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 very sad. For example, in a single country, there are around 37 million people suffering from this disease. Every sixth patient of them is a girl under 12 years of age. Such an early onset of the disease significantly increases the risk of complications that, when neglected, threaten disability and even death.
What's so terrible about varicose veins in the lower extremities? Why is it so important to stop its development in the early stages? About the methods of their 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 are lower extremity varicose veins?
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 the deep and the superficial. The structure of the veins provides 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 collects at one point. This leads to local expansion (elongation) of the vessel. The first to suffer are the deep veins (the so-called internal varicose veins), then superficial in the form of "spider veins and ganglia".
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 cause a malfunction of the functioning of the blood vessels, the 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 malformation of the valves located within 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 the blood vessels, their tone.
- During the "standing" position, the pressure within the vessels of the legs increases tenfold. With a long vertical arrangement, the valves cannot cope with the increased load, which causes a violation of their operation.
- Decreased vascular tone: can be caused by age-related changes, loss of elasticity of the wall after certain diseases.
- Pregnancy: this period is characterized by increased blood in the woman's body, as well as the hormones progesterone, estrogen. Together, these changes stimulate the development of varicose veins in the lower extremities. True, normalization of the processes is possible approximately 1 year after delivery, if varicose complications have not arisen.
Overweight, the presence of injuries, previous operations, hormonal disorders and the use of contraceptives complements the list of causes of 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 result largely depends on the accuracy and timeliness of disease diagnosis.
The signs of varicose veins of the lower extremities will help determine the disease in the early stages:
- the appearance of slight swelling of the legs;
- swelling of the superficial venous vessels, their increase in diameter;
- itchy lower extremities with varicose veins;
- feeling of overwork, heaviness;
- burning, pain caused by overstretching of the vein walls;
- leg cramps;
- noticeable blue skin along the vein, compaction (induration) of problem areas of the tissues, 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 a trophic ulcer.
In the lower extremity deep vein varicose vein variant, 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.
The diagnosis of varicose veins of the lower extremities is carried out with 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;
- color duplex examination method: the blood flow map compiled during the study allows to judge the direction and speed of blood movement through the veins. The procedure informs about the state of the blood vessels, which is important in predicting the development of varicose veins;
- phlebography: used very rarely, because it involves an X-ray examination.
During diagnosis, you can observe the status of blood vessels, valves, analyze their functionality and determine the direction of blood flow.
Generally, the first reason to visit a doctor is unsightly changes. Since the first type, they are harmless, they can become even more serious ailments and complications. Therefore, you should not neglect its 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 thin skin (especially in the fossa below the knee), the pain has not yet arisen.
- Stage 2: Segmental varicose veins of the lower extremities, accompanied by slight fatigue, feeling of heaviness in the legs, even convulsive spasms in the calf muscle, slight swelling of thethe veins;
- Stage 3: Venous vessels stand out significantly from the skin, especially within 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 appear, such as thrombophlebitis, manifestations of trophic ulcers. Varicose swollen nodules appear strongly through the thinned skin of the lower leg, feet, and thigh.
- Stage 5: You have all the symptoms of Stage 4. Also, the disease progresses to the groin area. The number of trophic ulcers is increasing rapidly, as is the frequency of thrombophlebitis attacks. 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 diseases. Treatment of varicose veins of the lower extremities can be carried out by conservative methods (drugs, minimally invasive procedures), surgery, folk remedies in combination with massage.
Deterioration of appearance appeal is not the complete list of potential issues. Complications and disability can make it worse. Modern medicine offers a wide range of non-surgical effects on problem areas, and physical therapy for varicose veins of the lower extremities is often most effective in the early stages of the disease:
- The use of creamy preparations, gels, ointments for varicose veins of the lower extremities, these drugs provide noticeable relief. They are easy to apply on the surface, they do not cause pain or discomfort.
- The use of venotonics: drugs that, in the case of varicose veins of the lower extremities, normalize the functioning of the veins.
