Varicose veins on the legs: how is it dangerous?

reasons for the development of varicose veins in the legs

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

The disease is widespread among patients after 30 - 40 years, brings not only physical and psychological discomfort to the patient's life, but also significantly spoils the aesthetic appearance of the legs.

What is varicose veins, what predisposing factors contribute to the development of the disease, how is the pathology manifested and what methods of treatment are there? Is it possible to develop complications with an advanced form of the disease? Let's figure it out.

Why is this happening

Varicose veins in the legs are a consequence of various provoking factors. The state of blood vessels is influenced by external and internal causes. Normally, in humans, venous blood circulates throughout the body. To lift it from the legs to the heart, pressure is needed that exceeds the gravity of the earth. If this process is disrupted, the body is forced to work in an emergency mode and increase this pressure to push the blood upward. This leads to insufficiency of the venous valves, which is accompanied by the reflux of blood from the deep veins into the superficial ones. Due to the increased pressure, the walls of the vessels stretch and lose their elasticity. As a result, so-called varicose nodes form on the veins, which are visible through the skin.

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

  • regular drinking. Alcohol is known to negatively affect the entire body, including vascular health;
  • smoking. According to medical statistics, the disease is much more common in smokers;
  • unhealthy diet with a predominance of fatty and high-calorie foods, lack of dietary fiber. Often such nutrition leads to weight gain, which becomes the cause of varicose veins;
  • uncomfortable and tight shoes, crushing clothes (tight jeans, tights, etc. ). Regular squeezing interferes with normal blood circulation;
  • increased intra-abdominal pressure. This occurs under the influence of various reasons, for example, with constipation, lung pathologies;
  • development of stagnant processes due to a sedentary lifestyle;
  • long-term use of drugs containing hormones, including oral contraceptives;
  • joint pathologies - arthritis, osteoporosis;
  • neoplasms in the area of the peritoneum or legs;
  • stress. It has been proven that vascular tone is regulated by nerve endings. Frequent emotional upheavals lead to disruption of this process;
  • diseases of the thyroid gland, thrombophlebitis.
a sedentary lifestyle as a cause of the development of varicose veins

A sedentary lifestyle and poor diet are common causes of varicose veins.

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

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

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

Symptoms of pathology

The first signs of varicose veins on the legs can be worn out, so not all people pay attention to them. Varicose asterisks, characteristic of the disease, do not appear immediately. At first, the patient may experience discomfort in the limbs after a hard day, a slight burning sensation, soreness, but the condition of the skin does not change. Usually, after rest, these manifestations go away on their own, so few of the patients go to the doctor.

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

  • the appearance of red spots and a thin vascular network with a bluish or purple tint;
  • increased pain, burning, heaviness in the evening;
  • swelling of the extremities;
  • leg cramps or numbness at night;
  • peeling and thickening of the dermis in places of varicose veins, the formation of blue spots;
  • pain becomes constant, pronounced when walking and running;
  • nodules that have appeared rise above the healthy surface of the skin, are painful to touch.

Pathology can develop rapidly or not manifest itself for a long time. Annual preventive examinations will help to detect the problem in time.

Common complications

Not everyone knows why varicose veins on the legs are dangerous. Many people let the disease take its course, not even suspecting how severe the consequences can be.

In the absence of treatment, the pathology progresses rapidly, which entails the risk of developing serious conditions. The most dangerous symptoms of varicose veins on the legs:

  • trophic ulcers are a consequence of blood flow disturbances. Even minor skin injuries in this area often lead to large areas of the dermis. The condition is complicated by the development of inflammation, the addition of a bacterial infection;
  • thrombophlebitis - the development of an inflammatory process in the area of the vessel walls. At the same time, blood clots form in the blood of a person, which are able to block the flow of blood to other organs;
  • thromboembolism - blockage of a vessel by a thrombus, which leads to acute circulatory disorders.
referral to a specialist for the treatment of varicose veins

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

Classification of the disease by its appearance

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

  • reticular or capillary;
  • cordlike;
  • saccular varicose veins.

The name speaks for itself here. With the defeat of the veins and their valves, the vessels can, indeed, resemble the shape of small sacs or, conversely, long laces. The capillary is characterized by the formation of a small vascular network, which often occupies large areas of the skin. In addition, there are internal varicose veins (deep) or external (superficial).

Important!Capillary varicose veins do not pose a health hazard, rather an aesthetic problem, can be easily eliminated using laser coagulation and some other methods.

Flow stages

In addition to the classification by external signs, there are several stages of the course of the disease. Specialists are used to dividing pathology into the following stages:

  • Asymptomatic course - here the patient does not feel acute manifestations, occasionally there is pain in the legs, fatigue, a slight burning sensation.
  • The initial stage - a vascular mesh appears, the skin acquires a bluish or purple hue. This does not bother a person much, visits to a doctor at this stage are very rare.
  • At the second stage, spider veins form, burning, soreness, discomfort become stronger.
  • The third stage is characterized by pain and swelling of the legs at the end of the day and after exercise.
  • At the fourth stage, a lesion of the skin is noted, it begins to peel off strongly, a change in shade and structure is diagnosed.
  • The most difficult and last period is accompanied by the formation of ulcers, which often occupy large areas of the legs, spreading to the lower leg.
stages of development of varicose veins

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


The diagnosis of varicose veins of the extremities is carried out using several methods at once. The first thing a patient goes through when he goes to the hospital is the initial examination by a phlebologist or vascular surgeon. The objectives of such an examination are to assess the general condition of the patient, study the blood flow in the leg area, assess trophic phenomena in humans, and palpate the affected areas.

