A brisk walk, long walks without fatigue even with beautiful heels, ankles and hips that you won't want to hide from others - these are the benefits of healthy legs with no signs of venous disease. Little by little, the form and rhythm of life changes if a person neglects the prevention of varicose veins.
This is true for both women and men. The disease develops in different ways and the stage of varicose veins in medicine on the subject of identification in the patient is always a subject of debate. But you need to understand the classification so as not to miss the moment when varicose veins are treated without surgery.
The essence of the problem
Varicose veins are disorders of blood flow in the saphenous veins. Due to problems with the venous valves, which must contain the blood portions to move further towards the heart, the plasma flows in the opposite direction and stagnates.
Pressure cannot push blood through the veins in the lower extremities, causing the walls to stretch. A blue hued striped and zigzag pattern gradually appears on the legs, complemented by swelling and bulging at an advanced stage.
But varicose veins are not immediately noticeable. The problem can progress without visual symptoms, so people who experience discomfort in the legs but do not find bulging veins attribute the discomfort to fatigue.
Varicose veins do not occur by themselves as a separate disease. This is just a symptom of dysfunction of the circulatory system as a whole, which appears at a young age. It is incorrect to consider varicose veins of the lower extremities as a sign of old age. Many 20-year-old girls hide their legs under pants and long skirts because of varicose veins.
There are several reasons for the malfunction of the circulatory system:
- Genetic inheritance from parents. If mom (most of the time) or dad have problems with the outflow of blood from the legs to the heart, children should perform an examination and prevention of the vascular and venous system. But genetics does not work in all cases, if there is no motivating factor: a sedentary or standing lifestyle due to the peculiarities of the profession, unbalanced nutrition, diseases with complications;
- Neglect of the rules of a technical break when used in certain work areas, where there is a heavy load on the legs, but there is no movement (hairdresser, specialist in the sales department, accountant, programmer, driver). Warming your legs every 30 minutes prevents blood pooling;
- Certain health problems affect the blood vessels and veins: diabetes mellitus, heart disorders, injuries to the legs, the spine, obesity;
- Pregnancy for many women is the impetus for the first symptoms of varicose veins. The embryo not only increases the weight of the expectant mother, which puts pressure on the legs, but also puts pressure on the internal organs and vital systems of the pregnant woman.
Varicose veins are a serious sign of internal problems that have not been declared, but require at least a standard examination by a therapist.
Different stages of development of venous insufficiency
Although veins in humans are located not only in the legs, but throughout the body, varicose veins in the lower extremities are more common. Both women and men suffer from the disease, but a higher percentage than the beautiful half of the population.
There are several stages of varicose veins, which are classified according to their severity.The division is conditional, so that the treating physician makes a diagnosis and knows what treatment regimen to prescribe to the patient for specific complaints.
There are a number of stage classifications of varicose veins among medical experts. The international community distinguishes seven stages of varicose veins, drawing a line within the framework of narrow symptoms. But in practice, varicose veins are diagnosed in 3 stages of the disease gradation:
- First degree (compensation stage): Impaired blood flow from the legs to the heart is predetermined by lifestyle or genetically, but the patient has time to return the venous valves to normal function. The symptoms of varicose veins in the early stage are mild and are not taken seriously;
- Second degree (subcompensation): There are visual signs of venous insufficiency that are difficult to confuse with other changes. Discomfort in the legs disappears after a long rest or accompanies a person constantly. At this stage, patients often seek the help of a doctor. Vascular and venous changes are important, but tension and pain in the lower extremities can be relieved;
- The third degree (decompensation) is the last stage of varicose veins, when the thinned walls of the circulatory system begin to burst from excess blood. The skin tissues do not receive nutrition and die. Ulcers develop on the skin that are difficult to treat. In some cases, in grade 3 varicose veins, bacteria bind to ulcerative foci. Stabilizing the patient's condition requires time, effort, and complex therapy.
The numbered stages of varicose veins are a conditional division. Within each group of venous insufficiency, there is a mild, moderate and severe degree of the disease, which is determined by the symptoms described by the patients at the reception. Based on the fact that the pathology of the veins is individual in each case, the line of transition from one stage to another is insignificant, especially in the cases of 1 and 2 degrees.
Characteristics of the initial stage of the pathology
A doctor diagnoses 1 degree of varicose veins in rare cases, because people do not go to the clinic when there is short-term swelling or heaviness in the legs. Home remedies help relieve fatigue, the swelling goes away on its own after sleeping or changing high heels for slippers. Varicose veins of 1 degree in many people do not pass to another stage until old age, if there is no provoking factor.
