular wall itself.
Rarely, varicose veins on the legs are associated with the following conditions:
- previous inflammation of the veins (phlebitis);
- formation of blood clots in the venous bed;
- congenital anomalies of vascular development.
The disease is progressive and cannot be completely cured. However, there is a fairly effective prevention of varicose veins - the use of compression stockings, maintaining a normal weight and regular physical activity, especially walking or swimming. The dynamic load on the legs helps the muscles to push the blood towards the veins, and the valves to prevent its flow in the opposite direction.
Classification of varicose veins
Depending on the location of pathologically altered vessels, the following forms of varicose veins are distinguished:
- varicose veins of the small pelvis in women;
- lower extremity vein lesion;
- varicose veins of the esophagus in liver pathology;
- postthrombophlebitic variants in different organs.
There are such stages of varicose veins:
- compensated: no complaints, varicose veins on the legs are visible;
- subcompensated: patients complain of swelling, tightness, heaviness in the legs, cramps at night;
- decompensation: skin changes develop - hyperpigmentation, signs of chronic inflammation, trophic ulcers.
The clinic often uses the CEAP classification, which fully describes the clinical signs, causes, localization of the lesion, and the type of circulatory disorder.
Symptoms of varicose veins
In the initial stage of the disease, patients are concerned only with aesthetic discomfort. Then join:
- aching pains, cramps, itching;
- swelling, especially in the evening, heaviness and fatigue in the legs;
- feeling full.
Rare but more serious symptoms include:
- subcutaneous bleeding from a ruptured vein; thrombophlebitis;
- trophic ulcers;
- "crying" dermatitis;
- rough scars on the skin.
These complications are much less responsive to treatment than early-stage pathology.
To examine the veins on your legs and get treatment for varicose veins, you must contact a vascular surgeon or phlebologist. Diagnosis necessarily involves Doppler ultrasound of the veins to assess blood flow, blood vessel wall, and valve apparatus.
Treatment of varicose veins
How to treat varicose veins depends on the size and location of the altered veins, the presence of symptoms and skin changes. Varicose veins are treated by different methods:
- elevated leg position when lying down or sitting;
- use of specially selected compression stockings;
- sclerotherapy (injection of a special drug into the lumen of a vessel with the formation of a blood clot and subsequent destruction of the vein);
- ablation of pathologically altered veins by laser, radiofrequency and other techniques;
- surgical treatment of varicose veins on the legs - phlebectomy.
In the early stages of the disease, the doctor will prescribe a medicine against varicose veins for oral or external use:
- tablets against varicose veins;
- ointment against varicose veins with anti-inflammatory, venotonic, anticoagulant and other beneficial effects.
In addition, many patients use folk remedies for varicose veins on the legs:
- alcoholic tinctures of wild chestnut or kalanchoe leaves for rubbing and dressings;
- compresses of tomato, cabbage, kalanchoe;
- infusions for swallowing from plants - nettle, yarrow, chamomile flowers and St. John's wort, raspberry leaves, marshmallow roots.
To prevent or slow the development of varicose veins, doctors suggest following the following prevention rules:
- occasionally raising his legs on a pillow;
- refusal to stand for a long time;
- using preventive compression stockings, which can be picked up at a pharmacy or medical equipment store;
- regular physical activity (walking);
- weight control;
- if it is necessary to stand for a long time - performing simple exercises (rolling from heel to heel, lifting on the toes, rotation of the feet).
Such measures will contribute to the mechanical reduction of the load on the venous bed, improve the functioning of the venous valve apparatus and preserve the vascular wall.