Varicose veins of the lower extremities is a problem that takes over more than 60% of the world's population. The term "varicose veins" from the Latin "varix" is interpreted as "expansion". Hence the definition of the pathological condition - the expansion of the lumen of the veins of the lower extremities and pelvic organs, which significantly disrupts the blood flow in the vessels and, consequently, worsens the general condition of the patient. In the material below, we will consider the causes of varicose veins, the possible complications of the disease, and the main ways to treat the pathology.
Causes and risk factors: everyone is susceptible to this
Important:if varicose veins outnumber young people under 25 years of age, then here the gender distribution occurs 50: 50. That is, both boys and girls are equally ill. At a more mature age, women are more likely to have varicose veins due to pregnancy and significant age-related changes in hormone levels.
If we consider varicose veins from the inside, anatomically, the expansion of the lumen of the veins occurs due to a malfunction of the venous valves that regulate blood flow. Malfunctioning valves do not close completely with each heartbeat. As a result, the blood that comes from the heart in jerky moves to the lower extremities due to the force of gravity.
Normally, the valves must close and allow blood to flow to the legs in portions. But, unfortunately, the blood flow enters the legs with greater intensity and in the opposite direction it moves with less intensity due to the same malfunction of the valve system. Blood-filled leg veins lose their elasticity and stretch over time.
The main predisposing factors for the development of a pathological state of the blood vessels are:
- genetic component (the disease can be transmitted through the female or male line within the family);
- over weight;
- postponed pregnancies;
- passive lifestyle;
- excessive physical activity;
- smoking and drinking alcohol;
- hormonal disorders.
If we consider the causes of varicose veins, depending on the sex of the patient, in men and women they are somewhat different. More precisely, each of the representatives of different sexes is prone to certain habits, which sooner or later can provoke the pathology of the vessels of the lower extremities. So, for men, the risk factors are:
- strength training with weight lifting from the squat position;
- overweight and obesity;
- unbalanced diet, which causes frequent constipation;
- pathological processes of the kidneys (tumors of various etiologies);
- inguinal hernia;
- sedentary work;
- smoking and drinking alcohol.
Important:men are characterized not only by the development of varicose veins of the lower extremities, but also by varicose veins of the spermatic cord. This condition is called a varicocele. Such a condition is inherited, that is, it is exclusively genetic in nature and is not prevented even with improved preventive measures. Only 2-4% of men have varicocele. The cause of the pathology is the asymmetric anatomical location and the structure of the male genital organs.
Due to the fact that men suffer from false shyness or do not have time to visit a specialist at the beginning of the disease, varicose veins are more difficult for them than for women.
Varicose veins in women have their own laws
For women, varicose veins are more "familiar" than for men. More than 80% of women suffer from vascular pathology of the legs. In addition, the risk group includes the fairer sex who prefer this lifestyle or experience the following conditions:
- wear tight-fitting high-heeled shoes;
- sedentary or standing work;
- hereditary predisposition;
- changes in hormone levels during pregnancy or with autoimmune diseases;
- wearing too tight underwear, jeans;
- of smoking;
- low percentage of fruits and vegetables in the diet (constant diets and starvation);
- love of tanning (frequent visits to the solarium or staying in direct sunlight);
- sudden weight gain;
- low mobility.
Pregnancy is where the dog is "buried"
Even if the manifestations of varicose veins, the causes and treatment of which must be established and prescribed only by a phlebologist, are not initially observed in a woman, in 30% of cases it becomes obvious during pregnancy. Here the main stumbling block lies in the growing fetus and with it in the uterus, which intensely squeezes the pelvic organs. As a result, blood circulation in the lower body is significantly affected. Return blood flow from the legs upward is difficult. This effect on the deep veins of the legs leads to the fact that the vessels are actively stretched both in width and in length.
