Varicose veins on the legs: how dangerous is it?

reason for the development of varicose veins in the legs

Fatigue, heaviness in the limbs, burning, swelling, pain while walking - all these symptoms indicate varicose veins in the legs.

The disease spreads among patients after the age of 30 - 40 years, not only brings physical and psychological discomfort to the patient's life, but also damages the aesthetic appearance of the feet.

What are varicose veins, what are the predisposing factors that contribute to the development of the disease, how does the pathology manifest itself and what treatment methods are available? Is it possible to have complications with further forms of the disease? Let's think.

Why is this happening

Varicose veins in the legs are the result of various provoking factors. The condition of the blood vessels is influenced by external and internal causes. Usually, in humans, venous blood circulates throughout the body. To lift it from the feet to the heart, it takes pressure that exceeds the gravity of the earth. If this process is disrupted, the body has to work in an emergency and increase this pressure to push the blood up. This causes venous valve insufficiency, which is accompanied by reflux of blood from the deep veins into the superficial ones. Due to the increased pressure, the vessel wall stretches and loses its elasticity. As a result, the so-called varicose veins form in the veins, which can be seen through the skin.

The causes of varicose veins in the legs are as follows:

  • regular drinking. Alcohol is known to have a negative effect on the whole body, including vascular health;
  • smoking. According to medical statistics, the disease is more common in smokers;
  • Unhealthy diet with fatty and high calorie foods, lack of dietary fiber. Often such diet leads to weight gain, which causes varicose veins;
  • uncomfortable and tight shoes, crushing clothing (tight, tight jeans, etc. ) Squeezing periodically interferes with normal blood circulation;
  • increased intra-abdominal pressure. This occurs under the influence of various causes, for example, with constipation, pulmonary pathology;
  • development of stagnant processes due to inactive lifestyle;
  • long-term use of hormone-containing drugs, including oral contraceptives;
  • joint pathology - arthritis, osteoporosis;
  • neoplasms in the peritoneum or leg area;
  • pressure. It has been shown that vascular tone is regulated by nerve endings. Frequent emotional turmoil causes disruption of this process;
  • thyroid gland disease, thrombophlebitis.
an inactive lifestyle as a cause of varicose vein development

An inactive lifestyle and poor diet are common causes of varicose veins.

In addition, venous lesions are often diagnosed in women with endocrine system dysfunction. The elasticity of blood vessels and the work of venous valves are disrupted due to increased levels of the hormone progesterone.

Another common cause is hereditary predisposition. In people where cases of varicose vein family are registered, pathology is more common. Congenital vascular weakness can also provoke the disease.

Important!Varicose veins on the legs not only damage the aesthetic appearance and cause physical discomfort to the patient, the disease poses a serious threat to health, can lead to disability and even death.

Pathological symptoms

The first signs of varicose veins on the legs can be obsolete, so not everyone notices. Asterisk varicose veins, a characteristic of the disease, do not appear immediately. At first, the patient may experience discomfort in the limbs after a day of exertion, a slight burning sensation, pain, but the skin condition does not change. Usually, after resting, this manifestation disappears on its own, until a small number of patients go to the doctor.

Later, more noticeable signs of varicose veins appear on the legs. These include:

  • appearance of red spots and thin vascular network with bluish or purple color;
  • increased pain, burning, feeling heavy in the evening;
  • swelling of the toes;
  • leg cramps or numbness at night;
  • exfoliates and thickens the dermis at the site of varicose veins, the formation of blue spots;
  • pain becomes constant, noticeable while walking and running;
  • nodules that appear to rise above the surface of healthy skin, painful to the touch.

Pathology can develop rapidly or not appear for a long time. Annual preventive checks will help detect problems in a timely manner.

Common complications

Not everyone knows why varicose veins on the legs are dangerous. Many people allow the disease to continue, not even suspecting how serious the consequences are.

If left untreated, the pathology develops rapidly, which can lead to serious complications. The most dangerous symptoms of varicose veins in the legs:

  • Trophic ulcers are the result of blood flow disorders. Even small skin injuries in this area often cause large dermis areas. The condition is complicated by the development of inflammation, the addition of bacterial infections;
  • thrombophlebitis - the development of inflammatory processes in the vessel wall area. At the same time, blood clots form in a person's blood, which can block blood flow to other organs;
  • thromboembolism - blockage of vessels by thrombus, leading to acute circulatory disorders.
referral to a specialist for the treatment of varicose veins

Lack of treatment for this disease causes thrombosis and other complications. To avoid this and other dangerous consequences, it is important to seek medical help as soon as the first signs of illness are detected.

