Anatomically, the lower extremities have a high load, so with the failure of the venous valve, the outflow of venous blood becomes more difficult and varicose veins form in the legs.
Varicose veins of the legs are called chronic vascular pathology, as a result of which the deformity (lengthening, dilation) of the blood vessels and the insufficiency of the intravascular valves develop.
The disease, which is known to everyone with the appearance of swollen, enlarged nodules under the skin, develops gradually.
First the small blood vessels suffer, then as the stagnation worsens, the large venous blood vessels lengthen and the resulting nodes extend above the surface of the skin.
Symptoms of varicose veins in the lower extremities
The way varicose occurs depends on the severity of the pathological extent. In the early stages of the disease, the symptoms cause less discomfort, and with the advanced form of the disease, the ugly venous nodes are clearly visible and difficult to walk. The earlier treatment is started, the more favorable the prognosis.
The insidiousness of the disease is that the first signs of varicose veins are almost invisible. The person may be disturbed by:
- feeling of heaviness in calves;
- swelling of the lower extremities, which occurs in the evening.
A close examination reveals "spider veins" under the skin - a network of small dilated blood vessels.
Early onset of pathology can almost always be successfully treated. Unfortunately, most people ignore the signs of varicose veins and instead of seeing a doctor, self-heal by using ointments from foot severity or folk remedies.
Stages of the disease
Depending on the degree of varicose veins, there are 4 stages of varicose veins in the lower extremities:
- I - varicose veins of the legs only affect the veins, the large blood vessels are almost unchanged. Fatigue of the legs, heaviness of the calves and evening swelling appear quickly. The blue-violet "stars, " sometimes translucent under the skin, do not rise above the surface of the epidermis;
- II - the venous network becomes larger, swollen blood vessels appear, and the first nodules rise above the surface of the skin. The pain following a long walk increases the difficulty and fatigue. At night, cramps may appear in the calf muscles;
- III - the varicose veins of the lower limbs are given a pronounced character: plexuses of elongated and dilated blood vessels appear, areas of pigmentation are visible on the skin, the swelling remains almost constant. A person is unable to walk for long due to pain and fatigue, complaining of night cramps;
- IV - stagnation of blood with varicose veins leads to disruption of tissue feeding. The legs are cold and swollen, poor wound healing and trophic ulcers form. The skin is dry and flaky. The pain is constant.
Most patients seek help when the lower extremity varicose veins II. Advanced forms of the disease are rare during initial diagnosis.
What does the photo look like?
The sick person does not always know what the varicose veins look like, and often inattention to their condition leads to the development of advanced forms of the disease.
In the first photo, the lower extremities are varicose veins, the symptoms are mild, the treatment allows the normal functioning of the veins to be restored.
Thin meshes, which only cause cosmetic discomfort, indicate that the function of the venous valves is impaired, and a slight stagnation of the blood causes abnormal expansion of the small blood vessels.
The second photo shows the characteristic plexus of the veins in the legs that appear in stage 3 of varicose veins.
With such changes, the legs ache almost constantly, swelling and cramps worry at night.
Feeling of tiredness in the legs and occasionally edema occurs in various diseases. But if, in addition to the symptoms that occur, the changes seen in the first picture are seen on the legs, this should justify a visit to the phlebologist.
Reasons for appearance
Considering what varicose veins are in the legs, the condition can be described as the development of venous valve insufficiency. In this case, reverse blood flow occurs to the lower parts of the vein, causing abnormal dilation of the vessel. The causes of varicose veins are similar in men and women:
- bad habits (nicotine and alcohol disrupt the work of blood vessels);
- work on standing for a long time;
- high power load on the lower extremities (weight lifting, weight lifting work);
- tight shoes;
- foot surgery.
Some of the factors that cause the appearance of varicose veins in the legs are related to gender.
It returns to the legs in men
Varicose veins are less common in men than in women with pathological varicose veins in the legs. In men, the causes of varicose veins are related to dietary and lifestyle habits:
- Bad habits.
- Some hobbies. The disease occurs in lovers of hunting and fishing.
- Hereditary tendency.
- Heavy physical activity.
- Poor nutrition. Men tend to abuse fatty, heavy foods.
Men are less likely to pay attention to cosmetic defects in the legs and ignore the first signs of the disease, which are associated with increased fatigue and the appearance of the vascular system, and this leads to the progression of the symptoms of the disease.
The danger of male varicose veins in the legs is that when the track is running, the urogenital system suffers: the veins in the scrotum dilate, the blood circulation in the testicles suffers. The resulting discrepancies negatively affect the reproductive sphere and can cause erectile dysfunction.
