Diagnosis, stages and treatment of varicose veins in the legs
Many people do not take the first signs of varicose veins seriously, considering them only a cosmetic defect. In fact, this is not the case. The disease is complex, complicated, can significantly worsen a person's overall health and lead to dangerous consequences.
In addition, it adversely affects the patient's well-being, performance and appearance. Therefore, early diagnosis and proper treatment will help prevent the development of the disease and protect the body from many negative manifestations of varicose veins.
Causes and symptoms of varicose veins
One of the main reasons for the development of varicose veins, most researchers believe, is hereditary. If there is varicose veins in the family, it can be argued that family members have a higher risk of getting sick.
The next most common condition is increased load on the legs, which leads to disruption of blood flow and venous valves. The risk group is people who are overweight, lead a sedentary lifestyle, work sedentary or spend a lot of time on their feet. Smokers, people with hormonal and endocrine diseases, blood diseases and heavy physical activity are also at risk of getting the disease.
Timely diagnosis of varicose veins in the legs is very important to determine the causes of the disease. People with a family history of illness, even if they have no symptoms, should be examined regularly. If symptoms occur, this should be done as soon as possible.
As with other diseases, varicose veins that are "caught" in the early stages are treated more effectively.
The patient is able to prevent the rapid development of the disease and the formation of extremely ugly and very painful nodules in the limbs.
Signs of varicose veins may include:
- Weight that increases significantly after the slightest tension in the legs, but can also be seen in a completely calm state.
- Swelling of the lower leg, ankle and head.
- Dull aching pains, cramps, "bursting" of tissues from the inside and a burning sensation in the legs, especially after stress.
- The appearance of thrombophlebitis, ie an inflammatory process in the wall of a blood vessel filled with thrombus.
As the disease progresses, the walls of the blood vessels become wider, thinner, and form large varicose nodules. They can be located in different places (hemorrhoids, a certain form of varicose veins), but are especially noticeable and painful in the lower extremities. If the disease begins, the patient will have difficulty moving, suffer from persistent pain, deteriorate health, and lose the ability to work.
Without treatment or a wrong choice, varicose veins can have an extremely negative impact on health and can lead to the development of many dangerous complications.
Stages of the disease
The symptoms of varicose veins depend on the stage of the disease.
According to international standards, it is customary to consider 6 stages of the disease:
- Stage 0- from the beginning of the disease, the patient has no doubt that he is already ill. External manifestations are not observed, but a person occasionally complains of pain and heaviness, cramps and swelling in the legs, which come at night after the slightest tension. Symptoms of the disease may not be detected during a full examination, but you can expect its manifestation at any time.
- Stage 1- at this stage, in addition to the patient's complaints, spider veins or even a mesh of them appear on the legs. Seeing a doctor for a complete diagnosis and starting treatment can prevent the development of a full-fledged disease, protect the beauty and health of the legs.
- Stage 2- are considered true varicose veins. During this period, a complete "set" sign is observed - from the patient's constant complaints to the development of enlarged blood vessels and the formation of nodules under the skin of the extremities. Symptoms and external manifestations increase significantly after tension, walking on the heels or sitting still for a long time.
- Step 3- The patient's condition worsens as the swelling is added to the already existing symptoms. It usually disappears after a night's rest, but in the evening the patient's legs become very swollen and sore again. Swelling causes nutrient stagnation, darkening of the skin, swelling and sores. Inflammatory processes gradually develop from small areas to large areas of damage. When an infection is added, erythema occurs with weeping superficial lesions, which are very difficult to heal. White areas of atrophic skin appear on the body, which can lead to the development of trophic ulcers.
- Stage 4- the patient's condition is complicated by the appearance of trophic ulcers that have healed successfully so far.
- Stage 5- incurable trophic ulcers. The general condition of the patient is not satisfactory.
Proper diagnosis of varicose veins in the legs will help to determine not only the disease itself, but also the stage of the disease. The smaller it is, the easier the treatment will be and the most optimal effect can be achieved.
