Varicose veins in the legs, symptoms and treatment

What is it? Varicose veins are a disease in which veins are affected and thinned. The main distinguishing feature is the formation of "nodes" in the vessels of the venous link.

Over time, they fill with blood clots, which pose a serious danger to humans. In some cases, varicose veins can be accompanied by inflammation of the vascular wall.

The main reasons - factors and risks

why does varicose veins occur

The causes of varicose veins have not been definitively specified and concretized by medical science. However, there are reliably known predisposing factors that can significantly increase the likelihood of developing this pathology:

  • lack of mobility;
  • smoking and drinking;
  • hyperglycemia;
  • atherosclerosis;
  • genetic background;
  • overweight.

Among the predisposing factors, inactivity, especially throughout the day, stands out as the primary cause leading to varicose veins. This factor is most significant for people with sedentary jobs - drivers, tellers, government officials and computer technicians. The list is endless, since the share of people professionally engaged in sedentary work has increased.

Alcohol and tobacco smoking lead to an increase in the diameter of the venous vessels, creating the preconditions for the development of varicose veins in the legs. The causes of the disease also lie in the human genetic background.

This factor, unlike others, is non-modifiable and patients cannot influence it. According to statistics, many people have a genetic predisposition to varicose veins.

Therefore, they need especially careful care of their bodies, paying close attention to the modifiable factors. Patients with a genetic history of varicose veins should definitely give up smoking, alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle.

Excess blood sugar, not metabolized by the liver to glycogen, can further damage veins and arteries. Patients with diabetes mellitus are at risk for varicose veins.

Cholesterol deposits on the walls of blood vessels have a similar effect. It is especially pronounced in deep veins, since superficial ones are less susceptible to atherosclerosis. The latter condition is facilitated by an irrational and unbalanced diet, with the dominance of animal fats and a lack of plant fiber.

The causes of varicose veins become especially significant when overweight, increasing the load on the heart. It leads to a slowdown in blood circulation, especially pronounced in the lower extremities. In addition, obesity is accompanied by an increase in intra-abdominal pressure, and this is the background for the development of stagnant processes in the venous vessels.

Symptoms of varicose veins in the legs

signs and symptoms of varicose veins

The first signs of varicose veins can be seen towards the end of the day - they are manifested by swelling of the legs, which is usually preceded by a period of prolonged standing or walking. As a rule, after a night's sleep, the swelling completely disappears. However, in advanced stages, it becomes persistent and persists, regardless of the time of day.

The presence of edematous syndrome, localized on the legs and ankles, can be checked independently. For this, the circumference is measured at the level of the ankle joint twice a day:

  • after waking up
  • before bedtime.

If the differences are 1 cm or more, this confirms the existing disorders of venous outflow and such people need to consult a phlebologist. In the initial stages of the disease, these symptoms quickly disappear after the person has been in a horizontal position for several hours.

The beginning progression of varicose veins is characterized by the appearance of nodes protruding above the surface of the skin. They can be either single or multiple. Most often, they are detected from the inner surface of the legs and thighs.

Prolonged standing or walking, as well as prolonged sitting, leads to new symptoms of varicose veins in the legs:

  • fullness, especially in the calves;
  • feeling of heaviness in the legs;
  • their quick fatigability;
  • acute or aching pain, most pronounced in the areas of varicose veins;
  • cramps developing in the calf muscles, especially in the evening and even during sleep.

The appearance of convulsive contractions is associated with metabolic disorders. The prerequisite for this is the developing venous stasis. Against its background, tissues experience a state of hypoxia, leading to increased muscle convulsive readiness.

Therefore, if a person has seizures, Doppler ultrasonography is definitely indicated. With its help, the state of the venous link in the body is assessed, since varicose veins in the initial stages can be asymptomatic.

Clinical symptoms of varicose veins, photo

clinical symptoms of varicose veins

The clinical symptoms of varicose veins of the legs help to suggest this diagnosis. Therefore, we summarize them:

  • pain in the legs when walking;
  • painful sensations detected by palpation of inflamed veins;
  • general aches in the lower limbs;
  • evening and night muscle cramps;
  • feeling of a feeling of heaviness and fullness in the lower extremities, especially in the ankle area;
  • visually defined convoluted veins with varicose veins - they rise above the level of the skin (this symptom is determined only with a superficial form of the disease, with deep veins it is not possible to identify this symptom);
  • swelling of the legs (with varicose veins they decrease in a horizontal position, unlike other diseases).

Treatment of varicose veins

Treatment of varicose veins in the legs should be carried out in a comprehensive manner, including non-drug methods and pharmacological correction. When indications arise, surgical intervention is performed. These are the general principles of helping patients with varicose veins.

From non-drug methods, it is recommended to wear special elastic tights, bandages or stockings for this disease. They create the necessary compression to keep the veins in good shape. Blood flows more easily to the heart, and venous congestion is eliminated. Under such conditions, the vascular wall cannot expand with subsequent formation of nodes.

Physical activity plays a significant curative and preventive role, which helps to prevent the progression of the disease:

how to treat varicose veins
  • walking at a fast pace;
  • gymnastics;
  • various activities in the water;
  • swimming.

However, not all physical exercise can be recommended for varicose veins. Patients with this diagnosis should exclude sports exercises with a heavy load on the legs:

  • weightlifting;
  • tennis;
  • jumps.

