Learn about the stages of varicose veins and how dangerous the neglected condition of your veins is

The vessels and the heart work in our body without interruption. By pumping the blood, they support metabolism and overall health. When the load on the ships increases, they need strength to resist the increase in pressure. Otherwise, the tone of the veins decreases, which leads to an expansion of their lumen and deterioration of functions. Pathological expansion of the venous vessels is called varicose veins. In the absence of proper treatment, this condition can lead to serious problems and irreversible consequences.


Symptoms of varicose veins of the lower limbs

Varicose veins have different classifications that take into account different criteria. The disease can be characterized in terms of functional disorders, structural changes, clinical signs and other factors. The international classification distinguishes the following types or classes of varicose veins:

  • 0 - the initial stage without clinical manifestations, changes in the vessels are noticeable only during instrumental examination.
  • 1 - small telangiectasias appear.
  • 2 - the expansion of small vessels becomes noticeable with the naked eye.
  • 3 - there is discomfort in the affected limb and swelling.
  • 4 - the skin structure is disturbed.
  • 5 - pre-ulcerative condition of the tissues of the affected limb.
  • 6 - the appearance of trophic ulcers that can hardly be cured.

Classification by shape

There is also a division of varicose veins into forms, depending on the location of the pathology:

  • Local- small spider veins are visible. Only the subcutaneous capillaries are affected, normal blood flow is not disturbed, reflux does not occur. It looks like a cosmetic defect.
  • Segmental- the expansion of small superficial veins leads to the interruption of blood flow and the throwing of a certain amount in the opposite direction.
  • Diffuse- there is a persistent expansion of the superficial veins, during the study, the blood flow is recorded against the main movement. The patient develops a feeling of fatigue and evening swelling.
  • Localized: Deep vessels are affected, blood is refluxed, edema and inflammation occur.

In assessing a patient's condition, doctors usually use several classifications and provide a mixed description of the clinical picture. This helps to more accurately describe the ongoing changes and determine the stage of development of the pathological process.


The main classification of varicose veins is the division according to functional disorders. It distinguishes three stages of varicose veins:

  • compensation;
  • undercompensation;
  • decompensation.

Sometimes they add the zero stage, which is initial and is characterized by the absence of clinical manifestations.

Let's take a look at each of them in more detail.

Stages of disease progression

The development of varicose veins takes a long time.The disease does not appear immediately, but after constant exposure to a provoking factor. This can be heavy lifting, a sedentary lifestyle, pregnancy, smoking and other reasons. Changes in the vessels occur gradually, but they become noticeable to a person already in the early stages. It is best to start treatment when the first symptoms appear. Depending on the stage of the varicose veins of the lower extremities, the tactics of therapy will depend.

Initial phase

At this stage of the development of the pathology, adequate treatment can not only stop the progression of the disease, but also lead to complete recovery. The difficulty lies in the fact that varicose veins are rarely diagnosed at an early stage. This usually happens during an accidental examination, since the patient does not attach importance to external changes in the vessels, which are barely noticeable at this stage.

Grade 1 varicose veins cause nonspecific symptoms, so most patients associate them with normal fatigue. May be bothered by:

  • evening fatigue;
  • burning sensation in the lower limbs;
  • painful sensations;
  • convulsions;
  • discomfort for no particular reason.

Small purple threads appear on the surface of the skin - dilated venous vessels. The affected area may take on a bluish tinge. Most often, discomfort worries in the lower leg - in the ankle, in the lower leg. This is where varicose veins usually begin, since the load on the venous vessels is maximum.

In the first phase, symptoms intensify in the evening, with standing or prolonged exercise. Most often this is similar to the usual tiredness after a working day, so patients rarely go to the doctor for advice and treatment.

Second stage

A vessel protruding above the surface of the skin with second stage varicose veins

Grade 2 varicose veins are a condition with more pronounced symptoms and poor efficacy of conservative treatment. At this stage, the deformation of the veins becomes more noticeable.

This manifests itself externally, as well as in the patient's well-being. The vessels are greatly dilated and can protrude above the surface of the skin. Form of nodules - areas where blood stagnates, swelling and pain appear.

Normal blood flow to this grade of varicose veins is impaired; during the examination, the doctor detects reverse reflux due to the loose contact of the valves. Numbness, tingling, sensory disturbances add to the unpleasant symptoms. The swelling and pain disappear in the morning after a night's rest, but recur in the evening.

