Varicose veins are unpleasant and difficult to treat. Deformed blood vessels cause constant pain, the legs swell, and purple and blue lumps are visible under the skin. Conservative measures help only at the initial stage, with severe forms of varicose veins, an operation is necessary.
Varicose veins: features of the disease
Varicose veins is a disease associated with the expansion of superficial vessels. The reason for the development of the disease lies in the peculiarities of the structure of the veins. They have valves that obstruct reverse blood flow. When collagen and elastin production is impaired, the vascular walls become thinner, stretched and deformed, the valves cannot function normally. Blood stagnation occurs, clots form, causing swelling of blood vessels and constant pain. In the absence of timely treatment, complications are possible: necrosis, trophic ulcers, thrombophlebitis.
For a long time it was believed that the elderly and pregnant women suffer from varicose veins. However, today, the disease is increasingly common in young men, girls and even adolescents. Phlebologists warn that the disease is difficult to treat. Success is possible only at an early stage, when the symptoms are still subtle. Much more success can be achieved with prevention. People with relatives suffering from varicose veins should pay increased attention to their own health, monitor their weight and visit a doctor regularly.
Causes of varicose veins
Usually, several reasons affect the development of the disease. Among the main ones:
- hereditary predisposition;
- hormonal disbalance;
- inflammatory diseases;
- pregnancy and childbirth;
- lack of physical activity;
- excess weight.
In most cases, varicose veins occur against the background of a hereditary predisposition to the disease: congenital weakness of the vascular walls, disruption of the venous valves, pathologies of connective tissues. With the slightest disturbance in lifestyle, weight gain, excessive physical exertion, problems will become apparent, and the disease will begin to develop rapidly. The risk of developing varicose veins increases with age. The older the person, the less elastic the vessel walls become and the higher the possibility of their deformation.
In women, pregnancy becomes a powerful impetus to the development of varicose veins. There is a hormonal imbalance in the body, an excess of estrogen and progesterone causes the destruction of collagen in the walls of blood vessels. The situation is aggravated by the slowed out flow of lymph, which provokes swelling of the extremities.
Obesity is a strong provoking factor. Excess weight increases the load on the vessels, with their congenital weakness, pathological changes are inevitable. A sedentary lifestyle can also affect the condition of the veins. No less dangerous is the constant stay on your feet and work associated with the transfer of weight. The risk group includes loaders, heavyweight athletes, hairdressers, waiters, couriers.
A very common cause of the development of varicose veins, especially typical for men, is smoking. Nicotine, combustion products and tobacco tar have a destructive effect on the vascular walls, make the blood more viscous, making it difficult to move. For experienced smokers, vascular problems are almost inevitable. Regular alcohol intake can also worsen the condition of the veins.
The main symptoms
The disease has several stages. In the first, the symptoms are almost invisible. The primary signs of varicose veins include:
- limb pain, numbness, tingling;
- leg fatigue that does not go away after a good rest;
- a thin bluish mesh on the calves, more visible at the end of the day;
- cramps, muscle aches that occur at night;
- itchy skin.
In the absence of adequate treatment and lifestyle changes, the disease progresses. At the second stage of varicose veins, the venous mesh becomes more pronounced and acquires a purple-cyanotic color. The skin on the legs begins to peel off, itch, and bluish and red spots appear on it. Large nodes appear, painful and clearly palpable. The pain in the legs becomes constant, during the day it varies from dull and aching to acute, paroxysmal pain.
The third stage is characterized by the proliferation of venous nodes, the appearance of dark necrotic spots and constant edema. A person cannot move without pain. With insufficient treatment, complications are possible:
- trophic ulcers;
The nodes protruding under the skin are easily injured, bleeding is possible, which is very difficult to stop. With the development of thrombophlebitis (inflammation of the inner walls of the veins), blood clots are formed that can block the movement of blood and cause rupture of the vessel walls. Thromboembolism, which can be fatal, is not excluded.
Diagnostics and treatment
At the first signs of varicose veins, it is recommended to consult a therapist who will issue a referral to a phlebologist. The specialist will conduct a detailed ultrasound examination, in some cases contrast venography is prescribed. Usually, at the first stage, patients are recommended venotonics and anticoagulants in the form of tablets, as well as compression hosiery. The doctor prescribes a low-calorie diet and recommends vitamin complexes. The patient should be examined every six months, this will allow monitoring the dynamics and taking action in time.
If the patient comes to the doctor at a late stage, conservative therapy should not be used. The phlebologist will prescribe a number of tests and will select the option of surgical intervention. Very old age, chronic heart disease, renal failure, autoimmune or oncological diseases will become contraindications to surgery.
It is necessary to start treatment with the intake of venotonics and anticoagulants. They will provide normal blood flow, exclude the formation of clots and blood clots, relieve pain and strengthen the walls of blood vessels. The course is designed for 14 days, followed by a break. Oral preparations are supplemented with creams and gels. Products with horse chestnut extract can improve the condition of blood vessels and relieve heaviness in the legs.
