Diagnosis, stages and treatment of varicose veins in the legs
Many people do not take the first signs of varicose veins seriously, considering it only a cosmetic flaw. In fact, this is not the case. The disease is complex, complex, it can significantly worsen the general health of a person and lead to dangerous consequences.
In addition, it negatively affects the well-being, performance and appearance of the patient. 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 why varicose veins develop, most researchers consider heredity. If there were cases of varicose veins in the family, it can be argued that the members of the family have a much higher risk of getting sick.
The next most frequent case is the increased load on the legs, leading to impaired blood flow and venous valves. At risk are people with great excess weight, with a sedentary lifestyle, sedentary work or spending a lot of time on their feet. Smokers, people with hormonal and endocrine disorders, blood diseases, and heavy physical exertion are also at risk of getting the disease.
In order to identify the causes of the disease, timely diagnosis of varicose veins in the legs is very important. People with a family history of the disease should be tested regularly, even if there are no signs. If symptoms appear, this should be done as quickly as possible.
As with other diseases, varicose veins "captured" in the early stages are treated much more effectively.
The patient manages to prevent the rapid development of the disease and the appearance of extremely ugly and very painful nodes on the limbs.
Signs of the presence of varicose veins may be the following:
- Heaviness in the legs, which increases significantly after the slightest exertion, but can also appear in a state of complete calm.
- Swelling of the lower leg, ankle and instep.
- Soreness of the legs, which is manifested by dull aching pains, cramps, sensations of "bursting" of tissues from the inside and burning, especially after exertion.
- The appearance of thrombophlebitis, that is, an inflammatory process in the wall of a vessel filled with a thrombus.
With the development of the disease, the walls of blood vessels become wider, thinner and form large varicose nodes. They can be located in different places (hemorrhoids are a particular form of varicose veins), but they are especially noticeable and painful on the lower extremities. If the disease is started, it will be difficult for the patient to move around, he will suffer from constant pain, his health will worsen, and his working capacity will decrease.
Without treatment or with the wrong choice, varicose veins can have an extremely negative impact on health and 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 take into account 6 stages of the disease:
- Stage 0- the very beginning of the disease, when the patient himself may not even suspect that he is already sick. External manifestations are not observed, but a person periodically complains of pain and heaviness in the legs, cramps and swelling that come at night after the slightest exertion. Signs of the disease may not be detected even with a full examination, but you can expect their 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 full diagnosis and starting treatment can prevent the development of a full-fledged disease, preserve the beauty and health of the legs.
- Stage 2- is considered to be the actual varicose veins. During this period, a full "set" of signs is observed - from constant complaints of the patient to the development of enlarged veins and the formation of nodules under the skin of the extremities. Symptoms and external manifestations are significantly worse after exertion, walking in heels, or prolonged motionless sitting.
- Stage 3- the patient's condition worsens, as puffiness joins the already existing symptoms. Usually it disappears after a night's rest, but by the evening the patient's legs again become very swollen and sore. The swelling leads to stagnation of nutrients, the skin becomes dark, swollen and sore. Inflammatory processes gradually develop from small areas to large areas of damage. When an infection is attached, erysipelas occurs with weeping superficial lesions, which are very difficult to heal. Whitish areas of atrophied skin appear on the body, which subsequently threaten to turn into trophic ulcers.
- Stage 4- the patient's condition is complicated by the appearance of trophic ulcers, which have so far been successfully healed.
- Stage 5- non-healing trophic ulcers. The general condition of the patient is unsatisfactory.
Correctly performed diagnostics of varicose veins in the legs will help not only to identify the disease itself, but also the stage of the disease. The smaller it is, the easier the treatment will be and the faster the optimal effect can be achieved.
Advanced varicose veins can be complicated by eczema and thrombophlebitis.
If the disease is left untreated or the use of inappropriate means, then it can be complicated by the following problems:
- Trophic ulcers. They are painful, unaesthetic, can become severely inflamed, and are difficult to treat. If the cause is not eliminated, they can open again and again.