In addition to general factors, varicose veins in women can be caused by physiological processes in the legs involving changes in hormonal balance. Decreased progesterone levels and increased estrogen synthesis disrupt vascular regulation.
These provoke the development of pathologies:
- complicated work;
- age of change;
- inflammatory processes in the reproductive organs;
- taking hormonal contraceptives.
One common external factor that provokes the appearance of varicose veins in women is wearing high heels. The uneven distribution of the load on the legs and the overload of the calf muscles disrupt the work of the veins.
In the International Classification of Diseases of the Tenth View (ICD-10), the lower limb varicose vein code is I 83. 9. If this number is included in the diagnosis, it indicates that varicose veins are progressing without complications.
Varicose veins in the legs are accompanied by symptoms depending on the degree of circulatory disorders that occur, and treatment is selected based on the severity of the disease. The patient is examined before selecting therapy.
How is the diagnosis made?
The primary diagnosis of varicose veins in the lower extremities is made by an external examination. The phlebologist examines the patient's foot, determines the nature of the venous deformity and associated changes (skin pigmentation, swelling). During the examination, the doctor finds out what symptoms occur in varicose veins of the legs and collects a medical history to clarify the possible cause.
The survey shows:
- whether relatives suffer from a similar illness;
- lifestyle characteristics (nutrition, physical inactivity, bad habits);
- the nature of the work (regardless of whether it involves a permanent job or weight lifting);
Women are asked about the course of pregnancy and childbirth, about contraceptives.
An initial survey and examination will allow you to determine the possible cause of varicose veins in your legs. The classification of varicose veins of the lower extremities according to stages occurs only after further research methods:
- Duplex angioscope. It was performed on an ultrasound. It determines the nature of blood flow and the presence of venous dilation. Scanning accuracy allows discrepancies of up to 1 mm to be detected.
- CT and MRI. Contrast medium is injected before scanning. The method makes it possible to obtain a three-dimensional projection of the veins of the legs and to identify them at an early stage of the disorder.
In addition, urine and blood tests and ECGs are performed for diagnosis. If necessary, consult tight professionals.
When is it necessary to treat varicose veins?
The fight against the disease should be started at an early stage, when the legs swell and the first spider veins appear.
What to do with varicose veins - determines the phlebologist. Recommendations depend on the stage of development of the disease and the specific characteristics of the patient's body.
Treatment of varicose veins is required in all cases and at any stage of the disease. Lack of proper treatment exacerbates the course of the pathology and leads to the appearance of serious complications.
Be sure to see a professional! Self-healing is not the best way to treat varicose veins.
Is it possible to get rid of the disease?
People looking for a way to remove varicose veins on their feet often fall victim to advertisements that cure the pathology with the help of pills and ointments. But using expensive tools only brings temporary relief.
It is impossible to get rid of varicose veins completely. With the help of treatment and preventive measures, it is possible to increase venous tone and improve blood circulation in the legs. One must learn to live with the disease.
How can it be cured?
- Treatment of leg varicose veins depends on the severity of the disease:
- Easy gear. Diet, rejection of bad habits and external use of anti-varicose ointments will help. Venotonics may be prescribed to strengthen blood vessels.
- Average. You can see taking medications, using ointments, and wearing compression underwear. In case of marked changes in the venous valve, minimally invasive intervention (sclerotherapy, laser exposure) is performed, or the abnormally altered vein is surgically removed.
- Hard. Violation of venous circulation leads to the development of trophic disorders and the development of ulcers that are difficult to heal. Removal of the varicose vein redistributes blood flow in the smaller blood vessels and improves tissue nutrition. In addition to surgery, conservative therapy is used.
It may seem to the patient that surgery is a way to get rid of the varicose vein permanently, but it is a mistake. Only severely altered vessels are removed, leaving slightly or moderately altered veins that retain valve function. Only regular supportive treatment and elimination of provocative factors will improve the condition of the legs and stop the progression of the pathology.
What to do with medication?
When making recommendations for the treatment of varicose veins, doctors pay attention to non-pharmacological methods of treating the disease:
- Knitting with elastic bandage or wearing compression underwear.
- Physiotherapy. Moderate exercise strengthens the leg muscles and stimulates blood flow to the blood vessels.
- Diet. Foods that cause blood to thicken (animal fats, smoked meats, pickles and spices) should be rejected.
- Massage. Improves venous blood flow and increases vascular tone.
Depending on the size of the blood vessels in the legs, the patient may be advised to use therapeutic baths, mud packs or hirudotherapy.