Classification of disease according to its appearance

Pathology is classified according to some clinical picture. This allows the doctor to differentiate the disease from several other conditions. By morphological features, the following types of diseases are distinguished:

  • reticular or capillary;
  • like a umbilical cord;
  • vascular varicose veins.

The name is unique here. With the defeat of its veins and valves, the vessel may resemble the shape of a small pouch or, conversely, a long rope. Capillaries are characterized by the formation of small vascular networks, which often occupy large areas of skin. In addition, there are internal (internal) or external (superficial) varicose veins.

Important!Capillary varicose veins do not pose a health hazard, instead aesthetic problems, can be easily eliminated by using laser freezing and several other methods.

Flow level

In addition to the classification with external signs, there are several stages of the disease. Specialists are used to divide the pathology into the following levels:

  • An asymptomatic course - here the patient does not feel acute manifestations, sometimes there is pain in the legs, fatigue, slight burning sensation.
  • Early stage - vascular mesh appears, skin acquires a bluish or purple color. This does not bother anyone much, visits to the doctor at this stage are very rare.
  • In the second stage, spider veins form, burning, pain, discomfort becomes stronger.
  • The third stage is characterized by pain and swelling of the legs at the end of the day and after exercise.
  • In the fourth stage, a wound on the skin is observed, it begins to peel off strongly, discoloration and structure are diagnosed.
  • The most difficult and last period is accompanied by the formation of boils, which often occupy a large area of the foot, spreading to the lower leg.
stage of development of varicose veins

The first stage of pathology responds well to conservative treatment with medication, exercise therapy and diet. More advanced levels require radical methods such as surgery.


Diagnosis of varicose veins in the extremities is done using several methods at once. The first thing a patient goes through when he goes to the hospital is an initial examination by a phlebologist or vascular surgeon. The objective of such examinations is to assess the general condition of the patient, examine blood flow in the foot area, assess trophic phenomena in humans, and grasp the affected area.

The next step is to take anamnesis. It is done to identify the pathological cause. Doctors collect information on hereditary predisposition, injuries to the lower extremities, eating habits and lifestyle, stress, etc.

To determine the stage of the disease and assess the function of the veins, the doctor examines the vessels in different positions of the patient's body (sitting, standing, lying down). In this case, the specialist prescribes the degree of enlargement of the vein, the location of the varicose vein and some other features.

Special tests are popular in the diagnosis of varicose veins. The most widely used are:

  • plantar test. When the doctor presses on the patient's heel, the latter feels pain. This indicates the development of a deep type of disease;
  • Schwartz test. It is done by tapping with a special tool on the formed venous nodes. In this case, shock vibrations are observed in the veins;
  • Perthes Test. During this technique, the patient must stand. The doctor covered the superficial vessel with the buds and asked to perform a modest physical work. If, at the same time, pain is observed in the leg area and the skin color changes, this indicates the development of deep vein blockage.
diagnostic options for varicose veins

Diagnosis of the disease as a whole includes visual examination and instrumental research methods.

In addition to visual examination and testing, instrumental diagnostic methods are used. These include ultrasound examination, sonography, revasography and phlebography.

Important!Diagnosis of the disease does not require hospital stay, is done on an outpatient basis and is usually not difficult.

Conservative treatment

Treatment of the disease at an early stage is done using conservative therapy methods. They use the following tools:

  • ointments and gels;
  • drugs for internal use;
  • compression pants;
  • medical gymnastics.

Best results are achieved with an integrated approach, which involves relieving symptoms, restoring vascular tone and venous valve function, and preventing the recurrence of pathology.


In medical practice, drugs are used in the form of ointments and gels of several groups. Each has its own characteristics:

  • phlebotonics.This type of medicine aims to eliminate the main symptoms of the disease, such as swelling, inflammation, burning, pain, heaviness. A large number of these drugs include horse chestnut and other natural ingredients that have a calming, anti-inflammatory, analgesic effect;
  • anticoagulant.To prevent the formation of blood clots and the occurrence of complications against this background, ointments are used that have the ability to thin the blood;
  • anti-inflammatory ointment.These drugs actively fight the inflammatory process, relieve pain, reduce the risk of thrombophlebitis;
  • medicine with natural ingredients.An effective and safe product specially designed for long-term use and use among pregnant women and the elderly. It includes safe and environmentally friendly materials.

Proper use of ointments helps to reduce a person's condition significantly, stop the progression of the disease and the development of severe complications. To carry out therapy with this drug can only be prescribed by a doctor, as most have their own contraindications.


