Varicose veins are one of the most common pathologies affecting one in four people in the world today.
Scientists have been studying pathology since ancient times. Varicose veins are divided into classifications - according to the types and complexity of the course of the disease.
What is varicose veins?
Varicose veins or varicose veins are a vascular disease that results from swelling of the veins. They swell due to the fact that they lose their elasticity and begin to deform under the weight of the blood.
When the disease begins to develop, it first affects the small capillaries and only then passes into the veins. Due to certain factors, the blood circulation in the limbs is disturbed. In order for the blood to rise, the pressure increases and displaces it. But because of its own density, it cannot fully ascend.
Therefore, the remnants run down the veins and clog into so-called "pockets", which appear as a result of the weakening of the blood vessels. After a while, the accumulated blood clumps into blood clots by sticking the blood cells - erythrocytes - together.
Thus, varicose veins can be called pathological changes in the vessels, most commonly in the lower extremities.
But it occurs on the hands and even on the genitals. The veins are elongated and can be seen through the skin. The first symptom of varicose veins is the appearance of spider veins and stars. This suggests that the outflow of blood is being violated, and in parallel, the vessels are being destroyed. To avoid complications, you should contact a phlebologist immediately if you find a vascular pattern under the skin.
According to statistics, 20 out of 100 people have varicose veins, and 10 of them are unaware of the development of this disease. Varicose veins affect the fair sex more, as women have more and more causes of the disease - high heels, pregnancy, hereditary factors.
Why does venous occlusion occur?
The formation of varicose veins is caused by a number of factors.
Consider the most basic:
- Walking and physical activity. Those who spend a lot of time in a vertical position, such as standing work, are at risk. When a person is standing, the veins are under pressure. If we consider the force of attraction, it becomes clear that the veins are deformed at this moment. That’s why it’s important to warm up, sometimes sit down. Squat or do exercises in the meantime. In addition, with too much physical exertion, the blood vessels can be stretched. As a result, natural plasticity is lost over time, leading to varicose veins.
- hereditary predisposition. Cardiovascular disease has long been shown to be inherited. Specifically, it is not the varicose veins that spread at the genetic level, but the structural features of the vascular network throughout the body that may be prone to different types of vascular pathologies.
- Hormonal imbalance is most often caused by a disorder of the endocrine system. The female body often goes through hormonal changes throughout her life - during puberty, during pregnancy, during menstruation, during menopause, at that time. When men are only affected by transition-related hormonal disorders.
- Violation of the functioning of the nervous system directly affects the tone of the vessel wall. Excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, medication, constant stress - all of which destroy nerve cells, resulting in decreased flexibility and elasticity of venous networks. And this is a direct path to varicose veins.
- Other diseases that can cause varicose veins. The load on the veins increases with a variety of pathological processes - from colds to surgery. Thus, it can be concluded that any disease
Interestingly, previous varicose veins were considered a disease in those over 40 years of age. Now this pathology affects even young people aged 18-22. This is caused by hormonal disorders, malnutrition, an overactive or sedentary lifestyle.
How does the disease manifest itself?
Varicose veins can have a variety of symptoms. An advanced stage is easily recognizable in itself and is quite difficult to identify in the initial stage when it is easiest to handle.
The main signs of varicose veins are:
- constant tiredness in the legs, especially after a long walk
- swelling in the legs
- manifestation of vascular pattern on top of skin
- with intense progression of the disease, venous nodules and cyanosis appear
- the bulging vein is very sore and itching may occur around it
In addition, there may be other symptoms associated with circulatory problems - changes in blood pressure, heart problems.
The symptoms described cannot be ignored as they may indicate diseases other than varicose veins.
Classification of varicose veins
As mentioned above, scientists have been studying varicose veins for more than a century. During this time, several classifications of this disease have been determined.
Classification by disease stages:
- Compensation A is the stage in which there is no complaint. No cramps, swelling or pain. But on examination, the veins on one or both limbs stand out;
- Compensation B is manifested by bulging of the veins, pain, itching in the area of the nodes, intermittent cramps, swelling, and itching.
