Easy gait, long walks without fatigue, even in the heels, beautiful ankles and hips that you don't want to hide from others - these are the advantages of healthy legs with no signs of venous disease. Gradually, if a person neglects the prevention of varicose veins, the way and rhythm of life change.
This applies to both women and men. The disease develops in different ways, and the stages of varicose veins in medicine on the subject of identification in a patient always lead to discussion. But you need to understand the classification so as not to miss the moment when varicose veins are treated without surgery.
The essence of the problem
Varicose veins are disorders of the blood flow in the saphenous veins. Due to problems with the venous valves that have to hold the blood in order to get further to the heart, the plasma flows in the opposite direction and stagnates.
Pressure cannot force blood through the veins in the lower extremities, causing the walls to stretch. On the legs, a pattern of stripes and zigzag colors gradually appears with a blue tint, complemented by swellings and bulges in an advanced stage.
However, varicose veins are not immediately recognizable. The problem can progress without visual symptoms, and therefore people who have discomfort in their legs but cannot find protruding veins attribute the discomfort to fatigue.
Varicose veins do not appear on their own as an independent disease. This is just a symptom of a dysfunction of the entire circulatory system that occurs at a young age. It is wrong to consider varicose veins of the lower extremities as a sign of old age. Many girls in their twenties hide their legs under pants and long skirts because of varicose veins.
There are several reasons for the malfunction of the circulatory system:
- Genetic inheritance from parents. If mom (most of the time) or dad has problems with blood flow from the legs to the heart, the children should have an examination and prevention of the vascular and venous system. However, genetics does not work in all cases, if there is no motivating factor - a sedentary or standing lifestyle due to the specifics of the profession, an unbalanced diet, diseases with complications;
- Neglecting the rules of a technical interruption when it is used in certain work areas where there is a lot of stress on the legs but there is no movement (hairdresser, specialist in the sales department, accountant, programmer, driver). Warming up the legs every 30 minutes will keep the blood from stagnating.
- Some health problems affect blood vessels and veins - diabetes mellitus, heart disease, injuries to the legs, spine, obesity;
- For many women, pregnancy is the trigger for the first symptoms of varicose veins. The embryo not only increases the weight of the expectant mother, which puts a strain on the legs, but also the internal organs and vital functions of the pregnant woman.
Varicose veins are a serious signal of internal problems that have not been reported, but require at least a standard examination by a therapist.
Different stages of the development of venous insufficiency
Despite the fact that in humans veins are localized not only in the legs, but throughout the body, varicose veins of the lower extremities are more common. Both women and men suffer from the disease, but a larger percentage of the fair half of the population.
There are different stages of varicose veins, which are classified according to their severity.The division is tied to conditions so that the attending physician makes a diagnosis and knows which treatment regimen must be prescribed for the patient for certain complaints.
There are a number of classifications of the stages of varicose veins among medical experts. The international community identified seven stages of varicose veins and draws a line under close symptoms. In practice, however, varicose veins are diagnosed in three stages of the gradation of the disease:
- First degree (compensation stage) - The deterioration in blood flow from the legs to the heart is lifestyle or genetic, but the patient has time to restore the venous valves to normal functionality. The symptoms of varicose veins in the initial stages are mild and are not taken seriously.
- Second degree (subcompensation) - There are visual signs of venous insufficiency that are difficult to confuse with other changes. Discomfort in the legs disappears after a long break or constantly accompanies a person. It is at this stage that patients most often seek help from a doctor. Vascular and venous changes are significant, but it is possible to relieve tension and pain in the lower extremities.
- The third degree (decompensation) is the last stage of varicose veins, when the thinned walls of the circulatory system begin to burst from excess blood. The tissues of the skin are not nourished and die. Skin ulcers develop that are difficult to treat. In some cases, grade 3 varicose veins connect bacteria with the ulceration centers. Stabilizing the patient's condition requires time, effort and complex therapy.
The stages of varicose veins listed are a conditional subdivision. Within each group of venous insufficiency there is a mild, moderate and severe degree of the disease, which is determined by the symptoms described by the patients at the reception. Due to the fact that the pathology of the veins is individual in each case, the transition line from one stage to another is insignificant, especially at 1 and 2 degrees.
Features of the initial stage of pathology
On rare occasions, a doctor will diagnose a degree of varicose veins because people do not go to the clinic if there is short-term edema or heaviness in the legs. Folk remedies will help them relieve fatigue, the puffiness will go away on its own after sleeping or turning high heels into slippers. Varicose veins of 1 degree in many people only move to another stage in old age, when there is no provoking factor.
