Fatigue, a feeling of heaviness in the legs, mild tissue edema, swelling of the veins and the first visible “vascular network” may indicate the development of varicose veins of the lower extremities.
The statistics of this disease are very sad. For example, in one country there are about 37 million people who suffer from this disease. Every sixth patient of them is a girl younger than 12 years. Thus, the early onset of the disease significantly increases the risk of complications which, when neglected, threaten disability and even death.
What's so terrible about varicose veins of the lower extremities? Why is it so important to stop its development in the early stages? Read this article about the methods of its treatment, preventive measures from the point of view of experts, as well as many other useful information about varicose veins of the lower extremities.
What is varicose veins of the lower extremities?
All veins in the human body are divided into deep, superficial and perforated. Deep vessels do almost all the work (90%) to transport blood to the heart, and perforated vessels are a kind of bridge between the deep and the superficial. The structure of the veins ensures the presence of valves that direct and encourage blood flow only in the right direction. When the circulatory system fails, part of the blood accumulates at one point. This leads to local expansion (extension) of the vessel. Deep veins (so-called internal varicose veins) suffer first, later superficial ones in the form of “spider veins and nodules”.
For a complete perception of the severity of the disease, it is worth noting that its progression threatens the development of thrombophlebitis, pulmonary artery blockage by thrombus (or thromboembolism), as well as trophic ulcers on the leg, lymphostasis (edema of the lower extremities) and many other problems can lead to death.
The main causes of varicose veins of the lower extremities
Many factors can cause vascular dysfunction, blood flow in general, and then stimulate the appearance of varicose veins of the superficial extremities. Consider the main ones:
- Congenital malformations of the valves located inside the venous vessels - the disease can be inherited. According to statistics, two thirds of patients have close relatives with a similar disease.
- Insufficient mobility reduces soft tissue stress. As a result, the load on the blood vessels decreases, their tone.
- In the "standing" position, the pressure inside the leg veins increases tenfold. With a long vertical layout, the valves cannot cope with the increased load, which causes a violation of their functioning.
- Decreased vascular tone - can be caused by age-related changes, loss of elasticity of the walls after certain diseases.
- Pregnancy - this period is characterized by an increase in blood in the female body, as well as the hormone progesterone, estrogen. Together, these changes encourage the development of varicose veins of the lower extremities. True, the normalization of the process is possible about a year after birth, if there are no varicose complications.
Overweight, the presence of injuries, previous surgeries, hormonal disorders and the use of contraceptives complete the list of reasons for the development of the disease.
Determination of varicose veins of the lower extremities - symptoms and diagnosis
The effectiveness of treatment, the speed of a positive outcome largely depends on the accuracy and timeliness of diagnosing the disease.
Signs of varicose veins of the lower extremities will help diagnose the disease in its early stages:
- appearance of slight swelling of the legs;
- swelling of superficial venous vessels, their increase in diameter;
- itching of the lower extremities with varicose veins;
- feeling of overwork, heaviness;
- stinging, pain caused by excessive stretching of the vein walls;
- limb cramps;
- noticeable blue skin along the vein, compaction (hardening) of problem areas of tissue, formation of varicose eczema of the lower extremities.
Even a small violation of the integrity of the skin at the site of eczema can lead to the appearance of a trophic ulcer.
In the variant of varicose veins of the lower extremities, the symptoms may appear at a later stage, which is undesirable. Therefore, if you have the slightest suspicion of the disease, it is recommended to consult a doctor.
The diagnosis of varicose veins of the lower extremities is made using special equipment. Such a study is safe, painless and allows you to comprehensively study the severity of the disease.
There are several diagnostic options:
- visual inspection;
- two-color color test method - a blood flow map compiled during the study allows the direction and speed of blood flow to be judged. The procedure informs about the condition of blood vessels, which is important for predicting the development of varicose veins;
- phlebography - used very rarely because it involves X-ray examination.
During the diagnosis, you can observe the condition of blood vessels, valves, analyze their functionality and determine the direction of blood flow.
In general, the first reason for visiting a doctor is unaesthetic changes. From the first type, they are harmless, they can further develop into serious ailments and complications. Therefore, you should not neglect their importance.