Third phase

Venous nodules in the third stage of varicose veins

In the absence of adequate treatment for grade 2 varicose veins, the pathology continues to progress, as the vessels are unable to cope with the existing load. The diseased limb begins to function worse and causes constant discomfort. Swelling and reduced sensitivity disturb at any time of the day. The patient is forced to limit physical activity, but rest does not bring much relief.

Venous nodules and visible areas of the IVV increase the area of the lesion.In late clinical symptoms, problems with the skin come together- it loses its elasticity, becomes dry, itching or eczematous rashes may appear. The subcutaneous tissue is easily injured, bleeding and areas of hyperpigmentation occur.

Violation of blood circulation, which is practically not eliminated, leads to the lack of adequate nutrition of the tissues and the reception of oxygen by them. After a while, trophic ulcers appear in this place, which can provoke even a minor injury. Healing is very slow and difficult, there is a high probability of activation of the pathogenic flora. Such patients get a disability. It is a serious condition that is often fatal due to a bacterial infection or massive bleeding.

The treatment methods will be different for each phase. In the compensation phase, the patient can restore the tone of the veins with the help of compression and venotonic garments, and during decompensation they will be completely ineffective.


It is not difficult for a specialist to identify varicose veins and make a correct diagnosis. For this, the patient's complaints and external manifestations of the pathology are enough. To accurately determine the stage of development of varicose veins, duplex examination, ultrasound, reovasography are prescribed. A blood test will help assess the likelihood of a blood clot.

Taking the medical history is an important step in the diagnosis of varicose veins. The doctor can identify predisposing factors: smoking, inactive lifestyle, heredity. A visual examination of the veins, changes in local temperature, palpation are performed.


Treatment of varicose veins must be carried out in order to prevent trophic alterations in the tissues and irreversible processes. The tactics of therapy depends on the stage of varicose veins and can include several areas:

  1. Compression therapy. In pharmacies, a special medical shirt is sold, designed for patients with varicose veins. Its special manufacturing technology helps to treat varicose veins, as well as serving as a preventive measure. The underwear must be worn constantly, removing it only for the period of night sleep. This will provide additional support for weakened veins and prevent pathological expansion. Compression hosiery is presented in different models for any limb of the body, so each patient will be able to choose the appropriate option, taking into account the characteristics of his disease.
  2. Drug therapy. This is the most popular direction that can be used in all stages of varicose veins, as well as for the prevention of vascular problems. The basis of conservative treatment is the intake of venotonic drugs. They help strengthen the vascular wall, increase its elasticity and reduce blood stagnation. It is better to apply them internally, as well as externally at the injury site. The use of drugs that help thin the blood and facilitate blood circulation is also shown.
  3. Surgery. Recommended in the advanced stages of varicose veins, when conservative treatment is ineffective. It can be prescribed with a high risk of thrombus formation or in the presence of an inflammatory process in the affected area of the vessel. Phlebectomy is performed in the third stage of varicose veins, when the pathology is accompanied by blood clots and trophic ulcers.
  4. Minimally invasive methods. They are not an abdominal operation, but the removal of the damaged section of the ship using modern technologies. Unequivocally recommended for the second and third stages of varicose veins, when drugs are no longer able to completely restore the structure of the veins. These techniques are sclerotherapy and laser coagulation.

Traditional medicine

Folk recipes are very popular in the treatment of many diseases, including varicose veins. People believe that their effectiveness has been proven by many years of experience, but this is not entirely true. The gifts of nature really contain useful substances that help fight the symptoms of varicose veins, as well as strengthen the vascular wall.

Patients often take home baths or food or herbal compresses for varicose veins. For example, the treatment of varicose veins with household soap or cabbage compresses is popular. Positive reviews have been received for nutmeg, aloe, honey, horse chestnut.

However, doctors understand that such methods are effective only in the initial stages of the disease. Also, they can definitely be used to prevent varicose veins. When the pathology has passed to a more advanced stage, drug treatment is indispensable.

Why is it important to identify varicose veins in the early stages and start treating them?

The pathological changes that occur in the veins worsen as the varicose veins progress. It takes a long time to get the ship back to its original state. The earlier the treatment is started, the faster the surrounding veins and tissues will restore their structure and function.

In addition to any method of treatment, the patient must follow a correct lifestyle: stop smoking, do not carry excessive loads to the gym, minimize stress and go for walks in the fresh air.