The next stage of treatment is pharmacological correction. The choice of the drug is made by the doctor. Prescribed drugs are divided into several groups:

  1. Regulators of venous tone - venotonic drugs.
  2. Drugs that help prevent dangerous blood clots.
  3. Anticoagulants, including ointments based on them.

Surgical treatment of varicose veins

In cases of ineffectiveness of drug therapy, surgical treatment is indicated. It consists in the removal of pathologically altered veins or in the introduction of solutions that allow the walls of a varicose vessel to be glued together (sclerotherapy).

Surgical treatment of the disease is characterized by high efficiency. However, you shouldn't forget about operational risk. For example, obese people have a higher rate than thin people. The duration of the operation also plays an important role in determining the operational risk - the shorter the operation, the less chance of thrombus formation. Therefore, it is very important to choose a highly qualified surgeon who removes veins quickly and skillfully.

Modern phlebology has various methods of surgery for varicose veins. The choice in favor of one or the other is determined by a specific clinical case. In this case, the doctor must take into account the following factors:

methods of treating varicose veins
  • are there any complications of the disease;
  • what concomitant diseases are;
  • what is the degree of operational risk for the patient;
  • how likely it is to relapse, and so on.

The most common techniques are:

  1. Phlebectomy- surgery for varicose legs, involving the removal of pathologically altered veins. This intervention was first performed at the dawn of the 20th century. It is quite effective and is still used today, but with some improvements. Today's surgery performs phlebectomy according to various modifications, depending on the author who made the change. This surgical intervention can be performed both on large vessels and on superficial ones with a small diameter. To remove the vein, a small incision is made in the skin and the affected vessel is removed through it through a probe.
  2. Minimally invasive techniques- imply coagulation with electric current or the use of liquid nitrogen freezing. Recently, laser therapy has been widely used. It has fewer side effects, is more effective and is technically simpler. Its main drawback is its high cost.

Folk remedies for the treatment of varicose veins

At home, folk remedies are used to relieve symptoms and treat varicose veins in the legs, they enhance the effect of pharmacological therapy prescribed by a doctor. The following tools may be recommended:

  • Nettle.The leaves of the plant are dried. After that, boil water in a volume of 500 ml and fill them. Better to do this in a thermos. The infusion time is about half an hour. Using a sieve, filter and take a third part three times a day 50 minutes before meals.
  • Apple cider vinegar.It improves the activity of the coagulation and anticoagulant systems, helps to normalize the state of blood vessels. To achieve a therapeutic effect, they are lubricated with lesions twice a day, and also taken orally at the rate of 2 teaspoons of vinegar per glass of water. You should drink 2 to 3 glasses a day.
  • Fresh potatoesis ​​ideal for accelerating the healing of trophic ulcers formed against the background of a long history of varicose veins. To do this, rub it on a grater and apply the resulting gruel to the ulcer defect with a layer 1 cm thick, covering it with a bandage on top. The exposure should be 4–5 hours. After that, the gruel is changed to a new one or the bandage is moistened in freshly obtained potato juice.
  • White acacia flowers- prepare a tincture used externally. It is especially effective for thrombophlebitis (inflammation of a thrombosed vein). The affected areas are abundantly lubricated and rubbed.
  • Hop cones.Approximate calculation - 1 tablespoon of crushed raw materials and 200 ml of boiling water. Heat on a steam bath for 15 minutes. Take 1 glass three times during the day before meals. Local therapy is also carried out - in the places where the veins are most affected, a compress is made (gauze soaked in the prepared infusion).
  • Kalanchoe leaves- prepare a tincture. To do this, take a half-liter bottle, fill it with chopped leaves up to half, fill it with vodka or 40% alcohol to the upper limit. Insist for a week indoors without direct sunlight, shaking occasionally. Then filter. Rub the tincture on the legs before bedtime, especially carefully in the affected areas. It is better to do this with massaging movements in the direction from the bottom up, that is, in the direction of the venous outflow. The duration of treatment with this remedy is 4 months (after the load, pain in the legs should noticeably decrease).
  • White cabbage.Break off one sheet and roll it well with a rolling pin. On the one hand, which will be applied to the affected area, grease it with vegetable oil. Fix with a bandage for a day. This is an excellent remedy for thrombophlebitis. The course of therapy is 1 month.
  • Celandine.Tincture from the plant should be consumed three times a day, 10 drops diluted in 1 tablespoon of milk. Take before meals.

Which doctor should I contact?

Not all people know which doctor to contact when detecting signs of varicose veins. Previously, therapists were involved in the treatment of this pathology, and when complications appeared, surgeons. However, the development of medicine contributed to the allocation of a special specialty - phlebology, which "spun off" from angiology (the science of blood vessels).

Phlebologists purposefully study only veins, not all vessels. But this does not mean that, if necessary, they will not be able to establish the correct diagnosis, excluding other diseases. These are specialists with a wide outlook, but aiming at veins.

Prevention

Prevention of varicose veins is aimed at eliminating modifiable risk factors. Therefore it is recommended:

  • increase physical activity;
  • give up smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages;
  • to reduce weight if it is overweight;
  • normalize nutrition by eliminating atherogenic foods;
  • reduce the amount of sugary foods in the diet.