Varicose veins of the legs (varicose veins of the lower limbs)

varicose veins in the legs

Varicose veins of the legs are one of the most common diseases in the world and, according to the WHO, occur in one in five people. The pathology of the venous vessels of the lower extremities is associated with dysfunction of the intravenous valves, dilation of the veins and thinning of their walls. This leads to reverse blood flow and its stagnation in the vessels. The patient's movements are difficult, a pain syndrome appears, work capacity and quality of life decrease.

Varicose veins in the lower limbs are caused by many factors. Therefore, the disease requires accurate diagnosis and competent treatment, which is selected individually for each patient.

Without timely treatment, a loose blood clot can lead to dangerous complications, disability, disability and even death.

Causes of varicose veins

The blood in the veins moves jerkily towards the heart. The muscles of the lower limbs are responsible for this, as well as the intravenous valves that prevent blood from flowing in the opposite direction. When the valves fail, the blood flows against the movement, the pressure in the veins increases and they dilate. As a result, the venous wall becomes thinner, and blood diffuses through it to surrounding tissues, swelling and pain appear in the lower extremities.

Predisposing factors for varicose veins include:

  • heredity;
  • excessive load on the lower extremities due to excess weight, heavy physical exercise, weight bearing;
  • sedentary lifestyle;
  • pulling or pinching the veins of the lower limbs (tight clothing, bandages, sports equipment: expanders, elastic bandages);
  • prolonged and regular work in a sitting or standing position without change of body position and regular rest;
  • constant wearing of shoes with heels;
  • period of pregnancy and menopause;
  • chronic diseases (constipation, diabetes, kidney and cardiovascular diseases).

In men, the main factors for the development of varicose veins are heredity, unbalanced physical activity and bad habits, while varicose veins in women are more often associated with hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause, wearing shoesuncomfortable.

Symptoms of varicose veins

The first signs of the disease may not be felt physically, but only appear externally in the form of translucent dark blue and purple colored vessels through the skin, spider veins and spider veins, bulging veins abovefrom the surface of the skin in the form of twisted cords.

Signs of the next stage of varicose veins are manifested in the form of discomfort and pain, pulsation, burning or spasms in the legs are observed, there are feelings of heaviness and swelling in the lower extremities, itching inthe affected ship's area.

Complications of varicose veins

Varicose veins can have serious consequences, causing discomfort and being life-threatening. These include:

  • trophic eczema or skin ulcer in the area of the affected vein, preceded by whitening of the skin;
  • deep vein thrombosis caused by a blood clot from smaller superficial veins;
  • pulmonary embolism due to blood clots that entered the bloodstream from the veins of the lower extremities;
  • rupture of the varicose vein, which is accompanied by heavy bleeding that is difficult to stop.

Diagnosis of varicose veins

Venous problems are taken care of by phlebologists, but other specialists intervene to establish an accurate diagnosis: angiologist, dermatologist, nutritionist, endocrinologist and, if surgery is necessary, a vascular surgeon.

During the first consultation, the phlebologist clarifies the symptoms, when they appeared and how often they recur, and also inquires about the presence of similar problems in other family members. In addition, it is important for the doctor to know the lifestyle and habits of the patient.

After a complete examination of the lower limbs and the disturbing area in particular, the phlebologist can refer the patient for additional examinations: ultrasound, phlebography (X-ray of the veins), phlebomanometry (measurement of blood pressure in the veins), three-computed tomographydimensional, phleboscintigraphy (assessment of venous blood flow by intravenous administration of radiolabeled albumin molecules).

In advanced stages or with complications, Dopplerography (color duplex angioscanning) is considered the most accurate method. It allows to assess the nature of blood flow, the condition of valves and deep veins, to identify reverse blood flow and the presence of blood clots.

Only an accurate diagnosis will allow the doctor to establish an optimal treatment plan.

Treatment of varicose veins

The therapy is aimed at identifying and minimizing the influence of pathogenic factors, as well as eliminating the consequences and preventing complications.

There are three therapeutic approaches for varicose veins: conservative, minimally invasive and radical surgery.

Conservative treatment of varicose veins includes:

  1. The use of ointments, gels and tablets based on phlebotonics - substances that improve the tone of the veins, the condition of their walls, blood circulation, relieve swelling and discomfort. An effective drug of this group for varicose veins is Detralex, which includes five plant components that have a beneficial effect on the condition of venous vessels. The drug is available in two forms: tablets and oral suspension.
  2. Wearing compression underwear, which creates optimal pressure in the problem areas of the legs, prevents the expansion of the veins and maintains the tone of the vascular wall.
  3. Diet therapy, depending on the specific case, can be aimed at weight loss, strengthening the walls of venous vessels, preventing edema and normalizing stool. Not only the diet itself is important, but also a certain diet, as well as the optimal amount of water intake.
  4. Physiotherapy is necessary to improve blood circulation, increase the tone of muscles and blood vessels in the legs, and eliminate venous stasis. In addition, physical activity helps to normalize weight and improves the psychological state of the patient. Sports with varicose veins require compliance with safety instructions. In particular, during training you should wear compression underwear and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and increased blood viscosity. Prolonged static loads and heavy lifting are also prohibited. After training, it is recommended to lie on your back with your legs raised to ensure the outflow of blood from the veins.

Non-invasive methods of removing varicose veins include laser therapy (exposure to laser) and radiofrequency ablation (exposure to high-frequency current). As a result, the walls of the vessel are welded together, and the vein quickly recedes.

Sclerotherapy is also performed: a sclerosant is injected into the affected vein - a special substance that causes its blockage. As a result, blood flow is redirected to the nearest healthy vessel, and the problematic vein disappears over time. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis with the mandatory wearing of compression underwear after it.

In severe cases of varicose veins, a phlebectomy is performed - an operation to partially or completely remove the damaged vessel. Such a radical approach is recommended in cases where the patient has contraindications to "welding" methods, as well as a high risk of recurrence of the disease.

After the operation, in order to prevent varicose veins in the future, it is necessary to normalize the diet, abandon bad habits, take drugs prescribed by the doctor to thin the blood and strengthen blood vessels, andto do therapeutic exercises.

Prevention of varicose veins

This includes sports activities (swimming, walking, cycling, light jogging, aerobics), adherence to an alcohol regimen, avoidance of bad habits, tight-fitting clothes, high-heeled shoes, regular warm-up duringsedentary work, when prescribed by a doctor wearing compression stockings. In addition, it is important to monitor the general state of health in order to identify and treat diseases that can cause varicose veins in time.

At the first suspicion of a problem with the vessels, you need to contact specialists for timely diagnosis and initiation of treatment.