Varicose veins in the legs: causes, main symptoms and treatment

The varicose veins in the lower extremities of the legs are diseases of the surface vessels of the large or small venous system, accompanied by their nodal dilatation, lengthening of the walls with thinning of the walls, valve insufficiency, disturbance of venous circulation, and tissue nutrition. Translated from Latin, the name "varicose vein" means "swelling". This venous disease has been known since the first written language and has accompanied humanity for centuries. The disease is prevalent in both men (67%) and women (90%). In recent years, researchers have argued that the trend of the spread of the disease is increasing. In most cases, in adulthood, a chronic form of the disease is observed.

The first symptoms of the disease can appear as early as adolescence and can worsen and develop over the years. The main danger to life is the complications that underlie varicose veins.

The main causes of leg varicose veins

The main causes of varicose veins in the legs:

  1. Constipation.
  2. Improper handling.
  3. Lack of exercise.
  4. Smoking and alcohol consumption.
  5. Tight shoes.
  6. Pregnancy.
  7. Obesity.
  8. Long standing.
  9. Congenital weakness of connective tissue.
  10. Diabetes.
  11. Diseases of the cardiovascular system and kidneys.
  12. Injury or surgery on the limbs.

The disease mainly manifests itself after 30 years. Varicose veins in the legs can also be caused by factors such as: congenital tendency, weakness of the venous walls, frequent use of hormonal drugs, allergies, immune system disorders, dermatitis or cellulitis. Genetic inheritance also plays an important role in this issue. In 70% of cases, varicose parents transmit the disease to their children.

Other causes of varicose veins in the lower extremities

Several factors contribute to the development of the disease, but the main cause of the symptoms of varicose veins in the legs is a failure of the valves of the venous system. This impairs blood flow to the limbs and increases blood vessels and veins. Blood flow is unable to circulate in the blood vessels and is directed inertly to the lower extremities. Thus, the legs flow and the work of the venous system fails, which can lead to a complicated form of the disease.

The most common cause of varicose veins in the lower extremities is prolonged standing or wearing anatomically improperly fitted shoes. Thus, there is a high load on the vascular system of the legs, which can damage the whole body, affecting the cardiovascular system, musculoskeletal system and skin.

Primary symptoms of lower limb varicose veins and photos of vein disease in the legs

The primary signs of leg varicose veins are:

  • Swelling of the legs under the lower leg, foot and ankle at the end of the day.
  • Feeling of "cracking" of the calf muscles after physical exertion or prolonged sitting.

At the onset and onset of the disease, external signs of changes in the veins and blood vessels may be absent or weakly expressed.

Symptoms of venous disease of the lower extremities (varicose veins) worsen over time in the absence of therapy. In the future, symptoms such as:

  1. Painful pain in calf muscles.
  2. Burning sensation and difficulty.
  3. Dryness and peeling of the skin, accompanied by pigmentation.
  4. Night cramps.
  5. Formation of red-blue capillary dilatations.
  6. Vein dilation and node formation.
  7. Wound formation.

The main symptoms of varicose veins in the lower extremities are protrusions along the veins and nodular swelling. There are pains and difficulties in the legs, a feeling of warmth and burning along the veins, night cramps in the legs and swelling in the evening, relieved in the morning. The disease develops slowly — over years, and sometimes decades —.

In the future, the skin gets a bluish tint and then the darkening and thickening of the skin of the legs appears. In more advanced cases, trophic ulcers occur.

In the first symptoms of varicose veins, treatment of the legs is prescribed by a phlebologist - a specialist who specializes in treating vascular disease of the lower extremities.

The symptoms of varicose veins in the form of blue-red swellings and nodules in the legs are caused not only by a disturbance in blood flow, but also by destabilizing the function of venous valves, which are unable to "pump". blood up. Because of this, there is a risk of blood clots forming, which are life-threatening.

The risk of developing the disease is posed by people with parasitic infections. It can be chlamydia, fungus, Trichomonas and the like.

Check out a photo of the main symptoms of varicose veins in the legs, which are shown below:

healthy legs and varicose veins in the legs

The lower extremities have four types of varicose veins

Traditionally, doctors divide the disease into four types, each of which differs in severity and location. Varicose veins of the lower limbs:

  • Reticular.
  • Segmental.
  • Tribe.
  • Perforating.