In addition to the growth of the uterine organ and the pressure exerted on the vessels of the pelvic organs, varicose veins in pregnant women also develop under the influence of such factors:
- Increased blood clotting. Therefore, nature insures the woman against a great loss of blood during childbirth. Thicker blood moves harder through the veins.
- An increase in the level of the hormone progesterone, which leads to the relaxation of the muscles and blood vessels of the uterus, so that it can rise freely and without tone as the fetus grows. But at the same time, the walls of the remaining vessels also relax. Veins become less elastic and thick blood stretches even more their walls already weakened by progesterone.
- Increase in blood pressure for a better supply of oxygen to the fetus. As a result, the body tries to rapidly conduct thick blood through the relaxed vessels. Your leg volume increases due to this.
- Low mobility of a pregnant woman with the growth of the tummy. This leads to stagnation of blood in the legs and pelvic organs.
Complications of varicose veins
If varicose veins are left untreated and neglected, then over time the patient can develop very serious complications that may even require complete surgical intervention. In the worst case, the patient may undergo amputation of the diseased limb. Next, we will consider the most common and dangerous complications of varicose veins.
Chronic venous insufficiency
With the development of such a complication, an active failure of the venous valves occurs. Also, the pathological process is divided into four stages:
- Zero. The patient feels slight swelling and rare pain in the legs after a hard day.
- First. The venous network of dilated vessels is visualized on the surface of the skin.
- Second. The swollen veins with blood clots and nodules are clearly visible. There is redness of skin areas in places of inflamed veins, itching, sores.
- Third. Trophic ulcers form on the legs with inflamed veins.
Important:Signs of chronic venous insufficiency are itchy legs, pain, burning sensation in a prolonged sitting position, swelling, night cramps.
Superficial vein thrombophlebitis
In this case, the patient develops a tendency to form blood clots. Clots actively block the lumen of the veins, making it difficult for blood to flow. In most cases, blood clots and clots are located in the vessels of the lower third of the thigh or the upper third of the leg. The symptoms of venous thrombophlebitis are:
- redness of the skin of the legs in places of formation of clots;
- pain in the legs;
- on palpation - induration in the veins.
Important:with thrombophlebitis, it is necessary to wear compression stockings. The compression formula must be selected by a specialist: angio-surgeon or phlebologist.
This complication manifests itself already in the last stages of venous insufficiency. First, the patient develops increased vascular permeability. A whitish seal with a varnish-like surface forms on the surface of the skin. An ulcer forms under it. At the slightest injury to the inflamed area, the ulcer opens and separation of the exudate begins. The suppurating wound can become secondarily infected, leading to purulent inflammatory processes.
Important:In this condition, complete wound healing is required first, and only after that is a full surgical intervention performed to remove the affected vessels.
An equally dangerous complication, in which a thrombus breaks away from the inflamed vein and moves into the pulmonary artery. This artery participates directly in the organization of blood flow in a small circle, affecting the right ventricle of the heart. If the diameter of the detached thrombus is less than the lumen of the artery, then the clot moves to the branches of the pulmonary artery, causing pulmonary edema or infarction. In this case, the patient will feel significant chest pain. A wet cough mixed with blood, an increase in body temperature and weakness will also appear. If the diameter of the clot is equal to the diameter of the pulmonary artery lumen, then there is an instantaneous blockage and death of the patient.
The shedding of a blood clot can be triggered by the following conditions:
- perform surgical interventions;
- heart failure;
- long bed rest.
Conservative and surgical treatment
Varicose veins can be treated both conservatively and operatively, depending on the stage of the pathology and the patient's condition. With conservative treatment, the administration of phlebotonic drugs is indicated. Externally, horse chestnut-based venotonic gels and ointments are used. It should be understood that conservative treatment works only in the initial stages of varicose veins.
As additional measures in the conservative treatment of varicose veins, physical activity (walking) and the use of compression stockings are shown.
Minimally invasive and surgical treatment methods.
