The expansion of the veins in the legs is an insidious disease, since the symptoms of varicose veins for the patient become noticeable only when the expressed stage of the disease sets in and all sorts of complications begin.
A pronounced clinical picture manifests itself only after many years, and the lack of taking timely measures ends in disability or death of the patient. Therefore, it is very important to identify the very first signs of trouble. This will help to take timely measures and avoid surgery.
Who suffers from varicose veins
Most often, varicose veins are observed in women (according to statistics, one out of three women suffers from this disease). This is explained by the following reasons:
- Pregnancy can provoke the development of the disease. In this state, an increase in body weight, an increase in pressure in the veins due to an increase in the uterus, as well as hormonal changes in the body, contribute to blood stagnation.
- Taking hormonal contraceptives.
- Wearing uncomfortable high-heeled shoes.
In men, varicose veins are less common. This usually happens during sports with weight lifting, as well as during hard physical work.
Regardless of the sex of a person, the disease often occurs with a forced static position of the body, hereditary predisposition, obesity.
Doctors note that it is typical for men to seek help in an advanced stage of the disease. They pay less attention to early signs because they are less careful about their appearance. Women, having discovered in themselves a vascular network, go to the doctor in order to get rid of it, as from a cosmetic defect.
If we talk about the symptoms, it should be noted that it depends on the severity and neglect of varicose veins. For the convenience of diagnosis, experts distinguish four stages in the development of the disease.
The initial stage is characterized by the following symptoms:
- feeling of heaviness in the legs after a working day, long walking or standing;
- tiredness and pain;
- the appearance of spider veins (telangiectasias)
- swelling in the ankle area.
All these manifestations disappear after a night's rest, but reappear in the evening. These signs characterize the first stage of the disease, when the venous system first fails and blood stagnation begins. There is an increase in pressure on the vascular wall, its lumen increases, and the internal valves stop closing completely and allow the blood to partially return back.
When examining the patient, there are no visible changes. A slight pastiness can be noted in the lower part of the lower leg. As a rule, there are no complaints during this period. Patients usually explain minor manifestations with banal fatigue.
At this stage, it is possible to successfully treat varicose veins, since there are no irreversible changes yet. The vascular wall does not stretch, and keeps its previous shape. It is enough to identify the underlying cause of stagnation and eliminate it.
If the pathological process continues, then the stagnation of blood increases, the structure of the venous walls is disturbed, the vessels expand, and the valves in them do not close. In this case, the patient notes:
- pronounced heaviness and a feeling of fullness in the lower legs;
- a pronounced feeling of fatigue, soreness;
- the appearance of enlarged veins in the popliteal fossa and other places;
- the occurrence of cramps in the calf muscles at night;
- change in sensitivity, feeling of "creeping";
- symptoms do not go away even after lying flat during sleep.
At this stage, functional disorders of the venous outflow and the formation of varicose nodules begin.
Symptoms of varicose veins of the lower extremities at this stage are caused by severe congestion and circulatory disorders in the skin and muscle tissue of the legs:
- visible varicose nodules and saccular enlargements appear;
- veins lengthen, begin to protrude under the skin, acquire a characteristic tortuosity (primarily on the inner surface of the thigh or lower leg);
- the skin becomes dry and thinner, dermatitis may develop;
- in the distal part of the leg, brown spots appear, areas of pigmentation and compaction of subcutaneous tissue appear;
- swelling, heaviness and pain in the legs (it is pulsating, burning, occurs along the venous trunk);
- severe fatigue and pain syndrome do not go away after sleep, grow and intensify in the evening, interfere with free movement;
- muscle cramps are becoming more common;
- toenails break and change their structure, hair falls out.
Stage four (development of complications)
At the last stage of varicose veins, all of the above symptoms intensify, and severe venous insufficiency and tissue malnutrition lead to the development of life-threatening complications:
Trophic ulcers appear. They heal slowly, causing pain and intense suffering. Signs of ulcer development are:
- itching and burning in a certain area of the skin;
- discoloration - the appearance of a rounded spot with uneven edges; purple or purple with the subsequent formation of a scab and wound surface.
In the future, it all depends on the treatment. The ulcer has smooth edges and various types of discharge - serous, purulent, hemorrhagic, fibrin streaks are noted in it.
With adequate therapy, the last stage of development is scarring. The addition of an infection leads to the development of gangrene, which is difficult to treat with antibacterial agents, and can lead to loss of a limb or sepsis and death.
A pronounced thinning of the vein wall under increasing blood pressure or minor trauma causes a rupture of the vessel, followed by massive bleeding.
Congestion and inflammation cause blood clots to form in the veins of the legs. With thrombosis, certain symptoms occur:
- severe pain in the thrombosis area;
- redness and increased temperature of the skin in the area of the thrombus projection;
- pain and thickening of the vein when palpating;
- increased skin sensitivity.
Similar symptoms of varicose veins in the legs are an indication for hospitalization. Otherwise, the consequences can be quite serious. Thrombophlebitis is dangerous because when a blood clot is torn off, it enters the system of large arteries that supply the brain, kidneys, lungs and heart muscle. This phenomenon is highly likely to result in the development of a heart attack, blockage of the pulmonary artery or stroke.
Varicose veins of the legs
It should be noted that the development of the disease also depends on the localization of the lesion process. If varicose veins pass along the descending path, then the outflow disturbance occurs along the great saphenous vein of the thigh, with typical symptoms of the disease.
But there is also an ascending path, in which valve insufficiency is noted in the vessels located inside. This phenomenon is rare in its pure form, the reason for it is the complete absence of the valve apparatus or an anomaly of its development in a certain part of the vein.
What are the signs of deep vein varicose veins of the lower extremities? With congestion in deep veins, the clinical picture may not appear for a long time, the pathological process proceeds imperceptibly for a rather long time. Such hidden varicose veins are very dangerous, and are often first diagnosed with the development of thrombosis with complete occlusion, when there is severe pain, swelling, redness or blue discoloration of the limb. In the complete absence of the passage of blood through a large vessel, venous gangrene develops.
But this phenomenon is quite rare. Most often, internal varicose veins cannot be isolated for a long time, since there is a communication system between the superficial and deep veins, and blood is released through the perforating veins. In this case, the symptoms of the disease will be the same as with the defeat of superficial veins.
When the first signs of venous stasis appear, you should not waste time, you should immediately consult a doctor and follow his recommendations.