Drugs for internal use affect vessels that are exposed from within. Each group of drugs has its own effect:

  • venotonics- including natural or synthetic components, its action is aimed at improving blood flow, eliminating edema, inflammation and other disease manifestations;
  • antiplatelet agents- anti-inflammatory drugs with strong analgesic and decongestant effects;
  • means to reduce blood clottingis designed to reduce blood viscosity, relieve pain and discomfort, prevent blood clotting;
  • antioxidants- promotes good fluid outflow, prevents the development of complications.

Patients in the early stages of varicose veins are usually prescribed venotonics in combination with anti-inflammatory drugs.

Important!At a later stage, therapy should be complex in nature, including external treatment of the diseased area and taking medication within it.

Compression clothing

Underwear with a slight squeezing effect is designed to put pressure on the bottom of the foot, which is necessary for the normal functioning of blood vessels and valves. In medical practice, such underwear is often referred to as medical knitwear, used for the treatment and prevention of varicose veins. Products are made in the form of stockings or tights of various sizes.

compression garments for varicose veins in the legs

Medical knitwear is the best method to treat and prevent leg vein disease.

Although it may seem safe, this type of treatment should be used only after consultation with a specialist, as underwear has several contraindications:

  • diseases that provoke a decrease in the lumen of blood vessels (atherosclerosis, endoarteritis, orthoarteritis);
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • excessive skin sensitivity;
  • open wounds on the body, skin diseases;
  • acute heart and lung failure

Among the advantages of medical jerseys are ease of use, safety, ability to use at all times.

Physiotherapy training

Gymnastics is effective at all stages of pathology, except the latter. Exercising regularly helps normalize lymphatic and venous drainage, increase physical endurance, restore tone and elasticity of veins and peripheral circulation. At the same time, complete rejection of physical exercise can significantly worsen the course of the disease, provoking its rapid progression.

The most useful are hiking in the fresh air, cycling, swimming, skiing. First of all, it is necessary to include exercise in the daily schedule for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle, spending long hours in a sitting position. Strength training, on the other hand, is contraindicated.

At home, you can use exercises such as cycling, scissors, leg swings, and more. Before doing gymnastics, you must see a doctor. In the event of acute pain, inflammation and edema, physical education is strictly contraindicated, as this can worsen the condition.

Radical methods

Minimally invasive and comprehensive types of surgical interventions are used in medicine to treat disease channels. The most difficult type of surgery is phlebectomy. It is used only in cases where conservative therapy and low trauma techniques do not bring the desired effect. The essence of the operation is to remove the damaged vein through a puncture in the groin area. After the procedure, the patient must be in the hospital for some time, complications often occur.

methods of surgical treatment of varicose veins in the legs

This operation is used at a later pathological stage.

Minimum invasive techniques include:

  • sclerotherapy or sclerotherapy- performed by introducing a special substance - sclerosant, which attaches to the affected vessel. This helps limit blood access to the venous area, which helps relieve pain, swelling and other symptoms;
  • laser coagulation- one of the safest methods in which laser radiation is used to cure diseased veins. This technique rarely requires complications and negative consequences for patients.

Important!The type of surgical intervention is determined by the attending physician based on the degree of pathology and its travel characteristics.

Do I need a diet

Diet is very important in the event of illness. Proper nutrition is an important condition for normal metabolic processes in the body, healthy blood flow and lymph. For the prevention and treatment of varicose veins, patients should adhere to the following nutritional principles:

  • rejects foods that cause swelling and weight gain (fatty, sour, spicy, salty, smoky);
  • saturated diet with lots of fresh vegetables and fruits to reduce blood viscosity;
  • arrange fasting days several times a week;
  • food is recommended to be taken in small portions 5 - 6 times throughout the day. It is best to do this at the same time;
  • essential for the release of strong tea, coffee, alcoholic beverages and carbonated beverages;
  • cooking method, you should choose boiling, stewing, baking. It is better to refuse frying, salting and smoking.

In addition, you should not forget to drink enough fluids. Purified natural water helps dilute the blood, restore metabolic processes, and eliminate toxins. If there are no contraindications to this, one should drink at least two liters a day.


An important aspect of vascular health is the prevention of varicose veins. To prevent this disease, simple preventive measures must be followed. These include proper nutrition, adequate physical activity, rejection of bad habits, exclusion of injuries to the lower extremities, timely treatment of other pathologies, use of medications only as prescribed by a doctor.

If a person has cases of illness in the family, the patient should be careful with his health. Experts recommend taking at least three thousand steps a day. Walking in the fresh air in any weather is very useful. You can replace work trips with cars or public transport on foot. During working hours, office workers and other specialists must warm up every hour.

Varicose veins are a dangerous disease that often causes complications. The prognosis for patients will be positive only if timely pathological treatment is initiated. Without proper therapy, a person's condition will worsen.