Women are most susceptible to varicose veins. Hereditary predisposition is a major disadvantage. Increase the risk of encountering varicose veins: such factors:
- wrong lifestyle: poor diet, bad habits, insufficient physical activity;
- certain professional activities: long standing or sitting position (office jobs, cooks, salespeople, teachers and others);
- Features of human health: comorbidities, pregnancy, use of certain drugs, obesity;
- Favorite clothing style: wearing tight pants or dresses, high heels.
Varicose veins are classified according to the location and extent of venous lesions, the rate of progression, the form of the disease and the risk of complications. There are 4 main stages in the development of varicose veins (stages of the disease).
In addition, there is another common systematization developed by the surgeon. The latter is based on the degree of the body's ability to withstand the disease and compensate for deviations on its own. Treatment for varicose veins depends on the diagnosed stage of the disease.
The first warning signs
The first alarm bells almost always go unnoticed as they show no visible symptoms or specific signs. The so-called zero stage of varicose veins (varicose veins in the early stages) or their manifestations are usually associated with flat feet, osteochondrosis, physical fatigue after exercise, unusual high heels, tight clothing and uncomfortable shoes or banal symptoms of fatigue.
Thinking about a common blood vessel disorder that can be a lot of trouble doesn't feel like it at all. But often some people are later diagnosed with varicose veins.
It is not easy to pinpoint first-degree (and even more zero) varicose veins yourself. If you feel heavy in your legs and you are regularly tired, which increases in the evening, it is advisable to consult a phlebologist - a specialist in venous diseases.
In the zero stage of varicose veins, the symptoms still do not cause significant discomfort and go away after a good rest. Over time, it is not so easy to get rid of the heaviness. Fatigue does not go away, the following symptoms of varicose veins are added, already more characteristic, but still typical of most leg diseases.
The easiest way to prevent the further development of varicose veins in the lower extremities is early on. Most likely, the doctor will advise strict adherence to preventive measures and light medicinal creams, compresses and baths. Treatment of varicose veins includes, for example:
- Wearing compression stockings, golf or tights (the required degree of compression can be set manually);
- wear anatomically correct shoes;
- Performing a special series of exercises;
- Normalization of weight;
- Swimming lessons;
- giving up bad habits, etc.
Varicose veins in their early stages
In the first stage of varicose veins, there are other characteristic symptoms in addition to the mild symptoms:
- Swelling of the lower extremities;
- Heaviness and fullness in the legs;
- night cramps;
- painful sensations in the legs;
- Consolidation of dilated veins.
The main symptom of the early stage of varicose veins are cosmetic defects. It is the spider veins and translucent veins that lead most women to visit a phlebologist on the eve of the beach season or to buy a cream at the pharmacy themselves that will help to quickly resolve such an aesthetic problem.
First-degree varicose veins necessarily require special treatment. In addition to lifestyle adjustments and local exposure of the affected areas, sclerotherapy or ozone therapy is often used to heal varicose veins.
The action of sclerotherapy is aimed at connecting the vein walls in damaged areas and restoring normal blood circulation. The procedure is not an operation, it preserves the integrity of the circulatory and lymphatic systems and can easily be combined with other treatment methods.
Ozone therapy is a procedure with a general healing effect: ozone nourishes the body cells with oxygen and normalizes the blood circulation. The treatment method is absolutely painless, but has an extensive list of contraindications.
First-degree varicose veins are still relatively easy to cure. Varicose veins are only successfully stopped in the early stages by similar physiotherapeutic procedures. If you neglect therapy at the beginning, albeit minor, but alarming symptoms, then complex treatment will be required in the future. In this case, a neglected disease, for example, the last stage of varicose veins, requires surgical intervention.
Varicose veins should be treated as early as possible. In just 11 years, varicose veins make a person disabled if death does not occur sooner from complications.
The further progression of varicose veins is characterized by a deterioration in the patient's condition and the addition of other symptoms of the disease:
- the pain grows stronger;
- Complaints do not always go away even after a long break;
- Swelling of the legs increases;
- Itching occurs in the affected area;
- Numbness of the lower extremities occurs;
- Vein nodules become lighter and more visible;
- Slight skin pigmentation occurs.
