Fatigue, a feeling of heaviness in the legs, slight tissue edema, swelling of the veins and the first visible “vascular networks” may indicate the development of varicose veins of the lower extremities.
The statistics for this disease are dire. For example, in a single country, there are about 37 million people suffering from this disease. Every 6th patient of them is a girl under 12 years old. Such an early appearance of the disease significantly increases the risk of complications, which, when neglected, threaten disability and even death.
What is so terrible about varicose veins of the lower extremities? Why is it so important to stop its development in the early stages? About the methods of its treatment, preventive measures from the point of view of specialists, as well as a lot of other useful information about varicose veins of the lower extremities, read this article.
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%) of transporting blood to the heart, and perforated vessels are a kind of bridge between deep and superficial. The structure of the veins provides for the presence of valves that direct and promote the outflow of blood only in the right direction. When the circulatory system fails, some of the blood accumulates at one point. This leads to local expansion (lengthening) of the vessel. The first to suffer are deep veins (the so-called internal varicose veins), later superficial in the form of "spider veins and nodes".
For a complete perception of the severity of the disease, it is worth noting that its progression threatens the development of thrombophlebitis, blockage of the pulmonary artery with a thrombus (or thromboembolism), as well as trophic ulcers of the leg, lymphostasis (edema of the lower extremities) and many other problems that can lead to the death of the patient.
The main causes of varicose veins of the lower extremities
Many factors can provoke a malfunction of the functioning of blood vessels, blood flow in general, and then stimulate the appearance of varicose veins of the superficial veins of the lower extremities. Let's consider the main ones:
- Congenital pathology 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 stress on soft tissues. As a result, a decrease in the load on blood vessels, their tone.
- During the "standing" position, the pressure inside the vessels of the legs increases tenfold. With a long vertical arrangement, the valves cannot cope with the increased load, which provokes a violation of their functioning.
- Decreased vascular tone - may be caused by age-related changes, loss of wall elasticity after certain diseases.
- Pregnancy - this period is characterized by an increase in blood in the woman's body, as well as the hormones progesterone, estrogen. Together, these changes stimulate the development of varicose veins of the lower extremities. True, the normalization of processes is possible approximately 1 year after childbirth, if varicose complications have not arisen.
Overweight, the presence of injuries, previous operations, hormonal disorders and the use of contraceptives supplements the list of reasons for the development of the disease.
Determining 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 diseases.
Signs of varicose veins of the lower extremities will help to determine the disease in the early stages:
- the 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;
- burning, pain caused by overstretching of the walls of the veins;
- leg cramps;
- noticeable blue skin along the vein, compaction (induration) of problem areas of tissues, the formation of varicose eczema of the lower extremities.
Even a slight 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 deep vein varicose veins of the lower extremities, symptoms may appear at a later stage, which is undesirable. Therefore, if you have the slightest suspicion of an ailment, it is recommended to consult a doctor.
Diagnosis of varicose veins of the lower extremities is carried out 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;
- method of color duplex examination - the blood flow map compiled during the study allows one to judge the direction and speed of blood movement through the veins. The procedure informs about the state of blood vessels, which is important for predicting the development of varicose veins;
- phlebography - it is used very rarely, because it involves X-ray examination.
During the diagnosis, you can observe the state of blood vessels, valves, analyze their functionality and determine the direction of blood flow.
Generally, 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 veins of the lower extremities, which is the easiest to treat. It is distinguished by the presence of a "vascular network". Enlarged veins are visible through the thin skin (especially in the fossa under the knee), pain does not arise yet.
- Stage 2- segmental varicose veins of the lower extremities, accompanied by slight fatigue, a feeling of heaviness in the legs, even convulsive spasms in the calf muscle, slight swelling of the veins are possible;
- Stage 3- venous vessels stand out significantly from the skin, especially inside the lower leg, thin skin with dark brown spots, itching, rashes, signs of dermatitis. Increased swelling causes discomfort when moving.
- Stage 4varicose veins of the lower extremities - the symptoms are pronounced, complications of the disease, such as thrombophlebitis, manifestations of trophic ulcers, appear. Varicose swollen nodules appear strongly through the thinned skin of the lower leg, feet and thigh.
- Stage 5- has all the symptoms of the 4th stage. In addition, the disease progresses to the groin area. The number of trophic ulcers is rapidly increasing, as is the frequency of thrombophlebitis crises. The doctor establishes disability with varicose veins of the lower extremities at this stage.
The main task of both the patient and his doctor is to prevent the development of the disease beyond the initial stages, and the sooner you contact a phlebologist, the easier it will be for him to stop the disease.
Treatment of varicose veins of the lower extremities
Medicine does not stand still, but develops the latest technologies to combat venous disease. 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.
Deterioration of the attractiveness of appearance is not the whole list of possible troubles. Complications and disability can add to it. Modern medicine offers a wide range of non-surgical effects on problem areas, and often it is physiotherapy for varicose veins of the lower extremities that is most effective in the initial stages of the disease:
- The use of creamy preparations, gels, ointments for varicose veins of the lower extremities, these drugs bring noticeable relief. They are easy to apply to the surface, do not cause pain and discomfort.
