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

varicose veins of the legs

Varicose veins of the legs is one of the most common diseases in the world and according to the WHO occurs in every fifth person. The pathology of the venous vessels of the lower extremities is associated with malfunction of the intravenous valves, dilation of the veins and thinning of their walls. This leads to backflow of blood and its stagnation in the vessels. The patient's movements are difficult, there is a pain syndrome, reduced efficiency and quality of life.

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

In the absence of timely therapy, the separated blood clot can lead to dangerous complications, disability, disability and even death.

Causes of varicose veins

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

Predisposing factors for varicose veins include:

  • heredity;
  • excessive strain on the lower limbs due to overweight, intense exercise, carrying weights;
  • sedentary way of life;
  • pulling or pinching the veins of the lower extremities (tight clothing, bandages, sports equipment: dilators, elastic bandages);
  • prolonged and regular work in a sitting or standing position without changing the position of the body and regular rest;
  • constant wearing of shoes with heels;
  • 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 uncomfortable shoes.

Symptoms of varicose veins

The first signs of the disease may not be felt physically, but appear only externally in the form of vessels with dark blue and purple colors, transparent through the skin, spider veins and spider veins, protrusion of veins above the skin surface in the form of twisted cords.

Signs of the next stage of varicose veins are manifested in the form of discomfort and pain, there are pulsations, burning or cramps in the legs, there is a feeling of heaviness and swelling of the lower extremities, itching in the affected area. court.

Complications of varicose veins

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

  • trophic eczema or skin ulcer in the area of the affected vein, which is 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 have entered the bloodstream from the veins of the lower extremities;
  • rupture of varicose veins, which is accompanied by heavy bleeding, which is difficult to stop.

Diagnosis of varicose veins

Vein problems are treated by phlebologists, but other specialists are involved in making an accurate diagnosis: an angiologist, dermatologist, nutritionist, endocrinologist and, if surgery is needed, a vascular surgeon.

At the initial consultation, the phlebologist clarifies the symptoms, when they appeared and how often they recur, and also asks about the presence of similar problems in other family members. It is also important for the doctor to know about the patient's lifestyle and habits.

After a complete examination of the lower extremities and in particular the embarrassing area, 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-dimensional computed tomography, phleboscopyassessment of venous blood flow by intravenous administration of radiolabelled albumin molecules).

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

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

Treatment of varicose veins

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

There are three approaches to treating 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 from this group for varicose veins is Detralex, which includes five herbal 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 varicose veins and maintains the tone of the vascular wall.
  3. Dietary therapy, depending on the case, can be aimed at weight loss, strengthening the walls of venous vessels, preventing edema and normalizing stool. It is important not only the diet itself, but also a certain diet and optimal amount of water consumption.
  4. Physiotherapy is needed to improve blood circulation, increase the tone of the muscles and blood vessels of the legs and eliminate venous congestion. In addition, physical activity helps to normalize weight and improves the psychological state of the patient. Sports with varicose veins require safety precautions. In particular, you should wear compression underwear and drink plenty of water during exercise to prevent dehydration and increased blood viscosity. Prolonged static loads and lifting weights are also prohibited. After a workout, it is recommended that you lie on your back with your legs raised to allow blood to drain from your veins.

Non-invasive methods to remove varicose veins include laser treatment (laser exposure) and radiofrequency ablation (exposure to high frequency current). As a result, the walls of the vessel are welded and the vein soon dissolves.

Sclerotherapy is also performed: 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 problem vein disappears over time. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis with mandatory wearing of compression underwear after it.

In severe cases of varicose veins, 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 the methods of "soldering", as well as at high risk of recurrence of the disease.

After surgery, to prevent varicose veins in the future, it is necessary to normalize the diet, to give up bad habits, to take medication prescribed by a doctor to thin the blood and strengthen blood vessels, and to do therapeutic exercises.

Prevention of varicose veins

Includes sports activities (swimming, walking, cycling, light jogging, aerobics), adherence to a drinking regime, avoiding bad habits, tight clothing, high-heeled shoes, regular warm-up during sedentary work, when prescribed by doctors wearing compressionsocks. In addition, it is important to monitor general health in order to identify and treat in time diseases that can provoke varicose veins.

At the first suspicion of a vascular problem, you should contact specialists for diagnosis and timely initiation of treatment.