Reticular varicose veins are the mildest type of disease, affecting small capillaries up to 3 mm long. It is a cosmetic problem as it is easy to handle.

The segmental form of the disease affects the jugular veins. As a general rule, it is a serious form of the disease that prevents complications.

Varicose veins are a type of disease that affects the strain of small and large saphenous veins. A characteristic feature is the lack of valves, which leads to the enlargement of the parietal veins.

The perforating type of disease affects the veins connecting the superficial vessels and the deep saphenous vessels.

Degrees of lower limb varicose veins: stages of venous disease

The disease is classified according to the stages of varicose veins:

  • Compensation phase.
  • Subcompensation phase.
  • Decompensation phase.

The compensation phase is the easiest to cure. All symptoms are hidden or mild. As for the duration, it is difficult to answer clearly in this question. The latent period can last from 2 to 8 years.

The subcompensation phase is characterized by pronounced symptoms and more complex treatment. The cycle of medication consists of wearing a compression bandage, taking tablets, and using external agents (in the form of ointments, gels, and the like). However, in the absence of a satisfactory result, surgical surgery is mandatory.

The third phase of the disease is irreversible and requires immediate surgical treatment. If this stage develops, serious complications can occur that require a lot of time and effort to treat.

With the development of the disease, it is divided into several stages, which in the absence of effective treatment alternately replace each other and eventually lead to serious complications.

The first stage of development of varicose veins in the lower extremities can be considered in the body at the moment of the initial onset of the disease, when there are no external factors and manifestations, but circulatory system failure has already begun. The only sign that reveals a disorder in the body is swelling and pain in the legs.

In the second stage, small areas with vascular dilation of the capillaries can already be seen. They can be presented in single and segmental forms. The net is barely visible and thin, usually light bluish or reddish in color. It is sometimes disturbed by pain in the legs and a feeling of "cotton" limbs.

The third degree of development of varicose veins in the lower extremities is characterized by venous damage, manifested in the form of blue nodules or swellings. The swelling of the venous nodules is increased after physical exertion, prolonged standing or sitting. From then on, there is a risk of blood clots forming.

The fourth stage of varicose veins in the legs is characterized not only by venous and capillary dilation, but also by regular pain in the leg muscles, swelling and fatigue of the limbs. All of these symptoms become more pronounced and more common, especially at the end of the day.

The varicose veins at the foot of the fifth stage are characterized by the appearance of trophic changes associated with a lack of blood supply. Excessively accumulated pigment paints the affected areas of the limbs to brown and dark blue. At the same time, an inflammatory process develops in the skin, with the formation of white, slightly sunken spots.

In the sixth stage of development of varicose veins of the lower extremities, the occurrence of trophic ulcers is observed. This is the most serious form of the disease, which can be fatal.

Check out a photo of the stages of varicose veins that localize to the legs and do a detailed study:

stages of varicose veins in the legs

Complication of venous disease: deep veins in the lower extremities

A neglected form or improper treatment is the cause of complications of varicose veins on the legs. Thrombophlebitis (inflammation of the inner wall of a vein as a result of the formation of a blood clot) develops in the background of the vein. Possible separation of the blood clot from the vein wall threatens thromboembolism (blockage) of the pulmonary artery.

If the diameter of the thrombus is equal to the diameter of the trunk of the artery, sudden death can occur. If the thrombus is smaller in diameter, it travels to the branches of the pulmonary artery, causing a heart attack or pulmonary edema.

Violation of the tissue oxygen supply may result in trophic ulcers, eczema, edema, dermatitis. Another possible complication is the deep varicose veins in the lower extremities. It is characterized by overcoming the deepest circulatory systems with subsequent swelling and compaction.

Externally, this form of the disease may not be as pronounced as superficial varicose veins, but it is no less dangerous to health.

Diagnosis of varicose veins in the legs

The diagnosis of the disease is made using the following:

  • Examination of surface veins.
  • Touch.
  • Harness (functional) tests.
  • Duplex ultrasound examination of veins (ultrasound angioscanning).
  • Doppler ultrasound examination.

In the case of deep vein damage, phlebography and phleboscintigraphy are added to the above methods.

The main functional test used to diagnose the disease is the Barrow-Sheinis three-wire test. Its essence lies in the study of the performance of venous valves when Tournettes are applied to certain areas of the lower extremities.