In case of severe pain, the patient is prescribed anesthetics. Quickly absorbing gels with belladonna extract will help. They are rubbed into the affected limb twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime. Ointments are suitable for compresses and lotions, the compositions can be alternated depending on how you feel.
Additional treatment and prevention measures
After going to the phlebologist, you will have to make adjustments to the menu. In chronic venous diseases, it is important to reduce the total calorie content of the diet, give up fried, fatty, sweet foods, semi-finished products and fast food. It is recommended to include in the menu:
- light and nutritious soups with vegetable broth;
- whole grain cereals in water or skim milk;
- poultry fillets, steamed or baked;
- fresh, boiled or stewed vegetables;
- fruits and berries;
- low-fat dairy products.
It is advisable to exclude foods that retain water in the body. To avoid swelling of the extremities, it is better to give up coffee, strong black tea, excess salt. Instead of carbonated drinks and commercial juices, it is better to drink fresh juices, half diluted with water, homemade fruit drinks and sugar-free compotes. These drinks do not contain extra calories and normalize blood flow.
It is necessary to completely eliminate alcohol, even small doses of ethyl alcohol are detrimental to the veins. In addition, alcoholic beverages can reduce the effectiveness of active drugs.
With diagnosed varicose veins, it is necessary to wear compression stockings or knee-highs. Medical jersey is selected by a phlebologist, the degree of fixation depends on the condition of the veins. Prophylaxis products can be purchased on your own. Extra-thick stockings designed to support deeply deformed veins are purchased with a prescription. The doctor will determine not only the degree of pressure, but also the required size. For high-quality knitwear, you need to contact specialized orthopedic salons. Stockings or knee-highs are worn in the morning and worn throughout the day, but must be removed at night.
An obligatory item in the treatment program is gymnastics. You can enroll in a group exercise therapy or do exercises at home. Useful movements in a prone position: smooth leg raise, imitation of cycling, stretching at a slow pace. Burdens are excluded, the degree of stress depends on the stage of the disease. Home gymnastics will take no more than 15 minutes, but you need to do it daily.
It is recommended to rest as much as possible during the day. It is best to lie on your back with your feet resting on a pillow or rolled-up thick towel. This posture ensures normal lymph drainage and prevents swelling.
At home, it is useful to make baths and lotions from herbal decoctions. Among the most effective plants are pharmaceutical chamomile, wormwood, oak and willow bark, succession, St. John's wort, plantain leaves. The mixture of herbs is poured with boiling water, insisted for half an hour, filtered and poured into a basin. The legs are immersed in warm or cool water for 10 minutes, then the limbs are lubricated with venotonic ointment or cream. The procedure is best done before bedtime.
An excellent venotonic agent is a decoction of horse chestnut seeds. The medicine prevents further deformation of blood vessels, strengthens the venous walls, relieves pulling pain. A handful of dry raw materials are poured into 1 liter of boiling water and heated for 5-7 minutes. Then the broth is infused under the lid for half an hour and filtered. It is taken 2 times a day before meals for 0. 5 cups. The course is designed for 10 days, then you can take a break.
Compresses and lotions made from natural apple cider vinegar give good results. They improve blood flow, reduce painful swelling, and tone the skin. It is better to make compresses in courses, alternating with other means. A cloth dipped in apple cider vinegar is lightly wrung out and wrapped around the affected limb. From above, the compress is covered with a film and a terry towel. After that, you need to lie down with your legs slightly raised. The procedure lasts 20-30 minutes, then the skin is rinsed with cool water and lubricated with cream.
If conservative therapy does not help
Tablets and creams can alleviate the patient's condition, but with advanced or rapidly developing varicose veins, more drastic measures will have to be taken. For patients with the first or second stage of the disease, a phlebologist may recommend sclerotherapy. An adhesive is injected into the deformed veins with a syringe, after which the blood flow goes through other vessels. Relief comes within a few days, but the full recovery period takes 5-6 months.
With severe deformity and damage to large fragments of veins, phlebectomy may be recommended. Removal of damaged veins or their sections is performed under general or local anesthesia. The surgeon makes small incisions at the thigh, under the knee and at the ankle, without cutting the skin along the length of the legs. This will avoid long-term recovery and minimize the risk of complications.
The most modern and less traumatic method is laser coagulation. During the operation, all or part of the damaged vessel is removed. The work is carried out through an inconspicuous puncture, under the influence of a laser the incision in the vein is instantly welded. The procedure excludes bleeding and accidental infection; the patient can walk immediately after the intervention.
Phlebologists warn that even a successful operation does not give a full guarantee that the disease will not return. So that other vessels do not suffer, it is necessary to make adjustments to the lifestyle, follow a diet, give up smoking and alcohol. Moderate physical activity is useful: walking, cycling, therapeutic exercises. In many cases, the patient is advised to take venotonics and anticoagulants throughout his life. It is necessary to regularly visit a doctor who will monitor the condition of the vessels and will be able to timely prevent the recurrence of varicose veins.