Lower extremity varicose veins are a problem that affects 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 state - the expansion of the lumen of the veins of the lower extremities and of Organs pelvic organs, which significantly impairs the blood flow in the vessels and, consequently, worsens the patient's general condition. In the following material, we will consider the causes of varicose veins, possible complications of the disease, and the main ways of dealing with the condition.
Causes and risk factors: everyone is susceptible to it
Important:if varicose veins affect young people under the age of 25, then here the gender distribution is 50: 50. That is, boys and girls are equally sick. 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 out, then anatomically, the expansion of the vein lumen occurs due to a malfunction of the venous valves that regulate blood flow. Defective valves do not close fully with each heartbeat. As a result, the blood that comes out of the heart in spasms 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, moves with less intensity due to the same malfunction of the valve system. Leg veins that overflow with blood lose elasticity and stretch over time.
The main predisposing factors for the development of a pathological state of blood vessels are:
- genetic component (the disease can be transmitted by the female or male lineage within the family);
- delayed pregnancies;
- passive lifestyle;
- excessive physical activity;
- smoking and drinking alcohol;
- hormonal disorders.
If we consider the causes of varicose veins, depending on the patient's gender, then in men and women they are a little different. More precisely, each of the representatives of the different sexes is subject to certain habits, which sooner or later can cause the pathology of the vessels of the lower extremities. Therefore, for men, the risk factors are:
- strength training with lifting weights 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 in the lower extremities, but also by varicose veins in the spermatic cord. This pathology is called varicocele. This condition is hereditary, that is, it is exclusively genetic in nature and cannot be avoided even through reinforced preventive measures. Only 2-4% of men suffer from varicocele. The cause of the pathology is the asymmetrical anatomical location and structure of the male genital organs.
Because men suffer from false shyness or don't have time to see a specialist early in the disease, varicose veins are more difficult for them than for women.
Female varicose veins 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 weaker sex who prefer this lifestyle or experience the following conditions:
- wear tight high-heeled shoes;
- sedentary or standing work;
- hereditary predisposition;
- changes in hormone levels during pregnancy or with autoimmune diseases;
- wearing very tight underwear, jeans;
- low percentage of fruits and vegetables in the diet (constant diets and hunger);
- love of tanning (frequent visits to the solarium or direct exposure to the sun);
- marked weight gain;
- low mobility.
Pregnancy is where the "dog is buried"
Even though the manifestations of varicose veins, whose causes and treatments should be established and prescribed only by a phlebologist, are not initially observed in women, in 30% of cases it becomes evident during pregnancy. Here, the main trap is in the growing fetus and, with it, in the uterus, which intensely compress the pelvic organs. As a result, blood circulation in the lower body is significantly impaired. The return flow of blood from the legs upwards is difficult. This effect on the deep veins of the legs leads to the vessels being actively elongated in both width and 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:
Complications of varicose veins
If varicose veins are left untreated and given attention, then over time the patient can develop very serious complications that may even require full surgical intervention. In the worst case, the patient can undergo amputation of the sick limb. Next, we will consider the most common and dangerous complications of varicose veins.
chronic venous insufficiency
With the development of such a complication, there is an active failure of the venous valves. In addition, the pathological process is divided into four steps:
Important:the signs of chronic venous insufficiency are itchy legs, pain, burning sensation in a long sitting position, swelling, nocturnal cramps.
Thrombophlebitis of superficial veins
In this case, the patient develops a tendency to form blood clots. Clots actively block the lumen of the veins, making blood flow difficult. In most cases, blood clots and clots are located in the vessels in the lower third of the thigh or upper third of the leg. The symptoms of venous thrombophlebitis are:
- redness of the skin on the legs at sites of clot formation;
- leg pain;
- on palpation - hardening of the veins.
Important:in thrombophlebitis, it is necessary to wear a compression stocking. The compression formula must be selected by a specialist - angiosurgeon or phlebologist.
This complication manifests itself in the more advanced stages of venous insufficiency. First, the patient develops increased vascular permeability. An off-white seal with a varnish-like surface forms on the surface of the skin. An ulcer forms under it. At the smallest wound in the inflamed area, the ulcer opens and separation of the exudate begins. The discharge wound can be secondarily infected, which leads to purulent inflammatory processes.
Important:in this condition, complete wound healing is necessary first, and only after complete surgical intervention is performed to remove the affected vessels.
An equally dangerous complication, in which a thrombus breaks off from the inflamed vein and moves toward the pulmonary artery. This artery is directly involved in organizing blood flow into a small circle, affecting the right ventricle of the heart. If the diameter of the detached thrombus is smaller than the lumen of the artery, the clot moves to the branches of the pulmonary artery, causing pulmonary edema or infarction. In this case, the patient will experience 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, there is an instantaneous blockage and death for the patient.
Separation of a blood clot can be triggered by the following conditions:
- performing surgical interventions;
- cardiac insufficiency;
- 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 early stages of varicose veins.
As additional measures in the conservative treatment of varicose veins, physical activity (walking) and the use of compression stockings are presented.
Minimally invasive and surgical treatment methods
If the process of varicose veins and venous insufficiency has gone far, they resort to minimally invasive or full-fledged surgical intervention to improve the patient's condition. Minimally invasive methods of intervention include the following:
A complete surgical intervention (abdominal operation) is called a phlebectomy. With this method, the surgeon makes a complete incision in the skin of the leg to remove the entire superficial vein. The indications for such an operation are:
- a large volume of varicose veins;
- large cavity (lumen) of diseased vessels (greater 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
In the early stages of the condition, you can also turn to popular 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 need to change these apps every 2-3 hours. The course of treatment is even a clear improvement of the condition.
- Potatoes. A bandage soaked in freshly squeezed potato juice is applied to the legs. Cover the top with plastic wrap. These applications are best done at night, until the patient's condition improves.
- Apple vinegar. Preferably homemade. Vinegar is diluted with water (1 cup of water and 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar). A dressing is moistened with 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 recommended to take vinegar and water 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 esophagus walls are very susceptible to acid). Drink the mixture in the morning on an empty stomach. The course of treatment with vinegar is 30 days.
- Chestnut from India. Plant flowers worth 50 gr. pour 0, 5 liters of alcohol and insist for two weeks in a dark place, periodically stirring the mixture. The finished product is filtered through a net and drunk three times a day, one tablespoon at a time. The mixture is watered down 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. It can then be prepared again and the therapy regimen repeated.
- Burdock. In this case, fresh leaves from the plant are used to eliminate the disease. At night, the aching feet are smeared with Vishnevsky's ointment and wrapped around the top with a burdock leaf. All are fixed with a bandage and put on compression stockings. The dressing is used for three days, then it is removed and everything is washed. It is possible to 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 noteworthy that varicose veins are an irreversible pathology in most cases. Therefore, it is very important to take care of the health of your feet. Especially if there is a genetic predisposition to varicose veins. All you have to do is abandon bad habits, make your daily diet balanced, walk more and drink plenty of clean water each day. Upon appearance of the slightest signs of varicose veins, it is advisable to immediately contact a competent phlebologist to prevent complications of the disease. Remember that your health and the inner health of your feet are entirely up to you. And modern medicine and the hands of a professional can work wonders.