The sample is considered positive if venous nodules have appeared above or between the ligaments during the analysis.

For the first symptoms and signs of varicose veins in the legs, treatment is prescribed by duplex ultrasound, which allows a detailed study of the image of the veins, the speed and direction of blood flow. It is a modern diagnostic method that is widely used in medicine. Thanks to him, inactive blood flow and venues with venous valve failure can be completely identified.

  • Doppler ultrasound examination- ultrasound method for studying vascular diseases based on the Doppler effect (change in the frequency of waves depending on the speed of movement of particles).
  • PhlebographyAn X-ray method for examining the vasculature, based on the introduction of an X-ray contrast agent into the area to be examined, which allows veins and capillaries to be displayed on the image.
  • Phleboscintigraphy- diagnostic method based on the use of radionuclide isotopes.

A drug used to treat varicose veins in the lower extremities

All methods for treating varicose veins in the lower extremities can be divided into two groups:

  • Conservative.
  • Surgical.

Conservative treatment of varicose veins begins with the wearing of compression stockings (stockings, stockings) and medical therapy with venotonic drugs. The effectiveness of compression treatment of varicose veins in the lower extremities has been proven since antiquity. This reduces the diameter of the veins, increases blood flow, improves the function of the venous valves and eliminates swelling.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed for varicose veins of the lower extremities (thrombophlebitis). These are ointments and gels. Anticoagulants are prescribed in later stages of the disease to dissolve and prevent blood clots. In the case of thrombophlebitis, treatment with leeches is effective.

Medical treatment of varicose veins in the lower extremities is aimed at strengthening the walls of venous blood vessels, for which purpose special drugs are used.

Ointments and gels are often used during therapy to relieve swelling and fatigue. The most suitable medicine is selected by a specialist.

Medicines for the treatment of varicose veins of the legs: medicines to prevent thrombosis of the lower extremities

Venotonic tablet formulations are used to treat varicose veins in the legs, improving blood circulation, restoring vascular tone and lymph fluid outflow.

Anti-thrombotic drugs for leg varicose veins dilute the blood, preventing clot formation. The main ingredient in this medicine is aspirin.

Anti-swelling drugs are used to treat leg varicose veins. Such drugs are used in complex therapy to relieve feelings of difficulty and fatigue.

Surgical methods for treating varicose veins in the legs

In cases where drug therapy does not help, surgical treatment is performed (removal of the affected veins or introduction of solutions that stick together on the walls of the affected vessel). Surgical methods for treating varicose veins in the legs include:

  • Phlebectomy.
  • Laser coagulation of the varicose veins.
  • Radio frequency coagulation of varicose veins.
  • Sclerotherapy.

The goal of phlebectomy is to restore blood flow and eliminate varicose veins. The surgical procedure lasts up to 2 hours, the scars are minimal (the length of one scar is 3-5 mm), the blood loss reaches 10%.

Laser coagulation of the vein helps to effectively heal the varicose veins in the legs using laser heat radiation to the vessel wall, which ultimately gives the vein the appearance of a connecting cord.

Radio frequency coagulation of varicose veins is the most modern and least traumatic treatment method. Its essence lies in the radio wave acting on the inner walls of the blood vessels, as a result of which they are compressed.

Sclerotherapy is based on the use of a special drug (sclerosant) that is injected into the affected blood vessels with thin needles. This medicine used to treat varicose veins in the leg forms a blockage that blocks blood flow. The walls of the blood vessels are glued together and varicose veins are excluded from the circulatory system. After a while, it becomes a thin bandage that is completely invisible under the skin.

How to cure varicose veins at home: ointments, tinctures and decoctions

In addition to the usual medicine, there are alternative therapies for the disease. But remember: Before you try to cure varicose veins at home, consult a specialist.

Horse chestnuts are a common method of treating varicose veins. Based on this, a tincture is prepared for both external and internal use. To make the product, peel the chestnuts and cover with a glass of vodka. Stick in a dark place for 14-15 days. After a contrasting foot bath, lubricate your lower leg to improve blood flow. Or take 30 drops three times a day after meals.

Marigold decoction activates collagen production and promotes healing. To prepare the product, cook dry flowers in a ratio of 1: 4, apply cotton wool to the affected areas.

