Varicose veins are a disease characterized by thinning and stretching of the veins, dysfunction of venous valves, and congestion of blood in the veins. How does a vein normally work? With each heartbeat, blood circulates through the body and then must return to the heart. She's coming back to her veins. But, as gravity acts on the blood in the veins of the lower limbs, nature had the idea to equip them with valves that close and do not let the blood flow back. As phlebologists say, a vein is more complex than an artery, it plays the role of a peripheral heart: all the blood that pumps the heart, it pushes it back in the right direction.
Varicose veins of the legs, hemorrhoids, portal hypertension
The return of blood to the heart is facilitated by active contractions of the leg muscles. What happens when this function is violated? A healthy vein is elastic, but its muscle wall is weak. If elasticity is lost, another property of the veins is used - elasticity. First, the valves allow some of the blood to pass, the vein expands, and the valves no longer meet, folding back. Thus, blood begins to accumulate in the veins, which become more and more numerous, acquire a convoluted shape, become visible under the skin.
It is important to understand here that varicose veins are not just a cosmetic defect, but a serious disease that requires treatment. If you do not treat varicose veins, complications are possible - blood stagnation contributes to thrombosis, which can lead to thrombophlebitis and a more serious complication - separation of a thrombus and blockage of a large artery, for exampleexample the pulmonary artery. It is already a life-threatening condition in which immediate medical attention is needed.
However, this is not the most frequent case, but thrombophlebitis, thrombosis and trophic ulcers on the legs are found in a 4th untreated patient. Women are more likely to suffer from varicose veins. Interestingly, it can affect the veins not only of the legs, but also of the esophagus (with portal hypertension), the spermatic cord (with varicocele), and the plexuses near the anus (with hemorrhoids).
Causes of varicose veins
Here are the main causes of varicose veins:
- the very device of the veins is a weak muscular wall;
- pregnancy - the amount of circulating blood increases, venous outflow worsens due to the fact that intra-abdominal pressure increases;
- hereditary predisposition;
- standing work - for example, at vendors;
- hormonal contraception or taking hormones during menopause;
- obesity - it has been proven that if the body mass index reaches 27, the risk of varicose veins increases by a third;
- frequent wearing of heels;
- wear tight clothes, corsets, which compress the large veins in the groin area;
- sedentary lifestyle;
- chronic constipation.
Symptoms: dilated veins, swelling, heaviness, seizures
Due to the stretching of the veins, blood collects to a certain level and the person begins to feel heaviness in the legs - especially towards the end of the day or if the day is spent on the legs. Later, evening swelling of the legs appears, but even at this stage the patient may not notice or pay attention. Visible asterisks, or telangiectasias, appear, followed by enlarged tortuous veins. Such disfigured vessels no longer decorate at all and even cause pain in the legs, cramps at night and sometimes itchy skin. Here, many patients are already accepted for treatment on their own and a few go to the doctor. Subsequently, darkening of the skin, dermatosclerosis occurs on the affected area, trophic ulcers may form, which are difficult to cure.
Diagnosis of varicose veins
For diagnosis, ultrasound of blood vessels or duplex ultrasound of veins is mainly used - this method allows you to find damaged valves, showing, in particular, those veins that are not yet visible from the outside.
Treatment of varicose veins
Venous treatment consists of several stages, depending on the extent of the lesion. In the early stages, you can use elastic bandages. They are thin, flesh-colored and do not spoil the appearance. A good, correct dressing does not change width when stretched. How are the bandages applied? The leg should be placed horizontally, the foot should be brought at a right angle. The first round of bandage is applied to the foot at the base of the toes, each subsequent round half closes the previous one. It is important to close the heel so that blood flow improves from the foot. As a result of bandaging with an elastic bandage, the diameter of the veins decreases, their valves close, and the veins begin to function again.
In much the same way - due to the compression of the veins - treating the veins with compression stockings works. If the veins are affected at the knees, compression socks will be, if they are higher, compression tights or stockings. Compression knits are prescribed by a doctor on a special form, where he indicates the size and class of knits (the patient himself will not be able to make the right choice). The class differs depending on the purpose of its use. So, the first class includes antiembolic jersey - it is used during operations to prevent thromboembolism. The second and third classes are medicinal. But only the third-class jersey is used in the later stages with skin lesions on the diseased veins.
Pantyhose are used to treat the veins when the upper veins of both legs are affected and during pregnancy. The indicator of the class of knitwear is not the number of den, as on ordinary tights (this is only the density of the product), but the pressure it exerts - in millimeters of mercury. Compression stockings are sold in specialty stores, but, alas, they are not cheap. They put it on in the morning, without lifting their feet from the bed. It is not easy to put on tight knee-highs or tights, so gloves or a special device are used to put them on. The jersey should fit the leg without wrinkles, and the golf elastic should not leave marks on the skin. You have to wear such knee socks or tights all the time. The jersey can be washed, but after six months it is time to replace it.
Surgical treatment of varicose veins
Ointments have a temporary tightening effect, and alternative medicine, for example hirudotherapy, can also help for a short time. However, the complete removal of varicose veins can only be achieved through surgery. Previously, the affected vein was removed along its entire length. Currently, less traumatic procedures are preferred, such as injecting an adhesive into the vein. This method is called sclerotherapy and is applied from the start.
Coagulation, radiofrequency and laser ablation methods are also used. All of these procedures aim to ensure that the affected vein ceases to be walkable, turns into a subcutaneous tourniquet, which will dissolve over time, or narrows so that the valves can function. The choice of the type of intervention is up to the doctor and depends on the degree of varicose veins, however, it is also taken into account how quickly the patient wishes to undergo rehabilitation and recover.
After the operation, it is necessary to wear compression stockings and take certain drugs - phlebotonics. They prevent the vein from expanding and strengthen its elastic properties. Contraindications to surgery are thrombophlebitis, diseases of the arteries of the legs, the presence of foci of infection, blood clotting disorders.
Prevention: the more physical, the less constipation
First, a balanced diet with a sufficient amount of fiber (fresh fruits, vegetables, bran, grain bread, oatmeal, etc. ) serves as prevention in order to prevent constipation, as they contribute to blood stagnation. Spicy and excess animal fats should be excluded from the diet. Do not abuse salty, smoked foods and alcohol - it interferes with normal blood circulation. Make sure you get some physical activity - swimming, fitness, cycling are great. There are also special exercises to strengthen the veins. It is useful to periodically elevate the legs.
Do not treat varicose veins yourself. Corn! You don't need to go to the doctor if:
- there are small spider veins, a mesh, which interfere only aesthetically, without posing a threat to health. Exercises to stimulate venous return are helpful at this stage;
- there are small bumps at the site of the veins, no edema, no pain. The treatment is exactly the same.
All other situations require a visit to the doctor. Medical attention is especially urgent when thrombophlebitis has developed, the pigmentation of the skin is impaired, there are trophic ulcers and large veins. But it is better not to behave in this state.