Varicose veins in the legs are a condition in which the varicose veins lose their elasticity and interfere with blood circulation. Pathological changes can cause swollen feet, calf pain, and other dangerous symptoms. Why this disease is more common in women than men, whether it is possible to get rid of varicose veins with the help of drugs and a doctor who seeks treatment - in the material of RIA Novosti.
Varicose veins in the legs
Varicose veins of the lower extremities are a condition characterized by persistent dilation of the great saphenous veins of the legs, which can lead to the development of chronic venous insufficiency.
"There are three types of veins in the legs: superficial, closer to the skin, deep, located in the muscle, and perforated, connecting the superficial and deep. The latter flows into the vena cava, which in turn flows directly into the heart. Varicose veins, which usually occurIn the superficial veins of the lower extremities, " explains the highest-ranking cardiovascular surgeon, phlebologist, medical candidate.
When a person is upright, blood in the veins of the legs must overcome gravity to flow back to the heart. As a result, the leg muscles contract the deep veins that contain the valves, allowing blood to flow in the correct direction. When the leg muscles contract, the valves in the veins open, and when the muscles relax, they close. This prevents blood from flowing down the leg in the opposite direction. The process of delivering blood to the heart is called a venous pump. During walking, the muscles and pumps of the legs are actively working, but if a person is sitting or standing, especially for a long time, the blood in the veins of the legs can stagnate and the pressure in them can increase.
"Deep veins and perforating veins are usually able to withstand a short-term increase in pressure. However, if there is a tendency to develop disease, the veins will gradually dilate. This then causes the vessel wall to weaken and damage the valve.
The first manifestation of varicose veins is spider veins in the legs, which then form a network of blood vessels under the skin. This can cause leg pain. If treatment is not started at this time, the superficial veins continue to dilate and become tortuous, and at the same time, the venous outflow of the lower extremities is affected, leading to worsening of the nutrition of the legs, edema, skin thickening and other pathological symptoms, " the expert added.
In the initial stages of varicose veins, there are no symptoms of the disease. But if you have raised veins, you should consult a specialist. Timely treatment can help to avoid complications such as thrombophlebitis and nutritional ulcers.
The first signs of varicose veins include:
- A feeling of heaviness, heat and fullness in the legs;
- Edema in the lower legs and feet;
- Increased lower extremity fatigue;
- Calf pain or throbbing;
- nocturnal convulsions;
- Spider veins appear on the skin.
Dilated prominent veins indicate a severe course of the disease. Skin malnutrition can lead to atrophy of white skin.
Discoloration of the skin on the lower legs, itchy nodules and blisters are symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency.
The main cause of pathology is heredity. If someone in the family or close relatives is faced with varicose veins or congenital weak connective tissue, the risk of developing the disease is increased.
In addition to genetic factors, the main reasons for the development of lower extremity varicose veins include:
- long static load;
- standing or sitting for long periods of time;
- frequent leg injuries;
- hormone imbalance,
- long-term use of estrogen-containing drugs;
- Age-related vascular changes.
"Due to the anatomical and functional characteristics of the body, women are more prone to varicose veins. Another reason is pregnancy, with pressure on the inferior vena cava in the second half of the year. The presence of the disease may be accompanied by symptoms such as discomfort and heaviness in the legs, throbbing, Subjective symptoms such as swelling, cramping, itching, tingling, and heat, " adds the therapist, senior medical advisor. .
There are several stages of varicose veins in the legs, which vary in form and symptoms. These include: initial, second and third.
The initial characteristic is the appearance of spider veins on the skin. Additionally, patients may experience discomfort, swelling, and heaviness in their legs. In this case, there is no apparent venous insufficiency.
The second stage usually lasts for many years. Its main symptoms: nighttime calf cramps, persistent swelling, swollen veins, discoloration of the skin on the calf.
The third stage is characterized by impaired venous outflow. The swelling of the feet and legs did not subside, the skin itchy, and the saphenous veins were prominent. In addition, at this stage, violations of the nutritional processes of the tissues occur: hyperpigmentation, trophic ulcers, etc.
Complications can occur at any stage, but most often occur in the last two stages.
Ignoring symptoms or improper treatment of the disease can lead to complications. They can manifest not only as cosmetic defects, but also in the following severe forms: vegetative eczema (which later turns into ulcers), thrombophlebitis, and other vein injuries.
Nutritional ulcers - the inevitable consequence of varicose veins without treatment. Enlarged veins from varicose veins not only lead to an increase in the amount of harmful substances in the affected area, but also an increase in foot edema. Nutritive ulcers exist for a long time, close slowly, and are highly resistant to treatment.
Thrombophlebitis is a pathology of the circulatory system characterized by inflammation of the walls of superficial veins and the formation of thrombi that close the lumen of the vessel. The main symptoms of this disease are redness, swelling, and pain along the area of thrombus formation, and an increase in body temperature can also be observed.
The risk of the disease increases with the presence of variceal bleeding. If the walls of the blood vessels dilate for a long time, the skin in the affected area can become thinner, and any small damage can cause bleeding.