Remember that treatment is only prescribed by a doctor. Self-diagnostic methods can lead to deterioration of the condition of blood vessels. Do not risk your health and consult a doctor.

Nutrition in varicose veins: diet for lower extremity vein disease

The purpose of varicose veins in the foot is to achieve several goals:

  • Get rid of extra pounds.
  • Removal of swellings.
  • Strengthening the walls of blood vessels.
  • Blood thinning.

In the presence of being overweight, treating the varicose vein has virtually no results. Therefore, weight loss is an integral part of therapy.

Removing swelling in the legs helps to normalize the body’s water balance. Reducing blood viscosity lowers blood pressure and improves blood circulation.

Principles of nutrition for varicose veins of the lower extremities:

  • Meals should be fragmented and frequent (up to five times a day).
  • Breakfast is a compulsory part of your diet.
  • Dinner must be at least 4 hours before bedtime.
  • Do not drink water with food while eating - this dilutes the gastric juice and impairs the absorption of trace elements.

The varicose diet of the lower limbs requires: Vitamin C (citrus fruits, tomatoes, rosehips), Vitamin E (legumes, liver, egg yolk, green onions), Vitamin P (grapefruit, walnuts, black currants), bioflavonoids (dark cherries), cherries), copper (seafood). The daily amount of fluid should be at least 1. 5 liters. Strict restrictions on the use of alcoholic beverages, coffee, pickles, smoked meats.

Seafood rejoices in a diet that promotes the production of elastin, which helps strengthen the walls of blood vessels. It has the same property in seaweed. In addition, these products contain bioflavonoids, which generally have a positive effect on the healing of venous walls.

During the diet, varicose veins on the legs pay special attention to a number of products that experts say are most effective in preventing complications. These are food products such as:

  • Blueberry.
  • Avocado.
  • Sugar beet.
  • Rosemary.
  • Ginger root.
  • Buckwheat.

Blueberries are rich in collagen, which helps strengthen blood vessels. In addition, the berries are filled with vitamin E and pectin.

Avocados contain large amounts of vitamins E and C, which are needed for venous diseases, as well as glutathione, which contributes to their absorption.

Beets contain betacyanide, which significantly reduces blood homocysteine levels, which damages the walls of blood vessels.

With regular use of rosemary, strengthening of the venous walls can be observed. In addition, the seasoning is in perfect harmony with both meat and fish.

Moderate application of ginger improves blood microcirculation and reduces vein pain. This effect on the body is explained by the ability of the product to dissolve fibrin, which is unnecessary in the case of varicose veins. This substance is not broken down in the body and as it is in excess, it contributes to the thickening of the veins.

Buckwheat is the most useful cereal. This is due to the fact that it contains many amino acids, large amounts of routine and protein. It is a dietary product that helps to normalize body weight and replenish the body with the necessary microorganisms.

Prevention of varicose veins in the legs

Physical exercises (swimming, cycling, skiing) are very effective in preventing varicose veins on the legs. If you are sedentary, take a short sports break during the day. To do this, you can do simple leg exercises. For example, while sitting in a chair, lift your socks and knees 10-15 times to improve blood flow. Or stand up and stretch several times on your toes.

For those who are on their feet during the day, exercise is just as important. The easiest and no less effective way to relieve vascular swelling and stress is to keep your feet horizontal for 7-8 minutes a day. To do this, just lie on your back and place your lower limbs on the wall or on the back of the couch. Thus, blood rushes toward the heart due to gravity.

Another recommendation for disease prevention is night rest and waking up. While sleeping, your feet should be about 20 ° above your head, in the morning try to get out of bed slowly, walk calmly during the day, do not sit with your legs crossed. A contrast shower is very useful (a gradual drop in water temperature to cold).

To prevent the formation of varicose veins on the legs, warm foot baths made from a decoction of oak bark, chestnuts, chamomile, St. John’s wort, rubbing with an alcoholic tincture of white acacia flowers, Kalanchoe leaves and apple cider vinegar are useful. . A short hydromassage course is allowed, which can be done at home.

Under no circumstances should you try cosmetic procedures such as waxing, shugaring, enzyme and quantum epilation, hair removal with tweezers. All of these methods for treating leg vegetation have a traumatic effect on the walls of blood vessels.

If you are prone to this disease, do not experiment with tattooing your legs. This will increase the development of the disease and may provoke venous infection from non-disinfected devices.