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

Varicose veins in the legs

Varicose veins in the legs are one of the most common diseases in the world, occurring in one in five people, according to the World Health Organization. Lesions in the venous vessels of the lower extremities are associated with venous valve dysfunction, venous dilation, and vessel wall thinning. This results in a backflow of blood and its stagnation in the blood vessels. Patients have dyskinesia, a pain syndrome, and decreased work ability and quality of life.

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

Without prompt treatment, shed blood clots can lead to dangerous complications, disability, disability, and even death.

causes of varicose veins

Blood in the veins twitches toward the heart. The muscles of the lower extremities and the valves in the veins that prevent blood flow in the opposite direction are responsible for this. When the valve fails, blood flows in the opposite direction, the pressure in the vein increases, and it expands. As a result, the walls of the veins become thinner, blood spreads through it to surrounding tissues, and swelling and pain in the lower extremities occur.

Predisposing factors for varicose veins include:

  • hereditary;
  • Excessive load on the lower extremities due to excess body weight, strenuous physical activity, weight bearing;
  • a sedentary lifestyle;
  • Pulling or pinching a vein in the lower extremity (tight clothing, bandages, sports equipment: dilators, elastic bandages);
  • Working long and regularly in a sitting or standing position without changing body position and taking regular breaks;
  • often wear shoes with high heels;
  • pregnancy and menopause;
  • Chronic diseases (constipation, diabetes, kidney and cardiovascular disease).

In men, the main factors in the development of varicose veins are genetics, unbalanced physical activity and poor lifestyle habits, while in women varicose veins are more related to hormonal changes in pregnancy and menopause, and wearing uncomfortable shoes.

Symptoms of varicose veins

The first signs of the disease may not be felt on the body, but only externally in the form of dark blue and purple blood vessels that are translucent through the skin, spider veins and spider veins that swell in the form of veins above the skin's surfacestranded wire.

Signs of the next stage of varicose veins are discomfort and pain, throbbing, burning, or cramping in the legs, a feeling of heaviness and swelling in the lower extremities, and itchy blood vessels in the affected area.

Complications of varicose veins

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

  • Nutritional eczema or skin ulcers in the affected venous area, preceded by whitening of the skin;
  • Deep vein thrombosis caused by smaller superficial vein thrombosis;
  • Pulmonary embolism due to a blood clot entering the blood from a vein in the lower extremity;
  • Varicose veins rupture with heavy bleeding that is difficult to stop.

Diagnosis of varicose veins

Phlebologists deal with vein problems, however, other specialists are also involved in accurate diagnosis: vascular surgeons, dermatologists, nutritionists, endocrinologists, and, if surgery is required, a vascular surgeon.

At the initial consultation, the phlebologist will identify symptoms, timing of onset, and frequency of recurrence, and ask other family members if they have similar problems. In addition, it is important that the doctor understands the patient's lifestyle and habits.

After a thorough examination of the lower extremities and especially disturbing areas, the phlebologist can refer the patient for other tests: ultrasound, venography (intravenous X-ray), venous manometry (measurement of blood pressure in the veins), three tests. Three-dimensional computed tomography, venous scintigraphy (assessment of venous blood flow by intravenous injection of radioisotope-labeled albumin molecules).

Doppler angiography (color duplex vascular scan) is considered the most accurate method in advanced stages or when complications arise. It allows you to assess the nature of blood flow, the condition of valves and deep veins to identify reverse blood flow and the presence of thrombi.

Only an accurate diagnosis allows doctors to develop the best treatment plan.

Treat varicose veins

The goal of treatment is to identify and minimize the effects of causative factors, as well as eliminate consequences and prevent complications.

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

Conservative treatment of varicose veins includes:

  1. Use IV-based ointments, gels, and tablets - substances that improve vein tone, vessel wall condition, blood circulation, and relieve swelling and discomfort. An effective remedy for this group of varicose veins is Detralex, which includes five botanicals that are beneficial for venous vascular conditions. This medicine comes in two forms: tablet and oral suspension.
  2. Wearing compression bras creates optimal pressure on problem areas of the legs, prevents veins from dilating and maintains tension in the vessel walls.
  3. Dietary therapy, depending on the situation, can target weight loss, strengthen the walls of veins, prevent edema and normalize stools. Not only the diet itself is important, but also certain eating habits, as well as optimal water intake.
  4. Physical therapy is necessary to improve blood circulation, increase the tone of leg muscles and blood vessels, and eliminate venous stasis. In addition, physical activity helps to normalize body weight and improve the patient's psychological state. Varicose veins exercise requires adherence to safety precautions. Especially when training, you need to wear tights and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and increase blood viscosity. Prolonged static loads and heavy lifting are also prohibited. After training, it is recommended to lie on your back with your legs up to ensure blood is flowing out of your veins.

Non-invasive methods of removing varicose veins include laser therapy (laser irradiation) and radiofrequency ablation (high-frequency current irradiation). As a result, the vessel wall is welded and the vein quickly regresses.

Sclerotherapy is also performed: sclerotherapy is injected into the affected vein - a special substance that causes it to become blocked. As a result, blood flow is redirected to the nearest healthy vessel, and the problem vein disappears over time. The procedure is performed in an outpatient setting, after which compression underwear must be worn.

In severe cases of varicose veins, a phlebectomy - an operation to partially or completely remove the damaged blood vessels. This aggressive approach is recommended in cases where the patient has contraindications to the "welding" method and a high risk of disease recurrence.

After surgery, in order to prevent varicose veins in the future, it is necessary to eat a normal diet, change bad habits, take blood-thinning and strong vascular drugs prescribed by the doctor, and do therapeutic exercise.

prevent varicose veins

It includes physical activity (swimming, walking, cycling, jogging, aerobics), sticking to alcohol, avoiding bad habits, wearing tight clothing, wearing high heels, regular warm-ups during sedentary work, and wearing compression stockings. In addition, it is important to monitor general health for timely detection and treatment of conditions that can cause varicose veins.

The first time you suspect a blood vessel problem, you should contact a specialist for a diagnosis and start treatment promptly.