Varicose veins of the lower extremities, often referred to by patients as varicose veins *,- one of the most common diseases, the development of which is associated with dysfunction of the valves in the venous system, changes in the wall of the veins under the influence of various factors and insufficient outflow of blood from the veins of the lower extremities. The disease develops over many years, the veins and capillaries gradually expand, which is why the characteristic symptoms appear.
Varicose veins are widespread throughout the world:
- in different countries, up to 30% of middle-aged people suffer from it, and women get sick about 3 times more often than men, which is due to various reasons, for example, the influence of pregnancy and childbirth, significant fluctuations in hormonal levels, and others;
- a feature of this chronic disease is a high tendency to relapse (return) even after surgical treatment, for example, in 65% of patients after vein surgery for 2-5 years, further development of varicose veins is noted.
Varicose veins disease develops gradually, manifestations are varied and depend on the stage:
- in the initial stages, there is swelling of the legs at the end of the working day, especially after a prolonged static position (sitting or standing) for many hours, wearing uncomfortable high-heeled shoes;
- in the future, the swelling increases, appears during the day, does not go away spontaneously;
- then vascular "asterisks" appear on the skin of the thighs and lower legs, these changes are mistakenly perceived by many patients as cosmetic defects, but in fact indicate impaired venous outflow;
- veins visible through the skin, which subsequently "protrude" above the skin surface, are varicose veins with a thin and inelastic vascular wall;
- then there are changes in the skin in areas where there is varicose veins - pigmentation, eczema and others;
- then trophic ulcers form, which are difficult to treat.
With varicose veins, patients notice pain and heaviness in the legs, a feeling of "fullness" and pulsation in the legs, muscle cramps, and restless legs syndrome is also observed.
The cause of the disease is congenital dysplasia (impaired development and structure of connective tissue), leading to weakness of the venous wall and valves. Predisposing factors - pregnancy, hard physical work or work in a standing position.
Treatment of varicose veins is complex. First of all, it includes a change in the motor regime. It is necessary to give up wearing heels, long walks and strenuous physical activity.
For varicose veins, an individual combination of various methods is used - conservative and surgical. The following correction techniques are used:
- drugs (phleboprotectors or venotonics), mainly on a plant basis (flavonoids, saponins and other biologically active substances of plants), are prescribed at different stages of the disease to improve the tone of the veins and lymphatic vessels, in order to obtain anesthetic, decongestant effects. They are not used as monotherapy, that is, as the only drug for treatment, they are always combined with other treatments or preventive measures;
- compression therapy is used alone or as an adequate addition to sclerotherapy, surgery;
- compression with elastic and inelastic medical products (bandages, bandages) improves outflow, reduces edema and permeability of the affected venous wall;
- drugs (phleboprotectors or venotonics), mainly on a plant basis (flavonoids, saponins and other biologically active substances of plants), are prescribed at different stages of the disease to improve the tone of the veins and lymphatic vessels, in order to obtain anesthetic, decongestant effects;
- are not used as monotherapy, that is, as the only drug for treatment, always combined with other treatment methods or preventive measures;
- sclerotherapy - a method of treatment in which special drugs are injected into the lumen of a vein, as a result of which a specific blood clot is formed and the blood flow in the vein stops (the vein becomes sclerosed);
- surgical treatment using different techniques;
- classical phlebectomy operations are performed, as well as laser and radiofrequency techniques are used.
Physiotherapy is also widely used at different stages of varicose veins, in combination with other methods or independently. The most effective physiotherapy procedures have the maximum anti-edema and draining effect.
Magnetotherapy (with varicose veins, the most effective running pulsed magnetic field has been proven) has a complex effect: first of all, blood flow in a certain area is normalized by reducing the viscosity and improving blood flow, reducing the risk of blood clots; lymph flow improves; metabolism in tissues is normalized, as the supply of tissues with oxygen and nutrients increases; regeneration processes are started. It is important that magnetotherapy also has an analgesic effect - by reducing the sensitivity of nerve fibers, as well as removing tissue edema, which has a beneficial effect on the patient's condition from the very first sessions.
Pressotherapy is a method of compressing the lower extremities using special cuffs connected to a compressor. In this case, an ascending compression of tissues occurs in the direction from the toes upward. The method has a pronounced therapeutic effect, especially in combination with magnetotherapy.
Electrostimulation of the calf muscles is aimed at enhancing the work of the so-called venous pump (the return of venous blood to the heart is carried out due to the pumping action of the calf muscles, in the thickness of which the venous network is located). With increased muscle contractions, the venous outflow of blood from the lower extremities improves.
It should be noted that the use of magnetotherapy procedures is also possible at home.
Success in treating varicose veins and reducing symptoms is more likely to be achieved precisely in the case of the combined use of various techniques, which should be selected by the attending physician (vascular surgeon).
A person who is worried about the symptoms of varicose veins can do a lot on their own to stay healthy! Some patients trust only surgical methods of treatment and do not pay enough attention to preventive measures to prevent the further development of varicose veins - and this is wrong.
Timely lifestyle changes, such as a comfortable work environment, regular exercise therapy, can significantly improve the condition (especially in the early stages of the disease) along with the use of preventive drugs and weight loss.