- Laser Exposure: The Endovenous Laser Vein Obliteration (ELOV) method is widely used in the fight against varicose veins. The principle of the procedure is to stop the problem vein from working, due to the effect on it of a heat ray. 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 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 blood system, thus eliminating the risk of possible complications;
- Sclerotherapy: involves the introduction of a special drug into the diseased vein, which favors the sticking of the vessel walls and their self-elimination from the bloodstream after some time.
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 lack of convenience 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 appear progressively;
- development of thrombophlebitis;
- discomfort associated with excessive fatigue, swelling of the legs.
The principle of surgical intervention is based, as conservative techniques, on the removal of the problematic vein from the circulatory system. Only in minimally invasive methods are the vessels glued, and during the operation 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 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 a long hospital stay.
- Miniphlebectomy: It differs from classic phlebectomy in the size of the hole in the skin. In this case, it is about minimal punctures that minimize the rehabilitation period, they do not leave visible marks on the body.
- Short kill- Requires an accurate determination of the location of the problem area. Only the affected segment is removed. No traces remain after the procedure.
- Vein dissectionunder the control of a high-optical endocopy. It is injected directly into the diseased vein, the operation is performed through a monitor. The experience and qualifications of a surgeon increase the chances of a successful operation.
Surgery will solve the problem of sore veins, reduce the risk of developing the disease, and help relieve 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 home remedies
Home remedies occupy a separate place in the treatment of varicose veins of the lower extremities. It is not necessary to affirm its great importance, but there is nothing that belittles its dignity either. Cooked decoctions, infusions and 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 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 in 0. 5 liters of vodka. When ready, the product is rubbed into the skin.
Useful compresses for varicose veins of the lower extremities of yogurt with garlic or wrap with fresh cabbage leaves.
You shouldn't expect super fast results. The funds are suitable for prophylactic purposes and for the treatment of primary varicose veins of the lower extremities together with the medication prescribed by the doctor individually. Do not use any treatment without consulting your doctor.
Massage and gymnastics for varicose veins of the lower extremities
Humanity has long known the healing qualities of massage. Massaging the lower extremities with varicose veins also has a beneficial effect. Improves blood and lymphatic flow, normalizes venous pressure and initiates metabolic processes within tissues.
The massage technique is peculiar. It is forbidden to touch the area of the affected vein in all possible ways, only around it. Light pinching, wide grip, and stroking are the main techniques of the procedure. It is recommended to combine the massage with a series of exercises.
Gymnastics for varicose veins of the lower limbs involves the implementation of a wide range of actions:
- Warm-up: two to three minutes you need to lie down with your legs up. They must rest on a wall or another height, this position guarantees their complete relaxation.
- Exercise "Bicycle": the movements are identical to those of the bicycle. Only the position of the body "lying on the back".
- "Scissors" exercise: the raised limbs are crossed for at least one minute.
- Exercise for the calf muscles: In the "supine" position, bend one leg so that the knee reaches the chest. Move in the opposite direction, while massaging the problem muscle. Repeat the procedure four times for each leg.
- Stand up. For three to five minutes, stand up on your toes and lower yourself back 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 taking the following measures to prevent the disease:
- Move more: this reduces the risk of blood and lymphatic congestion.
- Exercise regularly against varicose veins.
- Shoes must be comfortable, the heel must not exceed four centimeters.
- Prolonged exposure to the sun does not work well on the walls of blood vessels, limit the time of hot baths.
- Give preference to a contrast shower, increases blood circulation.
- Focus on fresh vegetables, fruits, and 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 liquid a day.
- Elimination of fatigue, improper sitting, or awkward position while resting is the best prevention of lower extremity varicose veins.
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. The beauty, the absence of pain and the heaviness in the legs can be preserved following the simple recommendations of the specialists. If you have the slightest suspicion of disease, go to the phlebologist. Remember, varicose veins cannot be completely cured, but they can be prevented, to minimize the risk of their further development. Be healthy!