Classification of varicose veins of the lower extremities
Doctors usually distinguish 5 stages of varicose veins of the lower extremities, each of which has its own symptoms:
- Stage 1- reticular varicose vein of the lower extremities, which is the easiest to treat. It is characterized by the presence of a "vascular network". Varicose veins are visible through the thin skin (especially in the pit below the knee), the pain does not yet occur.
- Stage 2- segmental varicose veins of the lower extremities, accompanied by mild fatigue, a feeling of heaviness in the legs, even spasms in the calf muscle, mild swelling of the veins is possible;
- Stage 3- venous vessels stand out significantly from the skin, especially inside the lower leg, thin skin with dark brown spots, itching, rash, signs of dermatitis. Increased swelling causes discomfort when moving.
- Stage 4varicose veins of the lower extremities - the symptoms are pronounced, complications of the disease appear, such as thrombophlebitis, manifestations of trophic ulcers. Varicose swollen nodules strongly appear through the thinned skin of the lower leg, feet and thighs.
- Stage 5- has all the symptoms of Stage 4. In addition, the disease progresses to the groin area. The number of trophic ulcers is rapidly increasing, as is the frequency of thrombophlebitis crises. At this stage, the doctor determines the disability in varicose veins of the lower extremities.
The main task of both the patient and his doctor is to prevent the development of the disease after the initial stages, and the sooner you contact a phlebologist, the easier it will be to stop the disease.
Treatment of varicose veins of the lower extremities
Medicine does not stand still, but develops the latest technologies to fight venous diseases. Treatment of varicose veins of the lower extremities can be performed by conservative methods (drugs, minimally invasive procedures), surgery, home remedies in combination with massage.
Deteriorating the attractiveness of the layout is not a complete list of possible problems. Complications and disability can add to that. Modern medicine offers a wide range of non-surgical effects on problem areas, and often it is physiotherapy of varicose veins of the lower extremities that is most effective in the initial stages of the disease:
- By using creamy preparations, gels, ointments for varicose veins of the lower extremities, these drugs bring noticeable relief. They are easily applied to the surface, do not cause pain and discomfort.
- Use of venotonics - drugs that in the case of varicose veins of the lower extremities normalize the work of the veins.
- Laser exposure - the method of endovenous laser vein obliteration (ELOV) is widely used in the fight against varicose veins. The principle of the procedure is to stop the functioning of the problematic vein due to the influence of thermal air on it. Laser manipulations are performed under local anesthesia, no restrictions on actions and additional hospital stay are required. The patient has the right to go home immediately after the procedure.
- Magnetotherapy of varicose veins of the lower extremities is a modern auxiliary method that promotes blood thinning, stimulates blood circulation and, as a result, helps remove toxins from tissues and saturates them with oxygen.
- RF-RF exposure works like a laser. They exclude the problematic vessel from the bloodstream, thus eliminating the risk of possible complications;
- Sclerotherapy - involves the introduction of a special drug inside the diseased vein, which favors the adhesion of the walls of the vessel and its self-elimination from the bloodstream after some time.
It should be borne in mind that prior consultation with a physician and special examination are required.
Operations of varicose veins of the lower extremities
Late visits to the doctor, neglect of the disease lead to CVI (chronic venous insufficiency) and inexpediency of minimally invasive therapy. In such cases, surgery comes to the rescue.
The following factors are considered indications for surgery for varicose veins of the lower extremities:
- The disease is in severe stages, when trophic ulcers progressively manifest;
- development of thrombophlebitis;
- discomfort associated with excessive fatigue, swelling of the legs.
The principle of surgical intervention is based, like conservative techniques, on removing a problematic vein from the vascular system. Only in minimally invasive methods are the vessels glued, and during surgery they are tied on both sides and removed.
There are several main methods of surgical treatment of varicose veins of the lower extremities:
- Phlebectomyis a classic variant of surgery. Small incisions (up to five millimeters) are made in the skin through which a probe is inserted and the diseased vein is removed. The procedure lasts a maximum of two hours and does not involve a long hospital stay.
- Miniphlebectomy- differs from classic phlebectomy in the size of the hole in the skin. In this case, these are minimal stings that minimize the rehabilitation period and do not leave visible marks on the body.