Changes in the vascular system occur not only in adults, but also in modern adolescents who are deprived of mobility and prefer a computer, telephone and other devices to active leisure.
Only the arms and brain are trained, and the rest of the body does not change position for a long time. Blood circulation slows down, especially in the lower part of the skeleton. Bent knees, crushed muscles, veins and blood vessels in the thighs and buttocks cause stagnation.
Teens often complain of leg pain and cramps. In some cases, edema is visible, especially when you are overweight. There are no striking symptoms of grade 1 varicose veins, but the initial stage is neglected and its progressiveness depends only on the attention of children or their parents towards themselves.
Teenage girls choose uncomfortable high-heeled shoes in an effort to attract attention. The pressure in the veins of the lower extremities increases and leads to the initial degree of pathology. The inability to stand and move in high heels deforms the feet, increases the load on the spine and the bones of the legs, hip joints. The curvatures negatively affect the vessels because they are compressed.
The initial degree of varicose veins in young people is not alarming, because the symptoms disappear after rest or a little warming up. The signs of grade 1 varicose veins are as follows:
- Heavy legs even without physical activity;
- Slight swelling in the afternoon when the foot is too small to fit in the shoe or when the edges dig noticeably into the skin. The symptom disappears in the morning if the legs were given rest or a procedure was performed to relieve swelling and tension in the muscles: the vertical position of the lower extremities, foot baths, massages, changing uncomfortable shoes;
- Short-term seizures in rare cases.
In rare cases, with grade 1 varicose veins, external signs of venous pathology appear: thin strips of veins or a vascular network, which are stressed due to a reduced speed of blood flow.
It is difficult to diagnose the initial stage of pathology on your own, because the listed symptoms are observed in other diseases, for example, diabetes mellitus, kidney problems. For diagnosis and treatment, you should consult your doctor at the first sign of discomfort.
Varicose veins are localized not only on the legs, and the initial stage can be skipped if there are no changes in the lower extremities.
Degree 2 functions
The initial stage of venous pathology in the absence of prophylaxis or therapy after a while passes to the stage of subcompensation. Symptoms of grade 1 varicose veins appear more often and last longer.
External changes appear on the skin: inflamed veins or a large number of spider veins. At night and even during the day cramps occur, the patient feels pain and cannot move the leg. With hardware examination of the veins of the lower extremities, changes in the functioning of the valves are observed.
The pressure in the vessels increases, but it is difficult to push the blood without closing the valves. A stagnation of blood is formed, which appears on the skin in the form of blue nodules.
- A sign of stage 2 venous insufficiency is swelling that does not go away after rest and preventive procedures. Edema occurs due to the inability of the blood to rise through the veins, the hemodynamics is affected. The liquid part of the blood (plasma) begins to leak under the skin through the thinned walls of the veins and small vessels, because the function of their transport is impaired;
- Changes in skin color due to poor circulation and nutrient intake. The cells of the epidermis acquire a brown tint and gradually turn black. Inflammation develops and, as a result, the initial stage of ulcerative formations;
- Patients presenting to the doctor in stage 2 of the disease have complaints of severe pain, muscle numbness, and itchy skin. The symptoms are caused by a lack of adequate nutrition for the cells of the epidermis.
The undercompensation stage of varicose veins is not considered hopeless if therapy is diagnosed and prescribed in a timely manner. If one or more signs of second-degree varicose veins are found, one cannot self-medicate and listen to the sympathizers. Only a doctor will help to cope with the problem.
Grade 3 functions
People reach the third degree of venous insufficiency if they treat themselves with inattention and without due respect. The first stage of pathology in rare cases causes discomfort and changes the quality of life, but the second degree of venous insufficiency should not go unnoticed to neglect the visit to the doctor and undergo a course of rehabilitation.
3 degrees of pathology is the most serious and dangerous, because trophic ulcers form that do not heal even with pharmacological treatment. In the decompensation stage, the body has exhausted its ability to keep the veins working.
The walls are stretched and thin to the limit, there is a risk of breakage in case of injury. Another problem with grade 3 varicose veins is thrombophlebitis - blockage of the vessels, formation of blood clots, which can dislodge and lead to death.