- Acute form of superficial vein thrombophlebitis.
- Bleeding from nodes formed from thinned vessels with varicose veins. They arise from ruptures of the walls of blood vessels, leading to massive bleeding. If it is not stopped in time, then the blood loss can be so significant that it will lead to death.
- Thromboembolism, that is, detachment of a thrombus with its transfer by blood flow to another place where it 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 lesions of various vessels, bring severe suffering, cause the development of trophic ulcers and sometimes can become the beginning of tissue death due to a sharp violation of their nutrition. This can lead to limb amputation in particularly severe cases.
The main diagnosis of varicose veins in the legs is the Doppler ultrasound method. With this method, the doctor can detect not only dilated veins, but also assess the condition of the valves of the deep and superficial veins, identify the presence of blood clots or other formations in the lumen of the vessels.
The procedure is painless for the patient, it is performed in the supine or prone position, sometimes the doctor asks the patient to undergo an additional procedure while standing to reveal lesions that are invisible in another position.
No survey preparation required.
In addition, the patient may be assigned to other types of examinations and tests. A blood test is important, which shows the state of the fluid and its tendency to increased thrombosis.
Peculiarities of treatment
After the diagnosis of varicose veins in the legs is carried out, the doctor will select the appropriate treatment, which depends on the stage of the disease.
All types of impact on the disease can be divided into the following:
The latter methods are used when the state is already very neglected and it is not possible to achieve a positive effect by conservative methods. In this case, surgical excision of the affected areas of the veins is performed. Immediately after the intervention, wearing a special compression garment is required. Usually, within a day after the operation, the patient is allowed to go home.
If the disease is detected on time, you can resort to a conservative method. It includes medication, sclerotherapy or laser coagulation and compression.
The selection of medicines depends on many reasons, therefore it is selected individually for each patient by the attending physician.
Most often, the list of drugs includes anticoagulants, that is, substances that help thin the blood and prevent blood clots, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs to treat phlebitis and stop its spread.
Sclerotherapy is a procedure in which a special substance is injected into a vessel by injection, which causes the vessel walls to stick together. A scar is formed, the diseased vessel is "turned off" from the circulation of blood, and over time it dies and dissolves. On the surface of the body, no traces of the former blue vessels or "stars" remain here. The procedure is very fast and does not require anesthesia.
If larger vessels need to be removed, laser coagulation is used. For him, under local anesthesia, a special light guide is inserted into the vein, which conducts a laser beam. He literally seals the vessel, curdling the blood in it. As a result, it dies off in the same way as smaller vessels during sclerosis.
The wearing of compression underwear is prescribed by a doctor, who also selects the type and class of the product. The use of such a tool can also be preventive. This requires special (not medicinal! ) Hosiery. They are shown to people at risk, those who spend a lot of time on their feet or sitting motionless.
An active and healthy lifestyle is the best prevention of varicose veins.
The development of varicose veins can be prevented if you follow these recommendations:
- Lose weight. The presence of obesity or overweight contributes to the development of many diseases, including varicose veins.
- Remove excessive loads on the veins, including those caused by intense sports. The main "provocateurs" are weightlifting, bodybuilding, tennis.
- Stop wearing uncomfortable shoes with very high heels every day. It should only be used on special occasions, and shoes with a lower, more stable heel are suitable for everyday wear.
- Refuse to use stockings and underwear with elastic bands that compress blood vessels. Things equipped with rubber bands are especially dangerous.
- Refuse too long hot baths, baths and saunas, stay in direct sunlight.
- Smoking can be one of the factors that provoke disturbances in the work of the circulatory system, so it should also be avoided.
Moderate exercise, regular walks, interruption of work while standing or sitting for walking or doing exercise will help you never get acquainted with this dangerous and unpleasant disease - varicose veins.