Varicose veins

varicose veins

Varicose veinsare varicose veins that are too stretched, irregularly shaped and twisted that lose their elasticity. Its length and width increase and look like a twisted, translucent blue stripe under the skin.

Veins become like this when the venous valve disappears or for some reason is unable to perform its function. If the valve does not function properly, blood flows back through the veins, accumulating in the lower part of the leg. As a result, the veins lose their natural shape, and a chain of various complications begins.

What do varicose veins look like?

Patterns ofvaricose veinsare highly variable for different patients. In some patients, varicose veins are generally invisible. On the other, they protrude under the skin with twisted straps and knots. But we must not forget that the severity of the disease rarely corresponds to the severity of external manifestations.

How common are varicose veins?

Varicose veinsis one of the most common diseases of the vascular system. According to some estimates, about a third of the total population of Western countries suffers from varicose veins. The number of people with varicose veins increases with age, and women develop varicose veins more often than men. According to statistics, in the age group under 25, only 8% of women suffer from varicose veins, and in the older age group - from 55 years and above - the symptoms of varicose veins are detected in 64% of women.

How can you recognize varicose veins in yourself?

The most common signs of varicose veins are:

  • spread the legs,
  • boring pain,
  • feeling heavy
  • tired.

These symptoms are especially noticeable after prolonged static load (sitting or standing without movement) or lifting and carrying weights. Often these symptoms appear or worsen in the evening. However, it is usually impossible to determine exactly where it hurts. If these unpleasant symptoms (fatigue, heaviness and pain) disappear after resting with the legs raised, then most likely it is caused byvaricose veins.

However, some other painful conditions can show similar symptoms. For an accurate diagnosis of the causes of the symptoms described, it is necessary to undergo an examination by a vascular surgeon.

Cramps in the legs

With varicose veins, painful nocturnal spasms in the leg muscles can indeed occur (in other words, "unifying legs"). Often, cramps appear in the calf muscles and are sometimes very painful until the patient wakes up. Moreover, night cramps usually occur after a difficult day, when the patient has to stand or sit a lot.

Where do varicose veins usually appear?

Varicose veinsmost often occur on the surface of the lower legs (at the bottom of the legs and thighs), just under the skin. More often than not, large saphenous veins, which run along the inner surface of the foot from the ankle to the groin, suffer. This is a great saphenous vein tributary that first underwent a varicose transformation and was able to manifest itself in various forms of disease from the"venous network"and"spider veins"indeep ankle area to large varicose veins.

Are varicose veins inherited?

Varicose veinsis definitely hereditary. Scientists even believe that they managed to isolate the separate genes responsible for the development of varicose veins. It is unclear whether this gene causes damage to the venous valve or damage to the venous wall itself.

Undoubtedly, this study will help develop genetic therapy methods - perhaps the most promising method to prevent and treat varicose veins. Unfortunately, this is still a relatively distant future problem, and gene therapy is not yet available for patients with varicose veins.

Varicose veins in the lower legs during pregnancy

Pregnancy does not cause varicose veins, but it is often a trigger factor for the appearance of varicose veins in women who are exposed to it. For example, in people with congenital insufficiency or the absence of venous valves. This fact has been proven for sure, as many pregnant women do not have varicose veins on their legs. Sometimesenlargement of varicose veinsappears only during the fourth or fifth pregnancy. And in some women, they, after appearing during pregnancy, disappear immediately after the birth of the child.

Pregnancy acts as a trigger factor forvaricose veinsdue to the fact that intra-abdominal pressure increases during pregnancy (pressure exerted by the fetus on the abdominal organs). Also, the content of female sex hormones in the blood - estrogen and progesterone - increases dramatically. These hormones in high concentrations contribute to the softening of venous walls, stretch veins, and valves cannot be closed because of this.

If there is no proper correction, a detailed picture of chronic venous insufficiency arises.

Other causes of varicose veins

The widespread spread of varicose veins in developed countries is indeed associated with the lifestyle of the population. For example, we spend a lot of time sitting in chairs. From kindergarten to graduation, one sits at least 40 hours a week (about 5 hours in the afternoon in class, 3 hours in the evening - doing homework, watching TV, etc. - 5 days a week). Now we multiply this clock by 10 months a year, and so on - up to 17 years. Then - work in several institutions, where you have to sit more. When a person sits in a chair, the veins running down the back of the thighs are pressed, and the calf muscles (whose watery contractions help move venous blood to the heart) do not function.

Another important factor is nutrition. In Western countries, people prefer a low-carb diet. With such a diet, there is a high tendency to constipation. It also has a very negative effect on the condition of the venous valve and contributes to the transformation of varicose veins.

Varicose veins in the elderly

Why arevaricose veinsmore common in the elderly, and especially in women?

  1. In short - because their vascular system runs out of age and, sooner or later, fails. Even so, there are still many objective reasons why older women tend to suffer from varicose veins than younger men and women. First, because women generally live a little longer than men, there are women who are older than older men, and their veins work for longer periods of time.
  2. Men are not pregnant. Although varicose veins that appear in a woman during pregnancy disappear immediately after the birth of a child, all the same, in a few months, these veins grow abnormally. With age, all the muscles of the human body, including the smooth muscles of the vascular wall, become as elastic as in youth. And the veins that have widened once, during pregnancy, in old age again become slightly wider than usual.
  3. Nowadays, many women over the age of 30 use hormone replacement therapy, which was originally intended to get rid of unpleasant menopausal symptoms. There is no denying that hormone replacement therapy helps women look younger and feel better, and generally menopause over the years more easily. Doctors' observations confirm that hormone replacement therapy may to some extent reduce the frequency of angina attacks and prevent a decrease in bone strength due to osteoporosis.

However, hormonal supplementation at the same time softens the venous wall in much the same way as increasing estrogen and progesterone levels during pregnancy. The side effects of these hormone pills are even more dangerous because the venous wall is getting weaker - due to natural changes in the age-related muscle layers. Therefore, more clinical studies are needed to finally clarify this issue.

Varicose Veins Varicose Veins


Varicose veinsis divided into two main groups:

  1. The first group includes primary varicose veins caused by hereditary predisposition to varicose veins.
  2. The second group covers varicose veins that appear after damage to the venous wall due to trauma with the formation of blood clots in the veins or thrombosis.

When a clot or thrombus passes through a vein, the integrity of the venous valve is disturbed and a secondary varicose vein is formed.

Clinical aspects

The clinical severity of the disease:

  • varicose veins.
  • trophic ulcer heals.
  • open trophic ulcer.
  • limb edema.
  • "spider veins" and "venous traps".
  • trophic changes in the skin.

Aspects of anatomy

By the department involved in the development of a picture of chronic venous insufficiency. (superficial veins, deep veins, perforated veins).

Pathophysiological aspects

With major pathological processes leading to the appearance of varicose veins

  • occlusion (closure of lumen with thrombus)
  • reflux (reverse blood movement)
  • combination of reflux and occlusion.

"Vascular Asterisk" - is this also a manifestation of varicose veins?

Spider veinsare thin, purple or red thread vessels that appear around the knees or ankles. Sometimes such vascular "spider webs" can appear on the face, near the nose. These blood vessels should not be called varicose veins. In fact, this is a slightly widened venula (the channel that connects the capillaries to the veins properly), which is located close to the surface of the skin.

Such enlarged veins appear due to increased levels of female sex hormones in the blood and are often found in women taking birth control pills. But the venula can also expand when there are varicose veins that are not manifested from the larger veins.