If the process of varicose veins and venous insufficiency has gone far, then they resort to a minimally invasive or complete surgical intervention to improve the patient's condition. Minimally invasive intervention methods include the following:
- Sclerotherapy. In this case, a special sclerosing drug is injected into the lumen of the patient's varicose vein with a fine insulin needle. The injected substance first causes inflammation and then sclerosis of the diseased vein. The lumen of the diseased vessel simply grows larger. The technique has a rather cosmetic effect, but it does not solve the problem (cause) of the pathology itself. Relapses are possible after sclerotherapy. Contraindications to such an intervention are pregnancy, lactation and intolerance to the components of the drug.
- Peel. With this method, the diseased vein is removed with the thinner probe. The peculiarity of surgical intervention is that it is possible to remove only the diseased part of the vessel, leaving its healthy parts. The operation is performed through two endoscopic punctures located on both sides of the site of the inflamed vessel. That is, scars and scars after such an intervention will not be visible.
- Microphlebectomy. Removal of the diseased vein is also done through several small incisions in the skin.
- Laser coagulation. Exposure to the light of a diseased vessel with laser. As a result, the lumen of the vein is completely covered.
A complete surgical procedure (abdominal operation) is called a phlebectomy. With this method, the surgeon makes a full incision in the skin of the leg to remove the entire superficial vein. Indications for such an operation are:
- a large volume of varicose veins;
- large cavity (lumen) of diseased vessels (more than 10 mm);
- the presence of large varicose veins;
- the formation of trophic ulcers in the patient;
- lack of effectiveness of minimally invasive surgery.
Traditional methods of treatment.
At the initial stages of the pathology, you can also turn to folk methods of treating varicose veins. In particular, in combination with drug treatment, you can use the following folk remedies:
- The tomato is green. Thin slices of vegetables are placed in the area of the inflamed veins and fixed with a bandage. You should change such applications every 2-3 hours. The course of treatment is until a clear improvement of the condition.
- Potatoes. A bandage soaked in freshly squeezed potato juice is applied to the legs. Cover the top with cling film. It is best to perform these applications at night until the patient's condition improves.
- Apple cider vinegar. Preferably homemade. Vinegar is diluted in water (1 glass of water and 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar). A bandage is moistened in a solution and applied to the area of diseased veins. The bandage is fixed at night. You can also simply lubricate your feet with this solution at night. It is proven that it takes water with vinegar and inside. Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey to a glass of water so as not to burn the esophagus with vinegar (the esophageal walls are very susceptible to acids). Drink the mixture in the morning on an empty stomach. The course of treatment with vinegar is 30 days.
- Horse chestnut. Flowers of the plant in quantity of 50 gr. pour 0. 5 liters of alcohol and insist for two weeks in a dark place, periodically shaking the mixture. The finished product is filtered through a screen and drunk three times during the day, one tablespoon at a time. The mixture is washed with water. The course of treatment is 7 days. Then a 14-day break and again a seven-day course. Treatment according to this scheme is carried out until the end of the infusion. Then you can prepare again and repeat the therapy regimen.
- Burdock. In this case, fresh leaves of the plant are used to eliminate the disease. In the evening, sore feet are smeared with Vishnevsky ointment and wrapped on top with a burdock leaf. Everyone is fixed with a bandage and compression stockings are put on. The bandage is worn for three days, then the whole thing is removed and washed. It can be treated this way throughout the summer, while the fresh burdock grows.
Important:This treatment is contraindicated in patients with high acidity of gastric juice.
It is worth realizing that varicose veins are an irreversible pathology in most cases. That is why it is so important to take care of the health of your feet. Especially if there is a genetic predisposition to varicose veins. It is enough to stop bad habits, balance the daily diet, walk more and drink enough clean water a day. At the appearance of the slightest signs of varicose veins, it is advisable to immediately contact a competent phlebologist to prevent complications of the disease. Remember, your health and the internal health of your feet is completely up to you. And modern medicine and the hands of a professional can work wonders.