- The use of venotonics - drugs that, in case of varicose veins of the lower extremities, normalize the functioning 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 problem vein, due to the effect on it of a heat ray. Laser manipulations are performed under local anesthesia, restrictions on actions and additional hospital stay are not required. The patient has the right to go home immediately after the procedure.
- Magnetotherapy for varicose veins of the lower extremities is a modern auxiliary method that promotes blood thinning, stimulation of blood circulation and, as a result, helps to remove toxins from tissues and saturates them with oxygen.
- RF Exposure - RF works like a laser. They exclude the problem vessel from the bloodstream system, thereby eliminating the risk of possible complications;
- Sclerotherapy - involves the introduction of a special drug inside the diseased vein, which favors the gluing of the walls of the vessel and its self-elimination from the bloodstream after a while.
It should be noted that a preliminary consultation with a doctor and a special examination are required.
Operations for varicose veins of the lower extremities
Late visits to a doctor, neglect of the disease lead to CVI (chronic venous insufficiency) and the 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 are progressively manifested;
- thrombophlebitis development;
- discomfort associated with excessive fatigue, swelling of the legs.
The principle of surgical intervention is based, like conservative techniques, on the elimination of the problem vein from the circulatory system. Only in minimally invasive methods are the vessels glued together, and during the operation they are ligated 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 surgical intervention. 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 takes no more than two hours and does not involve lengthy hospitalization.
- Miniflebectomy- differs from classical phlebectomy in the size of the hole in the skin. In this case, these are minimal punctures that minimize the rehabilitation period, do not leave visible marks on the body.
- Short stripping- requires precise location of the problem area. Only the affected segment is removed. There are no traces left after the procedure.
- Dissection of veinsunder the control of a high optic endocop. It is injected directly into the diseased vein, the operation is performed through a monitor. Experience, qualification of a surgeon increases the chances of a successful operation.
Surgery will solve the problem of sore veins, reduce the risk of developing the disease, and help alleviate symptoms in the later stages. Compression underwear, venotonic medications 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 assert their great importance, but there is also nothing to belittle their dignity. Cooked decoctions, infusions, compresses can reduce pain, ease the feeling of heaviness and fatigue after a hard day.
As a treatment option for reticular varicose veins, traditional medicine recommends a tincture of calamus root in red wine for internal use. There are also recipes for external rubbing.
Unopened birch buds are infused for 10 days on 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 hope for super fast results. The funds are suitable for prophylactic purposes and for the treatment of primary varicose veins of the lower extremities together with medication prescribed by the doctor individually. Do not use any method of treatment without talking to your doctor.
Massage and gymnastics for varicose veins of the lower extremities
The healing qualities of massage have been known to mankind for a long time. Massage of the lower extremities with varicose veins also has a beneficial effect. It enhances blood and lymph flow, normalizes venous pressure, and starts metabolic processes inside tissues.
The massage technique is peculiar. It is forbidden to touch the area of the affected vein in every possible way, only around it. Light pinching, wide grip and stroking are the main techniques of the procedure. It is recommended to combine massage with a set of exercises.
Gymnastics for varicose veins of the lower extremities involves the implementation of a whole range of actions:
- Warm-up - two to three minutes you need to lie down with your legs up. They should rest on a wall or other hill, this position guarantees their complete relaxation.
- Exercise "Bicycle" - movements are identical as when cycling. Only the position of the body "lying on the back".
- Exercise "Scissors" - raised upward limbs cross each other for at least one minute.
- Exercise for the calf muscles - in the "supine" position, bend one leg so that the knee reaches the chest. Perform movements in the opposite direction, while massaging the problem muscle. Repeat the procedure four times with each leg.
- Stand up. For three to five minutes, rise on your toes and lower yourself to the starting position.
- The gymnastic complex of exercises or exercise therapy for varicose veins of the lower extremities guarantees a preventive, therapeutic effect aimed at accelerating the outflow of venous blood to the heart, increasing vascular tone.
It is important that the doctor not only approves the set of exercises for daily exercises, but also makes sure that the patient performs them correctly, without creating additional stress on the vessels.
Prevention of varicose veins of the lower extremities
It is better to prevent the problem than to cure it later! Experts unanimously recommend the following measures to prevent the disease:
- Move more - 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 exposure to the sun does not work well on the walls of blood vessels, limit the time for hot baths.
- Give preference to a contrast shower, it increases 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 per day.
- Elimination of fatigue, improper sitting or uncomfortable position during rest is the best prevention of varicose veins of the lower extremities.
It should be remembered that varicose veins of the lower extremities is a progressive disease. From painless "stars", it can develop into thrombophlebitis and trophic ulcers. Beauty, the absence of pain and heaviness in the legs can be preserved by following the simple recommendations of specialists. If you have the slightest suspicion of illness, hurry to the phlebologist. Remember, varicose veins cannot be completely cured, but it is possible to prevent, to minimize the risk of its further development. Be healthy!