Venous insufficiency reaches its final stage in extreme cases. The reasons for this attitude of people towards themselves are not clear. Enduring pain, feeling cosmetic discomfort, and not being able to walk easily seems strange. Timely diagnosis of the problem and compliance with the doctor's recommendations will not allow varicose veins to cross even 1 stage of pathology.
Having considered in detail the classification of varicose veins of the lower extremities, it is worth noting that venous insufficiency occurs in other parts of the body and internal organs. This problem is more difficult to notice, but when discomfort appears in the legs, you can also think of alterations in venous blood flow in other places.
How to diagnose a pathology
At the first signs of discomfort in the legs, you should contact a medical institution. The diagnosis and treatment of venous insufficiency is done by a phlebologist, but the initial consultation can be obtained from a therapist.
- A visual examination is made of the state of the integuments in the legs, the presence of orthopedic changes and other signs;
- Palpation of problem areas not only of the legs, but also of the groin and abdomen;
- Patient complaints are heard;
- A detailed medical history is compiled in the form of a survey interview. The questions are focused on identifying the cause that has become the starting point in the formation of varicose veins;
- A referral is required for general blood and urine tests to determine the patient's general health;
- Functional tests to determine the degree of venous dilation (Schwarz, Perthes test, sole);
- In case of varicose veins, a hardware examination of the patency of the veins and the status of the venous valves is carried out: duplex ultrasound (DUS), plethysmography, phlebography, reovasography.
After all measures to diagnose venous insufficiency and determine the degree of varicose veins, prophylaxis, conservative therapy, treatment with alternative methods and, in extreme cases, surgical intervention, laser pathology removal are prescribed.
How to deal with varying degrees of venous dysfunction
The earlier the signs of varicose veins are noticed, the easier and faster it will be to deal with the problem. The initial stage of the pathology can be completely reversed without the use of medications if timely prevention is initiated:
- Change your pace and lifestyle. Often the cause of poor blood flow in the veins is a sedentary lifestyle or standing due to professional activities. It is necessary to add movement to improve hemodynamics and prevent high pressure in some areas. With excess body weight, you need to approach its normalization, but gradually;
- Choose comfortable and correct footwear. In the presence of orthopedic deformities, shoes are selected with this problem in mind. High heels only on special occasions;
- Give up bad habits that cause problems in the vascular system;
- Reduce weight if you are overweight and put extra load on your legs;
- Choose the right exercise to help blood flow from the legs to the heart.
At the initial stage, the doctor prescribes venotonics, creams, pills to reduce the load on the venous walls and restore their elasticity. The scrub top should be individually tailored to relieve tension on the legs.
When external signs appear creating aesthetic discomfort, a special composition (sclerotherapy) is introduced into the vein, but this is rare at an early stage.
The second stage of venous insufficiency requires more attention so that the problem does not turn into stage 3. The specificity of eliminating second-degree pathology is similar to the treatment of varicose veins in the initial stage. Medications are prescribed to reduce the risk of blood clots, reduce tissue swelling, and restore blood flow.
Surgical therapy is used for second degree varicose veins in the presence of obvious skin changes: convex veins, venous mesh, vascular pattern. Radio frequency or laser therapy is performed in the treatment room. Sclerotherapy is also shown, when an external defect disappears in the eyes after entering a problematic injection site.
Compression garments are essential to improve blood flow and reduce stress on the legs.
How to treat grade 3 varicose veins, when the condition of the veins and tissues is in a terrible state and the body cannot correct the situation? Treatment is only surgical to prevent thrombosis, vein rupture, and restore hemodynamics throughout the body.
Usually a phlebectomy procedure is performed: removal of the affected vessels. The operation is performed using surgical instruments (classical method) or a laser without a single incision (modern method for treating third degree varicose veins).
The course of the disease is complicated by the formation of ulcers that do not heal even with drug therapy. Therefore, a surgeon is essential at this stage. After a successful operation, an individual course of drugs, dressings and medical clothing is selected.
Varicose veins are not a harmless cosmetic defect in the legs and other parts of the body, but a serious pathology that, with collusion, will turn a person's life into torment and a constant walk around the officesfrom the clinic.
The initial stage of venous insufficiency is inherent in the majority of the population, but the diagnosis is rarely made due to ignorance of the possible consequences.
If the professional activity implies a sedentary image or constant presence on your feet, there are examples of pathology in relatives, it is necessary to take preventive measures and exclude the progression of the disease at the initial stage. By leaving the problem unattended, you may not notice how the veins will cause other pathologies.