Varicose veins on the legs: how dangerous is it?

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, it brings not only physical and psychological discomfort to the patient's life, but also significantly spoils the aesthetic appearance of the legs.

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

Why is this happening

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

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

  • drink regularly. Alcohol is known to negatively affect the whole 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, crushed 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 hormone-containing drugs, including oral contraceptives;
  • joint pathologies - arthritis, osteoporosis;
  • neoplasms in the area of the peritoneum or legs;
  • stress. Vascular tone has been shown to be regulated by nerve endings. Frequent emotional upheavals lead to the interruption of this process;
  • thyroid disease, 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.

Furthermore, venous lesions are often diagnosed in women with endocrine system dysfunction. 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 recorded, the pathology is more common. Congenital vascular weakness can also cause the disease.

Important!Varicose veins in the legs not only spoil the aesthetic appearance and cause physical discomfort to the patient, the disease poses a serious threat to health, can cause 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, pain, but the condition of the skin does not change. Usually, after rest, these manifestations disappear on their own, so few patients go to the doctor.

Later, more pronounced signs of varicose veins appear on the legs. 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, formation of blue spots;
  • the pain becomes constant, pronounced when walking and running;
  • nodules that have appeared arise above the healthy surface of the skin, are painful to the touch.

The disease may develop rapidly or may not manifest itself for a long time. Annual preventive examinations will help detect the problem in time.

Common complications

Not everyone knows why varicose veins on the legs are dangerous. Many people let the disease run its course, without even suspecting how severe the consequences may be.

Without treatment, the disease progresses rapidly, which carries the risk of developing serious conditions. The most dangerous symptoms of varicose veins on the legs:

  • trophic ulcers are a consequence of blood flow disorders. Even minor skin lesions 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 are formed in a person's blood, 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 disturbances.
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 consult a doctor immediately as soon as the first signs of disease are detected.

Classification of the disease according to its appearance

The disease is classified according to several clinical features. This allows doctors to differentiate the disease from many other conditions. Based on the morphological characteristics, the following types of disease are distinguished:

  • reticular or capillary;
  • similar to a rope;
  • saccular varicose veins.

The name here speaks for itself. With the defeat of the veins and their valves, the vessels can actually resemble the shape of small sacs or, conversely, of 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 (deep) or external (superficial) varicose veins.

Important!Capillary varicose veins are not a health hazard, but rather a cosmetic problem, they can be easily eliminated using laser coagulation and some other methods.

Flow phases

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

  • Asymptomatic course - here the patient does not experience acute manifestations, occasionally there is pain in the legs, fatigue, a slight burning sensation.
  • The initial stage: a vascular network 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.
  • In the second stage, spider veins are formed, burning, pain, discomfort become stronger.
  • The third phase is characterized by pain and swelling in the legs at the end of the day and after exercise.
  • At the fourth stage, a lesion of the skin is noted, begins to peel off strongly, a change in hue and structure is diagnosed.
  • The most difficult and final 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 early stages of the disease respond well to conservative treatment with drugs, physical therapy and diet. The more advanced stages require radical methods such as surgery.


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

The next step is to take the medical history. It is performed to identify the cause of the pathology. The doctor collects information about hereditary predisposition, the presence of lower limb injuries, a person's eating habits and lifestyle, stress, etc.

To determine the stage of the disease and evaluate the functioning 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 fixes the degree of enlargement of the veins, the location of the nodes and some other characteristics.

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

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

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

Conservative treatment

Treatment of the disease in the early 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 obtained using an integrated approach, which involves relieving symptoms, restoring vascular tone and functioning of the venous valves and preventing the recurrence of the disease.


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

  • phlebotonics.This type of medicine aims 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 and analgesic effect;
  • anticoagulants.To prevent the formation of blood clots and the development of complications in this context, 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 use and long-term 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, stop the progress of the disease and the development of serious complications. To carry out therapy with these drugs should be prescribed only by a doctor, since most of them have their own contraindications.


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

  • venotonics- includes 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 to reduce blood clottingare designed to reduce blood viscosity, eliminate pain and discomfort, prevent blood clots;
  • antioxidants- promote good outflow of liquids, prevent the development of complications.

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

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

Compression garments

Underwear with a slight squeezing effect is designed to create pressure in the lower limbs, which is necessary for the normal functioning of blood vessels and their valves. In medical practice, such underwear is often called medical knitwear, which is 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 a great way to treat and prevent leg vein disease.

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

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

Among the advantages of the medical shirt are ease of use, safety, the possibility of use 24 hours a day.

Physiotherapy exercises

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

The most useful are outdoor excursions, cycling, swimming, skiing. First of all, it is necessary to include exercises in the daily program for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle, spending a lot of 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

In medicine, minimally invasive and comprehensive types of surgical intervention are used for the treatment of 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 the disease.

Minimally invasive techniques include:

  • sclerotherapy or sclerotherapy- performed by introducing a special substance - sclerosing, which glues the affected vessel. This helps limit the access of blood to the vein area, which helps 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 requires complications and negative consequences for the patient.

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

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 must adhere to the following nutritional principles:

  • refuses foods that cause bloating and weight gain (fatty, sour, spicy, salty, smoked);
  • saturate the diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to reduce blood viscosity;
  • organizes fasting days several times a week;
  • It is recommended to take
  • food in small portions 5-6 times throughout the day. It is recommended to do this at the same time;
  • it is important to give up strong teas, coffee, alcoholic and sugary carbonated drinks;
  • of cooking methods, you should choose boiling, stewing, baking. It is better to refuse frying, salting and smoking.

Also, don't forget to drink enough fluids. Purified natural water helps thin the blood, restore metabolic processes and eliminate toxins. If there are no contraindications for this, a person should drink at least two liters per 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, refusal of bad habits, exclusion of lower extremity injuries, timely treatment of other pathologies, the use of drugs only as prescribed by a doctor.

If a person has had cases of the disease in the family, such patients should pay special attention to their health. Experts recommend taking at least three thousand steps a day. Outdoor walks in any weather are very useful. You can replace commuting to work by car or public transport with walking. During the working day, employees and representatives of other specialties should 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 timely treatment of the pathology is initiated. Without proper therapy, the person's condition will worsen.