Changes in the vascular system occur not only in adults, but also in modern adolescents who are deprived of mobility and who prefer a computer, telephone and other devices to active leisure time.
Only arms and brain are trained, and the rest of the body does not change position for a long time. The blood flow slows down, especially in the lower part of the skeleton. Bent knees, bruised muscles, veins and blood vessels in the thighs, buttocks lead to stagnation.
Young people often complain of leg pain and cramps. In some cases, edema is visible, especially if you are overweight. There are no noticeable symptoms of 1st degree varicose veins, but the initial stage is neglected and its progressiveness depends only on the attention of the children or their parents to themselves.
Teenage girls choose uncomfortable high-heeled shoes to attract attention. The pressure in the veins of the lower extremities increases and leads to the initial degree of pathology. The inability to stand and move in high heels deforms the feet, increases the load on the spine and bones of the legs, as well as the hip joints. Curvatures have a negative effect on the vessels because they are compressed.
The initial degree of varicose veins in young people is not alarming as symptoms go away after rest or some warm-up. Signs of grade 1 varicose veins are as follows:
- Heavy legs even without physical activity;
- Slight swellings in the afternoon when the foot is too small to fit into the shoe or when the edges dig noticeably into the skin. The symptom disappears in the morning, when the legs have been rested or a procedure has been performed to relieve swelling and tension in the muscles - the vertical position of the lower limbs, foot baths, massage, changing uncomfortable shoes;
- Short-term cramps in rare cases.
In rare cases, first-degree varicose veins show external signs of venous pathology - thin strips of veins or a vascular network that are stressed due to a reduced blood flow rate.
It is difficult to self-diagnose the initial stage of the pathology, since the listed symptoms are observed in other diseases, for example: B. diabetes mellitus, kidney problems. At the first sign of discomfort, you should see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Varicose veins are not only localized in the legs, and the initial stage can be skipped if there are no changes in the lower extremities.
Grade 2 functions
The initial stage of venous pathology without prophylaxis or therapy after some time changes to the stage of subcompensation. Symptoms of Grade 1 varicose veins are more common and last longer.
External changes appear on the skin - swollen veins or a large number of spider veins. Cramps occur at night and even during the day, the patient feels pain and cannot move his leg. During the hardware examination of the veins of the lower extremities, changes in the operation of the valves are observed.
The pressure in the vessels increases, but it is difficult to push the blood without closing the valves. Blood stagnation forms, which appears in the form of blue nodules on the skin.
- A symptom of venous insufficiency in stage 2 is swelling that does not go away after rest and preventive measures. Edema occurs because blood cannot rise through the veins and hemodynamics are compromised. The liquid part of the blood (plasma) begins to seep under the skin through the thinned walls of veins and small vessels, as the function of its transport is impaired.
- Changes in skin color due to poor circulation and nutrient absorption. The cells of the epidermis turn brown and gradually turn black. Inflammation develops, and as a result, the initial stage of ulcerative formations.
- Patients who come to the doctor in stage 2 of the disease have complaints of severe pain, muscle numbness and itching of the skin. Symptoms are caused by the lack of adequate nutrition for the cells of the epidermis.
The stage of subcompensation of varicose veins is not considered hopeless if therapy is diagnosed and prescribed in a timely manner. If you find one or more signs of grade 2 varicose veins, you cannot self-medicate and listen to well-wishers. Only a doctor will help cope with the problem.
Grade 3 functions
People reach the 3rd degree of venous insufficiency if they treat each other inattentively and without due respect. The first stage of the pathology rarely causes discomfort and changes the quality of life. However, the 2nd degree of venous insufficiency should not go unnoticed in order to neglect the doctor's visit and undergo rehabilitation.
3 degrees of pathology is the most severe and dangerous, since trophic ulcers are formed that do not heal even with drug treatment. In the decompensation stage, the body has exhausted its ability to keep the veins functional.
The walls are stretched and thinned to the limit. In the event of injury, there is a risk of breakage. Another problem with 3rd degree varicose veins is thrombophlebitis - blockage of the blood vessel, the formation of blood clots that can loosen and lead to death.
In extreme cases, venous insufficiency reaches its final stage. The reasons for this attitude of people towards themselves are not clear. It seems strange to endure pain, to feel uncomfortable for aesthetic reasons and not be able to walk easily. Timely diagnosis of the problem and compliance with the doctor's recommendations can prevent varicose veins from even passing a stage of pathology.