"Usually, the diagnosis is not difficult. Varicose veins appear as "masses" and/or "knots" in the lower extremities. The instrumental diagnosis of varicose veins in the legs is Doppler ultrasonography of the veins. This method allows you to obtain information about the venous bedinformation on the anatomy and hemodynamics, while visualizing the vessel under study, will determine the direction of blood flow and its parameters. In addition to ultrasound, a method is used, such as venography with contrast agents. It allowsYou To visualize deep and superficial veins, it is only used when planning surgical treatment. Treatment begins at the first sign of disease. Its main goals are to restore/improve blood flow, prevent complications and improve the patient's quality of life, "experts explain Ekaterina Yesakova.
Treatment of varicose veins is aimed at eliminating manifestations of venous insufficiency, preventing progression, and preventing recurrence and complications of the disease.
Modern treatments for varicose veins in the legs can be divided into two main categories: conservative treatment of varicose veins and surgical treatment of dilated veins.
Scientists have developed a number of surgical techniques designed to treat varicose veins:
Combined phlebectomy. Combined phlebectomy is a procedure during which the surgeon removes the varicose veins of the great saphenous vein through small incisions in the groin and medial malleolus. This procedure includes several types of interventions: according to Narat, Klapp, cross resection, dissection, and vein removal. In most cases, combined phlebotomy is performed under general anesthesia, and the patient must be hospitalized for a few days. The postoperative recovery time is long and the cosmetic effect is poor.
Conservative therapy aims to relieve pathological symptoms but does not lead to recovery.
Venous surgeons have identified two important aspects of preventing and treating varicose veins:
- Compression therapy.The prevention or treatment of varicose veins necessarily includes compression therapy. Special knitwear creates a certain pressure on different parts of the legs, which helps the normal flow of blood in the veins. It exerts maximum pressure in the ankle area and lowers at the level of the calf or thigh, depending on whether it is stockings, stockings or tights. It turns out that the higher the leg area, the lower the compression. These medical products are used to prevent and treat varicose veins and other diseases of the venous system of the legs. Compression socks are shown to those who work in front of a computer and rarely move. Such products should be used during vigorous exercise, sports, during pregnancy and during long journeys. If one of the relatives is concerned about vein problems, it is also worth wearing a knitted sweater for prevention.
- medical treatment.It consists of taking venotonics, the main active ingredient of which is diosmin. In addition, doctors may prescribe heparin-containing ointments and creams.
After a complex treatment, the patient got rid of the unpleasant symptoms caused by varicose veins: swelling, heaviness, fatigue and pain in the legs. With successful treatment, the risk of life-threatening complications is minimized. The aesthetic problem is solved, and the patient is no longer bothered by the protruding veins in the legs.
It should be remembered that none of the treatments for varicose veins can completely guarantee the elimination of the lesion.
In addition to the drug treatment of varicose veins, nutrition also plays a very important role. In people with varicose veins and those who are predisposed to this condition, it is important to monitor your weight. If you are overweight, your risk increases severalfold. But even with a normal body mass index, it is important to follow nutritional recommendations to counteract inflammatory processes in the gut, because human health and, accordingly, quality of life depend on the state of the gastrointestinal tract.
"In order to maintain optimal weight, it is important to observe the calorie content of the daily diet and control the protein, fat and carbohydrate (BJU) content. A dietitian or dietitian can help with the correct calculation, as the diet is chosen for each individual individual, Take into account weight, height, age, physical activity, and comorbidities, " explains the dietitian.
Additionally, experts recommend monitoring blood viscosity and observing drinking regimens. Alcoholic beverages, sweets, pastries, and pasta products should be excluded.
The diet should contain adequate amounts of protein, sources of collagen: bone broth, aspic, offal. Foods rich in polyphenols play an important role in varicose veins, and polyphenols are found in plant foods: vegetables, fruits, spices, herbs, teas.
"You need to eat foods rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids, which are antioxidants and support immunity (vitamin C also helps with collagen production), vitamin E, B vitamins, copper. These foods include: lean fishAnd lean meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, liver.
Also, foods should be rich in fiber, as it stimulates the gut and reduces the risk of constipation, which in turn can lead to negative consequences throughout the body, as well as the formation of varicose veins due to a stalled varicose vein process. pelvis, " the expert added.
When the first symptoms of pathology appear, it is necessary to seek advice from a phlebologist, who will choose the best preventive regimen, teach the correct and most effective use of compression stockings.
In addition, experts highlight some tips for maintaining leg vein health:
- exercise regularly (load should be moderate);
- Refusing to frequent saunas and hot baths;
- get rid of excess weight (every kilogram increases the load of the boat);
- Refuse to wear elasticated socks or skinny jeans;
- do not sit cross-legged;
- Rotate your feet in the morning and evening to improve blood circulation;
- Priority is given to comfortable low-heeled shoes;
- walk as barefoot as possible;
- Adhere to a water regime (drink at least one and a half liters of water per day);
- stop drinking and smoking;
- Take a cool foot bath at night;
- If the job requires holding one position for a long time, change the position of the body regularly;
- Monitor your diet and minimize the use of tea and coffee.