- Decompensation is the last stage in which, in addition to all venous symptoms, skin diseases appear - dermatitis, eczema. The skin dries out, begins to peel off, cracks. The capillaries rupture and subcutaneous bleeding results in hyperpigmentation, which is manifested in a purple-burgundy hue.
Classification according to the form of the pathology:
- vascular disease without reflux
- segmental lesion with abnormal shunt
- extensive lesion with abnormal shunt
- the zero stage in which varicose veins are just beginning to form. However, the symptoms are completely absent - pain, itching, tiredness, swelling. Occasionally there may be fatigue and heaviness in the legs.
- the first stage, in which the vascular networks and stars are already visible through the skin. In rare cases, seizures may occur
- the second - the veins dilate, meaning the blood vessels lose their elasticity, and the sagging veins appear as small tubers that are visible to the naked eye
- the third stage is characterized by the appearance of swelling of the ankle and foot. It doesn't go away after rest.
- fourth degree of varicose veins - dermatitis, dryness, skin lesions
- the fifth stage of varicose veins is the appearance of a pre-ulcer condition in which the skin constantly ruptures, appearing blue or burgundy. The wounds hurt, the swelling is not relieved, the veins are not hiding
- the sixth stage is trophic ulcer. It is a wound that has the characteristic of not healing. That is, it is a constantly open wound that hurts a lot, the skin around it is itchy, and if it swells, the wound can grow.
If you are guided by the international classification, sections 1-3 are still suitable for conservative treatment. But more advanced forms of the disease only require surgery in which the veins are surgically removed.
Diagnosis of the disease
Only a specialist can diagnose varicose veins and determine the stage of the pathology after multiple examinations of the patient. Swelling and pain may also occur with other conditions.
Even the most experienced phlebologist or vascular surgeon cannot make a diagnosis based on symptoms alone.
Diagnosis consists of palpation and examination. The doctor will examine the veins and assess their condition. The patient should then have a blood test to find out the characteristics, the number of blood cells, the coagulability and the rate at which the red blood cells settle.
It is also important to confirm or rule out the presence of pathogenic bacteria or viruses in the body.
A mandatory element of the study is ultrasound diagnostics, which allows the physician to see the full picture.
That is, this method helps to see the condition of the veins and the degree of "blockage. " An X-ray may also be needed.
If your doctor suspects other pathologies during the test, you may need to be tested by another doctor, such as a cardiologist, endocrinologist, gynecologist, and other specialists. The fact is that the cause of the pathology must be clearly identified before starting treatment, and this may vary.
Methods of treatment
There are a number of therapeutic methods for varicose veins. The type of treatment depends directly on the severity of the disease, the stage of venous occlusion and the general condition of the patient.
Consider the main methods:
- Conservative treatment involves complex therapy aimed at relieving symptoms and eliminating the main cause of varicose veins. First, you need to relieve the pain and inflammation caused by the vascular damage. It is also necessary to drink a diuretic that helps to remove fluid that has accumulated in the body due to damaged blood circulation. At the same time, doctors are prescribing drugs that dilute the blood, strengthening the walls of capillaries and veins. Thus, the drugs work in all respects and come relief. This method is relevant in the early stages of the disease. That is, in the case of trophic ulcers or the condition presented, such a method will be ineffective.
- Surgical treatment of varicose veins. During surgery, damaged veins and venous areas with a high degree of occlusion are removed.
Laser surgery is the modern and most common way to get rid of affected blood vessels. Unlike surgery, there is no long recovery period for laser therapy. That is, you can return to your normal lifestyle immediately after the procedure.
With timely treatment, the predictions are generally positive. That is, if you do not tighten the varicose veins, the disease is not so terrible. Otherwise, complications may occur.
In addition to developing varicose veins and turning into trophic ulcers, they disrupt a number of vital processes as it completely disrupts blood circulation in the body.