If there is obesity, a person should lose weight.
The use of alternative medicine in varicose veins has a good effect. But before treating with folk prescriptions, you need to consult a doctor - some forms of the disease may be contraindicated.
There is no universal method to cure varicose veins in the legs. Therapy is selected taking into account the nature of the pathological lesions. Therapeutic measures can improve the blood supply to the lower extremities and eliminate congestion.
Your doctor’s advice on preventing varicose veins will be just as helpful for people who have already had this disease and for those at risk (hereditary predisposition, obesity). Prevention of varicose veins includes:
- Comfortable shoes. You can’t wear high heels all the time, but flat-soled shoes are no less harmful. For permanent wear, choose low (3-5 cm) comfortable heels and shoes that do not pinch your feet.
- Correct work. If it is impossible to change the work activity, you cannot sit or stand in one position for long. You need to take a break and turn your legs slightly, or walk, making "rolls" from heel to heel. If childbirth involves intense strain on the lower extremities, 15 to 15 minutes of rest should be taken regularly, sitting or lying down, with legs slightly raised.
- Useful gymnastics. Exercises on the legs that improve blood circulation prevent the development of varicose veins.
- Rejection of bad habits.
- Health monitoring. It is necessary to treat in a timely manner the diseases that provoke the development of varicose veins (functional disorders of the heart and kidneys, hormonal disorders).
- Weight loss.
Simple recommendations reduce the risk of venous valve rupture. Preventive measures to reduce or prevent the severity of the disease should be a good habit and should be taken daily.
Can the development of this disease be prevented?
It is impossible to predict the body’s 100% response to external and internal factors.
Even regular prevention, proper nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, and giving up bad habits do not always make it possible to avoid the development of varicose veins.
The disease cannot be completely prevented, but the risk of pathology can be reduced by following preventive recommendations.
People who lead a healthy lifestyle suffer less from varicose veins and venous insufficiency.
Will they take the army with this disease?
Whether he is taken to the army by varicose veins depends on the characteristics of the pathological process. A guy is good for military service, or the burden on the army causes irreparable damage to health - in each case, the medical committee decides individually.
Depending on the characteristics of the disease, conscripts are divided into one group:
- B. The development of varicose veins is not accompanied by insufficient function of the veins and the guy is of limited ability, allowed not to serve in all types of teams;
- B. The second stage of the disease with moderate damage to the blood circulation in the blood vessels of the legs. The conscript is exempt from military service but may be mobilized in time of war;
- D. The third and more severe stage is when trophic abnormalities develop. The guy is unfit for service and will be removed from the military record.
Before submitting the order to the Military Registration and Enrollment Office, you must have an examination (angiography, MRI) at the clinic and obtain a document indicating the degree of venous disturbance and the stage of varicose veins. This will allow the committee to address the issue of suitability for military service more accurately.
Why is varicose veins dangerous?
People don’t always take the treatment of varicose veins seriously, some see spider and varicose veins as a local fault. However, the lack of antiviral therapy causes serious complications:
- Phlebitis. The inner surface of the vessel wall is inflamed, pain and hyperemia appear on the skin. The combination of the pathological process and the dilation of the vein site leads to a thinning of the wall. Cracking of the vessel can occur with minor damage (sharp pressure, slight bruising). This leads to the appearance of internal hematomas.
- Venous thrombosis of the legs. At the site of dilation, the uniformity of blood flow is disturbed and platelets accumulate on the walls. The resulting blood clot impedes blood flow and aggravates tissue starvation. Considering the risk of complicated varicose veins with the development of thrombosis, it is worth mentioning the separation of the thrombus. Once in the blood clot, the blood clot can completely block the lumen of the artery and cause life-threatening conditions such as pulmonary embolism, stroke, or heart attack.
- Venous insufficiency. Violation of the outflow of blood from the lower extremities is associated with the development of edema.
- Trophic disorders. A decrease in the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the peripheral parts of the limbs leads to the appearance of poorly healing trophic ulcers.
Varicose veins complicated by thrombosis or severe venous insufficiency can lead to necrosis of the foot and lower leg tissue. With pronounced necrotic processes, gangrene begins, and only amputation of the affected part of the foot can save a person’s life.
Leg varicose veins are not cosmetic defects but severe vascular disorders caused by venous valve failure.
A 3-4 degree varicose vein can cause serious complications that can lead to disability or death.
Don’t ignore the first "spider blood vessels" and the feeling of heaviness in your legs. This is the first sign of the development of varicose veins, which requires consultation with a phlebologist.
Early initiation of treatment and preventive measures preserves the ability to work.