At the mention of the phrase “varicose veins”, for some reason, the image of an elderly overweight woman, loaded with dimensionless shopping bags and slowly hobbled along the dusty asphalt in worn-out slippers, persistently pops up in the memory. And although these associations are, in general, true – it is mainly women who are affected by this disease, namely the middle-aged and precisely those who work excessively – today the diagnosis of varicose veins (abbreviated – v.r.v.) can actually be made and a young girl, and even a male athlete.
Forty percent of the adult inhabitants of the Earth suffer from this serious illness, due to the complications of which about five percent of the “neglected” patients become disabled every year. And although deaths due to complications of RVV, thanks to medicine, are becoming less and less, the number of “ordinary” patients is growing.
WHERE DOES THIS ATTACK FROM?
Varicose veins are ninety percent hereditary disease. It is caused by poor functioning of the valves of the veins in the legs. Of course, the defect in their structure can be congenital. But then, even in childhood, a person is faced with many serious diseases. And the “trivial” c.r.v. – the result of hereditary predisposition plus lifestyle.
For some reason, in the human structure, not everything is as perfect as we would like. His veins and arteries are so twisted in the body that they squeeze each other, interfering with the already difficult movement of blood from the legs up to the heart. When walking, the muscles of the legs, like pumps, easily push the blood. And if a person stands for a long time and motionless? How, then, to fight the circulatory system with the earth’s gravity? No way. And the blood stagnates in the legs, which is not good for our veins at all: they swell under the pressure of the blood, their valves “break”, etc.
Alas, standing on his hind limbs, a person crossed himself out of the list of “normal” animals, who do not know problems with blood vessels. In addition, the anatomical structure of a person is also guilty of the fact that the left leg is much more susceptible to vascular diseases than the right one, and among the many veins on a single leg, the most “unreliable” is the large saphenous vein located on the inner surface of the lower leg.
True, the anatomical structure of all of us is approximately the same, and v.r.v. fortunately, not everyone is affected. The disease begins to develop only when all these difficulties are also superimposed on the “weak” blood vessels with thin walls that you inherited. That is why, in some, treacherous blue streaks and bulging knots spoil their legs already in their youth, while others live to old age on strong and smooth legs.
But what about the lifestyle? Yes, today we are not talking about alcohol and smoking. The work of long-suffering valves is interfered with by completely different phenomena of our life. For example, the chosen profession. The main “risk group” regarding v.r.v. – consultants, salespeople, hairdressers, dentists, surgeons and all others whose working day is “on their feet”, but inactive.
Another cause of venous disease is physical overload. And whether it is lifting your own excess weight, overdoing it in the garden, or setting a world record in power sports, there is only one cause of the disease: lifting excessive weights, overloading the body. The fact is that the main veins responsible for the blood supply to our legs pass along the back surface of the peritoneum. Now imagine that you took some abstract weight “on the navel”. No matter how weak and frail your muscular corset, a tense abdominal press will squeeze those very veins, like a wide belt. The result is the same – stagnation of blood in the legs.
The same mechanism of vein clamping works during pregnancy. Yes, yes, the baby growing in the stomach is pushing not only towards enthusiastic others. Therefore, the appearance of a network of swollen blue veins and knots is a very common price of motherhood. By the way, it is precisely because of pregnancy that women suffer from V.R.V. much more often than men.
And, finally, fans of high heels add worries to their veins, excluding with their help, even when walking, the work of the natural “pump” of the lower leg necessary to push the blood.
But if a fat woman, a young mother, a stubborn athlete, and a hardworking gardener at first do not care about blue “laces” on her legs (unless it will be a purely cosmetic flaw), then after many years they will start real problems. But few of us are inclined to uncompromisingly fight against the shortcomings of appearance, and, “until the thunder breaks out,” we will limit the “struggle” to opaque stockings, trousers and long skirts. However, a neglected disease, as you know, hits harder, and is treated reluctantly, and is not cheap.
With the development of the disease, which, fortunately, lasts for many years, varicose veins progressively increase; there is a feeling of heaviness and fullness in the legs, their rapid fatigue, night cramps. At an even later stage, due to malnutrition, the skin begins to darken. It becomes dense, but at the same time fragile, and the slightest injury ends in the formation of a long-term non-healing trophic ulcer.
W.r.v. there are other very unpleasant complications, one of which is thrombophlebitis, which, by the way, can go from superficial varicose veins to others – deeper ones. And this is a guaranteed disability. Yes, and thrombophlebitis of superficial veins is dangerous. Imagine, for example, that a blood clot formed in the veins of the legs will “walk” through the arteries and get into some vital organ?..
Therefore, as you understand, v.r.v. better not run. But in no case should you engage in self-treatment. But today you can find a lot of advertising statements about a quick, easy and affordable way to get rid of problems with veins. The options offered are varied: from leeches, which supposedly will dissolve all your congestion, to the formation of artificial blood clots, which block diseased veins and leave them as safe dead ends. True, only for 5-6 years, until the blood flow shakes a blood clot, which again rushes through the body in an unpredictable direction.
Of the more “scientific” methods of struggle, perhaps two can be proposed: conservative and operational. At the very initial stages of the disease, as well as for prevention purposes (if your parents suffer from this disease), you can use elastic bandages, socks or stockings. Their function is simple and ingenious: by pinching the superficial veins, they reduce the blood flow through them and thereby the risk of their deformation. But, you see, bandaging every day is not very convenient; in addition, elastic bandages can prevent, rather than cure, deformity of the veins, and, therefore, they will have to be worn for life. Alas, another easy way to get rid of v.r.v. not found yet.
True, Petersburg scientists have developed an interesting method. It is similar to bandaging the legs, but the veins themselves are “bandaged” with plastic spirals. Enclosed in such a strong outer “skeleton”, they stop deforming and continue to function fully. The catch in spreading this unique method is, as always, in the details. It’s just that no one undertakes to make these spirals: there are many state standards and requirements for medical devices, and the price of products is cheap …
So the main worldwide method of dealing with v.r.v. at any (but preferably initial) stage is surgical intervention. If you turned to the surgeon in time (without waiting for the nodes on the veins to grow and become inflamed), then the operation will be successful.
With the help of small incisions, which later turn into subtle cosmetic sutures, the diseased vein will be removed piece by piece from the leg, which will solve problems with it once and for all. There is no harm to the body from this, because 85 percent of the blood supply to the legs passes through deeper veins. Yes, and there are two superficial veins – the very ones that are subject to RVV – on each leg, two, and both are not necessarily inflamed. And the enlarged gnarled vein, in which blood has stagnated, is just as useless for the body as the appendix – it does not function. So is it worth regretting such a loss?
Vein surgery, although not considered particularly difficult, has its own nuances. You can remove inflamed veins at any age. The operation is contraindicated only for those suffering from heart diseases (myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, etc.). But, in any case, it will not hurt to turn to specialists with problems of veins. It is they who will find out the cause of the appearance of blue lace on your legs: is it an incipient disease or excessive transparency of aristocratically thin skin?
A specialist can also prescribe drugs for prophylactic purposes that strengthen the walls of blood vessels and reduce blood clotting. On your own, you can do moderate physical activity on your legs. Half an hour a day of “riding” on an exercise bike will be an excellent prevention of RV. After all, the “bicycle” movement known from children’s gymnastics – flexion-extension – is the work of our “pumps”, pushing blood to the heart.
Georgy SHARONIN, surgeon