At stage 2 of varicose veins, it becomes almost impossible to ignore the disease. Varicose veins in the legs significantly impair the patient's quality of life and force even irresponsible patients to seek medical help.
How can one cure the disease at this stage of the disease? Effective treatment for stage 2 varicose veins can still be traditional, that is, it does not require surgical intervention. However, the final decision on the choice of therapy form is made exclusively by the phlebologist, based on the patient's condition, the progression of the varicose veins, concomitant diseases and complications.
At the third degree of varicose veins (the beginning of the decompensation stage according to Saveliev V. S. ), the venous nodes increase to large sizes. They not only shine through, but also bulge out from under the skin. Stage 3 varicose veins are characterized by the maximum possible degree of varicose veins, severe pain and the risk of damage to the inflamed veins in everyday life.
The pigmentation of the skin changes: it turns dark brown or purple. The skin becomes uncomfortably dry, which is why dermatitis or eczema are not uncommon. Problems of this type force the patient to see a dermatologist.
A change in the texture of the skin at the third degree of varicose veins indicates an increased risk of the disease progressing to the next stage when trophic ulcers appear.
As a result of other symptoms, the inflamed venous nodes can be damaged in daily life. This can cause them to burst and bleed internally. In addition, the patient easily suffers not only damage to the skin (bruises and abrasions are constant), but also more serious injuries caused by a significant weakening of the bones and joints.
Special ointments and creams can temporarily relieve symptoms, but not in all cases. However, they are no longer effective in treating Grade 3 diseases. Treatment of varicose veins of the lower extremities at this stage of the disease is most often only radical.
The goal of surgical intervention is to restore normal blood flow and eliminate lumps that have appeared in the walls of blood vessels. There are different types of operations. The doctor individually selects a specific method of radical treatment of 3rd degree varicose veins for a particular patient.
Fourth and further degree
Grade 4 varicose veins of the lower extremities are characterized by soft tissue damage and trophic changes in the skin. At this stage, any existing symptoms (painful sensations, swelling, dermatological problems) are even more pronounced, in some cases the blood vessels can no longer function normally. This leads to necrosis of the affected areas of the lower extremities.
Grade 5 varicose veins are trophic ulcers that have healed. In stage 6, varicose veins take a complicated chronic course. Ulcers practically no longer heal, it becomes difficult for the patient to move independently. At the same time, difficulties are associated not only with the pain of the damaged areas, but also with the fact that the veins are severely swollen, the legs become heavy.
It is very difficult to completely cure varicose veins of both the fourth and subsequent degrees. The only therapy, of course, is major surgery. In advanced cases, complications during the operation are possible.
Another popular systematization of symptoms of varicose veins of the lower extremities was developed by a surgeon and doctor of medicine. The classification identifies only 3 stages of the course of the disease, depending on the progression of the pathology and the body's ability to repair itself:
- Compensation level. Pain is absent or very slight. Slight swelling that may appear after exercising. Spider veins appear.
- Partial compensation phase. Severe tiredness, increased pain sensations, cramps, feeling of fullness in the legs, swelling in the evening and cramps at night.
- Decompensation phase. Violation of the skin's ability to regenerate: Even small wounds and abrasions take a long time to heal. Skin pigmentation, protruding venous nodes, severe pain and discomfort. In the decompensation stage, the whole body suffers: bones and muscles weaken, hair begins to fall out.
Prevention of varicose veins
In order to avoid serious consequences of the disease and the need for surgical intervention, you should immediately pay attention to even the most insignificant alarming symptoms and consult a specialist.
Prevention of varicose veins includes: practicable sports (especially when sedentary), getting rid of excess weight, contrast baths for the legs, normalization of diet and the abandonment of bad habits.
It is very important to choose the right shoes and clothes. It is advisable to only wear sturdy heels up to 5 cm in height and to avoid tight pants (also popular skinny jeans, which have a negative effect on the blood vessels) and dresses. Compression stockings are recommended for patients with a predisposition to varicose veins.
Varicose veins are a fairly common condition and develop quickly. It is very important to follow the main preventive measures and timely treat not only varicose veins, but also other acute or chronic pathologies.