- Short removal- requires precise location of the problem area. Only the affected segment is removed. No traces remained after the procedure.
- Vein dissectionunder the control of a high-optic endocope. It is injected directly into the diseased vein, the operation is performed via a monitor. Experience, the qualification of the surgeon increases the chances of a successful operation.
Surgery will solve the problem of painful veins, reduce the risk of developing the disease and help alleviate symptoms in later stages. Compression underwear, venotonic drugs are the main condition for the rehabilitation period. They contribute to early recovery, normalization of blood circulation.
Treatment of varicose veins of the lower extremities with folk remedies
Home remedies occupy a separate niche in the treatment of varicose veins of the lower extremities. There is no need to confirm their great importance, but there is also nothing that could belittle their dignity. Cooked decoctions, infusions, compresses can reduce pain, relieve the feeling of heaviness and fatigue after a hard day.
As a treatment option for reticular varicose veins, traditional medicine recommends tincture of calamus root in red wine for internal use. There are also recipes for external rubbing.
Unopened birch buds are given for 10 days at 0, 5 liters of vodka. When ready, the product is rubbed into the skin.
Useful compresses for varicose veins of the lower extremities from yogurt with garlic or wrapping with fresh cabbage leaves.
You shouldn't expect super fast results. The products are suitable for prophylactic purposes and for the treatment of primary varicose veins of the lower extremities, along with medications prescribed by a physician individually. Do not use any treatment without talking to your doctor.
Massage and gymnastics for varicose veins of the lower extremities
The healing properties of massage have been known to mankind since ancient times. Massage of the lower extremities with varicose veins also has a beneficial effect. It increases the flow of blood and lymph, normalizes venous pressure and starts metabolic processes in tissues.
The massage technique is unusual. It is forbidden to touch the affected area of the veins in any possible way, only around it. Light pinching, wide grip and smoothing are the main techniques of the procedure. It is recommended to combine massage with a series of exercises.
Gymnastics for varicose veins of the lower extremities involves performing a series of actions:
- Warming up - you need to lie down with your legs raised for two to three minutes. They should rest on a wall or other hill, this position guarantees their complete relaxation.
- Exercise "Bicycle" - the movements are identical to when riding a bicycle. Just body position “lying on your back”.
- Exercise "Scissors" - raised limbs intersect for at least one minute.
- Exercise for lower leg muscles - in a supine position, bend one leg so that the knee reaches the chest. Perform movements in the opposite direction while massaging the problematic muscle. Repeat the procedure four times with each leg.
- Get up. For three to five minutes, get up on your toes and lower yourself to the starting position.
- A gymnastic complex of exercises or therapy by exercising varicose veins of the lower extremities guarantees a preventive, therapeutic effect aimed at accelerating the outflow of venous blood into the heart, increasing vascular tone.
It is important for the doctor not only to approve the set of exercises for daily exercises, but also to make sure that the patient performs them correctly, without creating an additional load on the vessels.
Prevention of varicose veins of the lower extremities
It's better to prevent a problem than to cure it later! Experts unanimously recommend the following measures to prevent the disease:
- Go higher - this reduces the risk of blood and lymph congestion.
- Exercise regularly against varicose veins.
- Shoes should be comfortable, the heel should not exceed four centimeters. Prolonged sun exposure does not work well on the walls of blood vessels, limit the time for hot baths.
- Give preference to contrast shower, it enhances blood circulation.
- Focus on fresh vegetables, fruits, plant products. A special diet for varicose veins of the lower extremities is the "best friend" of health.
- Rehydrate your body with 2 liters of fluid a day.
- Removing fatigue, sitting incorrectly or uncomfortable position during rest is the best prevention of varicose veins of the lower extremities.
It should be borne in mind that varicose veins of the lower extremities are a progressive disease. From painless "stars" it can develop into thrombophlebitis and trophic ulcers. Beauty, the absence of pain and weight in the legs can be preserved by following simple recommendations from experts. If you have the slightest suspicion of the disease, hurry to the phlebologist. Remember, varicose veins cannot be completely cured, but it is possible to prevent them, in order to reduce the risk of its further development. Be healthy!