Varicose veins are characterized by uneven expansion of the lumen of the veins of the legs, the appearance of nodes on them and an increase in their length. The disease develops gradually, characterized by a chronic course.
Women suffer from varicose veins three times more often than men. And among the representatives of the stronger sex, people who love sports with the maximum load distribution on their legs are prone to this ailment: football, tennis, basketball.
Why does varicose veins occur
There are three types of veins in the tissues of the legs: superficial, deep, connecting superficial and deep veins. Each vein is a hollow tube through which blood flows from the tissues of the legs to the heart. There are no muscle cells in the walls of the veins, so the vein cannot contract to push blood upward. This task is performed by the skeletal muscles of the legs. And valves are located inside the veins - they close their valves at the time of contraction of skeletal muscles, preventing backflow of blood. Each muscle contraction "pushes" blood higher.
When the valve flaps do not close tightly, some of the blood flows back, stagnates in the vein, presses on its walls, gradually stretching them. The lumen of the vein expands, its wall is stretched. This is the beginning of varicose veins.
Disease triggering factors:
- Heredity - with a congenital lack of collagen fibers, the vein wall is less elastic and prone to stretching.
- Stagnation of blood in the veins of the legs with overweight and obesity, wearing shoes with heels of more than 3-4 centimeters, with prolonged standing in one place of people of certain professions - hairdressers and salespeople, cooks, lecturers, or with prolonged sitting at office employees.
- Changes in hormonal levels: the increased content of progesterone in the blood of a pregnant woman makes the walls soft and extensible, so the risk of varicose veins during the period of gestation increases dramatically.
The first signs of varicose veins - how not to miss
The moment when spider veins or spider veins - reticular varicose veins - appear on the skin of the legs, is considered to be an alarm signal about incipient varicose veins. This is not a cosmetic defect, but the beginning of the disease!
Simultaneously or after a while, the second group of signs joins - a feeling of heaviness in the legs, spreading in the legs after a long standing or sitting on a chair. When a person begins to walk, the feeling of heaviness decreases: the skeletal muscles push the stagnant blood higher and the stretching of the vein walls decreases.
Further development of the disease is manifested by edema on the legs - these are marks from socks, thickening of one leg relative to the other during visual examination.
Later, pain in the calf muscles of the legs, rapid fatigue when walking, joins dry skin of the legs and its pigmentation, protrusion of varicose veins and the formation of trophic ulcers.
When to see a vascular surgeon?
When the first spider veins and asterisks appear, you should consult a specialist, and, if necessary, perform an ultrasound examination of the veins of the lower extremities and perform varicose vein surgery. The earlier the diagnosis of varicose veins is made, the more likely it is to stop it at an early stage.