Advanced varicose veins can be aggravated by eczema and thrombophlebitis.
If the disease is left untreated or the use of inappropriate drugs can lead to the following problems:
- Trophic ulcers. It is painful, not aesthetic, can be severely inflamed, and is difficult to treat. If the cause is not eliminated, they can open it again and again.
- Acute form of superficial vascular thrombophlebitis.
- Bleeding from nodes caused by varicose veins. It occurs when the walls of blood vessels rupture and cause massive bleeding. If not stopped in time, blood loss can be significant enough to lead to death.
- Thromboembolism, that is, the rupture of a thrombus by blood flow to another location that can cause thrombosis. If it enters a large vessel such as the pulmonary artery, the embolism can cause serious problems or death.
- Milky or blue edema. These conditions indicate damage to various blood vessels, cause severe pain, cause trophic ulcers, and can sometimes be the beginning of tissue death due to acute malnutrition. This can lead to amputation of the joint, especially in severe cases.
The main diagnosis of varicose veins in the legs is Doppler ultrasound. In this way, the doctor can not only detect dilated vessels, but also assess the condition of the valves of deep and superficial vessels, determine the presence of blood clots or other formations in the lumen of the vessels.
The procedure is painless for the patient, performed while lying down or in a prone position, and sometimes the doctor asks the patient to stand up to detect lesions that are not visible in another position.
No questionnaire required.
In addition, the patient may be prescribed other types of examinations and tests. A blood test that shows fluid status and a tendency for increased thrombosis is important.
Features of treatment
After the diagnosis of varicose veins in the legs, the doctor will choose the appropriate treatment depending on the stage of the disease.
All types of effects on the disease can be divided into:
When the state is extremely indifferent and conservative methods cannot be used to achieve a positive effect, the latter methods are used. In this case, surgical excision is performed on the affected areas of the vessels. Immediately after the intervention, special compression underwear is required. Generally, the patient is allowed to go home one day after the operation.
If the disease is detected in time, you can resort to a conservative method. Includes medication, sclerotherapy or laser coagulation and compression.
The choice of medication depends on many factors, so it is selected individually for each patient by the attending physician.
Often the list of drugs includes anticoagulants, which help to thin the blood and prevent blood clots, and anti-inflammatory drugs to treat and stop the spread of phlebitis.
Sclerotherapy is the injection of a special substance into a vessel that causes the walls of blood vessels to stick together. A scar is formed, the patient's blood vessel is "turned off" from the bloodstream, and over time it dies and resolves. There are no traces of previous blue veins or "stars" on the surface of the body. The procedure is very fast and does not require anesthesia.
Laser coagulation is used if larger vessels need to be removed. For him, under local anesthesia, a special light guide is placed in the vein carrying the laser beam. It seals the ark and freezes the blood inside. As a result, multiple sclerosis dies in the same way as small vessels.
Compression underwear is prescribed by a doctor, who also chooses the type and class of the product. The use of such a tool can also be prophylactic. This requires special (not medicated! ) Socks. These are shown to people at risk, often sitting or standing.
An active and healthy lifestyle is the best prevention of varicose veins.
If you follow these tips, you can prevent the development of varicose veins:
- Lose weight. Obesity or overweight contributes to the development of many diseases, including varicose veins.
- Eliminate excessive loads inside the arteries caused by strenuous exercise. The main "saboteurs" are weightlifting, bodybuilding, tennis.
- Stop wearing shoes that bother you with high heels every day. It should only be used on special occasions and lower, more durable heels are suitable for everyday use.
- Avoid using elastic band socks and underwear that constrict blood vessels. Things equipped with rubber bands are especially dangerous.
- Avoid very long hot baths, baths and saunas, stay in direct sunlight.
- Smoking can be one of the most disturbing factors in the circulatory system, so it should be avoided.
Stopping work while standing or sitting for moderate exercise, regular walks, walks or sports will help you never get acquainted with this dangerous and unpleasant disease - varicose veins.