After carefully examining the classification of the varicose veins of the lower extremities, it should be noted that venous insufficiency occurs in other parts of the body and internal organs. Such a problem is more difficult to notice, but if there is discomfort in the legs, then one can think of disturbances in venous blood flow in other places.
Diagnosis of the pathology
At the first signs of discomfort in the legs, you need to contact a medical facility. Diagnosis and treatment of venous insufficiency is carried out by a phlebologist, but the initial consultation can be carried out by a therapist.
- A visual examination of the condition of the integument on the legs, the presence of orthopedic changes and other signs is carried out.
- palpation of problem areas not only of the legs, but also of the groin and abdomen;
- Patient complaints are heard;
- A detailed anamnesis is compiled in the form of a survey interview. The questions focus on identifying the cause, which has become the starting point for varicose veins to form.
- Referral for general blood and urine tests is required to determine the general health of the patient.
- Function test to determine the degree of venous dilatation (Schwarz, Perthes, sole test);
- In the case of an enlarged varicose vein, a hardware examination of the patency of the veins and the condition of the venous valves is carried out - duplex sonography (DUS), plethysmography, venography, rheovasography.
After all measures for diagnosing venous insufficiency and determining the degree of varicose veins, for prophylaxis, for conservative therapy, for treatment with alternative methods and, in extreme cases, for surgical intervention and to eliminate the pathology with a laser have been prescribed.
Dealing with venous dysfunctions of varying degrees
The sooner signs of varicose veins are noticed, the easier and faster it will be to solve the problem. The initial stage of the pathology can be completely canceled without the use of drugs, if timely prevention is started:
- Change your rhythm and lifestyle. Often the cause of impaired blood flow to the veins is a sitting or standing lifestyle due to professional activities. It is necessary to add exercise to improve hemodynamics and prevent high pressure in some areas. If you are overweight, you should attempt normalization, but gradually.
- Choose comfortable and correct footwear. In the case of orthopedic deformities, shoes are selected taking this problem into account. High heels only for special occasions;
- Give up bad habits that cause problems in the vascular system.
- Reduce your weight if you are overweight and put additional strain on your legs.
- Choose the right exercise to encourage blood flow from your legs to your heart.
At the initial stage, the doctor prescribes venotonics, creams and pills to reduce the load on the vein walls and restore their elasticity. The medical jersey must be individually adjusted to relieve tension in the legs.
If there are external signs that lead to aesthetic discomfort, a special composition (sclerotherapy) is introduced into the vein, but it is rare at an early stage.
The second stage of venous insufficiency requires more attention so that the problem does not develop into stage 3. The specificity of the elimination of the 2nd degree pathology is similar to the treatment of varicose veins at the initial stage. Medications are prescribed to reduce the risk of blood clots, reduce the swelling of the tissues, and restore blood flow.
In the case of obvious changes in the skin - convex veins, vein network, vascular pattern - surgical therapy is used for 2nd degree varicose veins. High frequency or laser therapy is carried out in the treatment room. Shown including sclerotherapy when the external defect disappears after injecting into the problem area of the injection in the eyes.
Compression clothing is a must to improve blood flow and reduce leg strain.
How to treat 3rd degree varicose veins when the condition of the veins and tissues is in a terrible state, and the body is unable to correct the situation? Treatment is only surgical to prevent thrombosis, venous rupture and restore hemodynamics throughout the body.
Usually a phlebectomy is done - removal of the affected vessels. The operation is performed with surgical instruments (classical method) or a laser without a single incision (modern method of treating 3rd degree varicose veins).
The course of the disease is made more difficult by the formation of ulcers, which do not heal even with medicinal therapy. Therefore, a surgeon is essential at this stage. After a successful operation, an individual course is selected from drugs, bandages and medical linen.
Varicose veins are not a harmless cosmetic defect on the legs and other parts of the body, but a serious pathology that transforms a person's life into agony and constant walking in the clinics.
The initial stage of venous insufficiency is inherent in most of the population, but the diagnosis is rarely done because people do not know the possible consequences.
If professional activity involves a sitting picture or constant presence on your feet, there are examples of pathology in relatives. You need to take preventive measures and exclude the progression of the disease at the initial stages. If you leave the problem unattended, you may not notice how the veins are causing other pathologies.