The next step is to take anamnesis. It is carried out to identify the cause of the pathology. The doctor collects information about hereditary predisposition, the presence of injuries of the lower extremities, dietary habits and lifestyle of a person, stress, etc.

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

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

  • plantar test. When the doctor presses on the area of the patient's heel, the latter feels pain. This indicates the development of a deep type of disease;
  • Schwartz test. It is carried out by tapping with a special instrument on the formed venous nodes. In this case, shock vibrations are observed in the vein;
  • Perthes test. During this technique, the patient must stand. The doctor closes the superficial vessels with a tourniquet and asks to perform simple physical work. If, at the same time, pain is observed in the leg area and the skin tone changes, this indicates the development of deep vein obstruction.
diagnostic options for varicose veins

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

In addition to visual inspection and tests, instrumental diagnostic methods are used. These include ultrasound, sonographic, revasographic examination and phlebography.

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

Conservative treatment

Treatment of the disease at the initial stages is carried out using conservative methods of therapy. They use the following tools:

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

The best result is achieved using an integrated approach, which involves relieving symptoms, restoring vascular tone and functioning of venous valves, and preventing the recurrence of pathology.


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

  • phlebotonics. This type of medicine is intended to eliminate the main symptoms of the disease, such as swelling, inflammation, burning, pain, feeling of heaviness. Most of these drugs include horse chestnut and other natural ingredients that have a calming, anti-inflammatory, analgesic effect;
  • anticoagulants.To prevent the formation of blood clots and the development of complications against this background, ointments are used that have the ability to thin the blood;
  • anti-inflammatory ointments.These drugs actively fight the inflammatory process, eliminate pain, reduce the risk of thrombophlebitis;
  • medicines with natural ingredients.Effective and safe products designed specifically for long-term use and use among pregnant women and elderly patients. They include safe and environmentally friendly materials.

Proper use of ointments helps to significantly alleviate a person's condition, halt the progress of the disease and the development of severe complications. To carry out therapy with these drugs should only be prescribed by a doctor, since most of them have their own contraindications.


Preparations for internal use affect the affected vessels from the inside. Each group of medicines has its own effect:

  • venotonics- include natural or synthetic components, the action of which is aimed at improving blood flow, eliminating edema, inflammation and other manifestations of the disease;
  • antiplatelet agents- anti-inflammatory drugs that have a strong analgesic and decongestant effect;
  • means for reducing blood clottingare designed to reduce blood viscosity, eliminate pain and discomfort, prevent blood clots;
  • antioxidants- promote good fluid outflow, prevent the development of complications.

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

Important!In advanced stages, therapy should be complex in nature, including both external treatment of diseased areas and taking drugs inside.

Compression garments

Lingerie with a slight squeezing effect is designed to create pressure in the lower extremities, necessary for the normal functioning of blood vessels and their valves. In medical practice, such underwear is often called medical knitwear, used for the treatment and prevention of varicose veins. Products are made in the form of stockings or tights with various sizes.

compression garments for varicose veins in the legs

Medical knitwear is a great way to treat and prevent leg vein disease.

Despite the seeming safety, this type of treatment should be used only after consulting a specialist, since underwear has some contraindications:

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

Among the advantages of medical jersey are ease of use, safety, the ability to use around the clock.

Physiotherapy exercises

Gymnastics is effective at all stages of pathology, except for the last. Regular exercise helps to normalize lymphatic and venous outflow, increase physical endurance, restore the tone and elasticity of veins and peripheral circulation. At the same time, a complete rejection of physical exercise can significantly aggravate the course of the disease, provoke its rapid progress.

The most useful are hiking in the fresh air, cycling, swimming, skiing. First of all, it is necessary to include exercises in the daily schedule for people leading a sedentary lifestyle, spending a long time 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 should definitely consult your doctor. In case of acute pain, inflammation and edema, physical education is strictly contraindicated, as it can greatly aggravate the situation.

Radical methods

Minimally invasive and full-fledged types of surgical intervention are used in medicine to treat diseased vessels. The most difficult type of surgery is phlebectomy. It is used only in cases where conservative therapy and low-traumatic techniques do not bring the desired effect. The essence of the operation is to remove damaged veins through punctures 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

The operation is used in the later stages of pathology.

Minimally invasive techniques include:

  • sclerotherapy or sclerotherapy- carried out by introducing a special substance - sclerosant, which glues the affected vessel. This helps to limit the access of blood to the vein area, which helps to eliminate pain, swelling and other symptoms;
  • laser coagulation- one of the safest methods in which laser radiation is used to cauterize the diseased vein. The technique rarely calls for complications and negative consequences for the patient.

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

Do I need a diet

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

  • refuse foods that cause swelling and weight gain (fatty, sour, spicy, salty, smoked);
  • saturate the diet with plenty 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 advisable to do this at the same time;
  • it is important to give up strong tea, coffee, alcoholic and sugary carbonated drinks;
  • of the cooking methods, you should choose boiling, stewing, baking. It is better to refuse frying, salting and smoking.

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


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

If a person has had cases of illness in the family, such patients should be especially careful about their health. Experts recommend taking at least three thousand steps per day. Walking in the fresh air in any weather is very useful. You can replace commuting to work in a car or public transport with walking. During the working day, office workers and representatives of other specialties should do a warm-up every hour.

Varicose veins are a dangerous disease that often leads to complications. The prognosis for the patient will be positive only if the timely treatment of pathology is started. Without proper therapy, the person's condition will worsen.