Varicose veins disease and its classification

Varicose veins are today one of the most common pathologies affecting one in four people in the world.

Scientists have been studying pathology since ancient times. Varicose veins are divided into classifications - types and complexity of the course of the disease.

What is varicose veins?

legs with varicose veins

Varicose veins or varicose veins are a vascular disease that results from swollen veins. They swell due to the fact that they lose elasticity and begin to deform under the weight of blood.

When the disease begins to develop, it first affects the small capillaries, and only then does it spread to the veins. Under the influence of certain factors, blood circulation in the limbs is disturbed. In order for the blood to rise, the pressure increases and squeezes it out. But due to its own density, it cannot be fully raised.

As a result, the debris flows down the veins and clogs into so-called "pockets", which appear as a result of weakening of blood vessels. After some time, the accumulated blood accumulates in blood clots by sticking together blood bodies - erythrocytes.

Thus, varicose veins can be called pathological changes in blood vessels, they most often occur in the lower extremities.

But it also happens on the hands and even on the genitals. The veins are dilated and can be seen through the skin. The first symptom of varicose veins is the appearance of arachnoid veins and asterisks. This suggests that there is a violation of blood flow and in parallel the vessels are destroyed. To avoid complications, you must immediately consult a phlebologist when you find a vascular sample under the skin.

According to statistics, 20 out of 100 people suffer from varicose veins, and 10 of them do not know about the development of this disease. Varicose veins affect the fairer sex more, because women have more reasons and reasons for the disease - high heels, pregnancy, hereditary factors.

Why does a vein blockage occur?

There are many different factors that cause varicose veins to develop.

Consider the most basic:

  1. Walking and physical activity. At risk are people who spend a lot of time in an upright position, such as working in a standing position. When a person stands, the veins are under pressure. If we take into account the force of attraction, it becomes clear that the veins are deformed at this time. That’s why it’s important to warm up, sometimes even sit down. Squat or do exercises in between. Also, with excessive physical exertion, blood vessels dilate. As a result, natural plasticity is lost over time, resulting in the development of varicose veins.
  2. hereditary predisposition. It has long been proven that cardiovascular diseases can be inherited. More precisely, it is not the varicose vein itself that is transmitted at the genetic level, but the structural characteristics of the vascular network throughout the body, which can be a predisposition for various types of vascular pathologies.
  3. Hormonal imbalance most often occurs as a result of disorders of the endocrine system. A woman's body goes through hormonal changes many times in her life - during puberty, during pregnancy, during menstruation, during menopause, at that time. When men are only affected by hormonal disorders associated with menopause.
  4. Injuries to the nervous system directly affect the tone of the vascular wall. Excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, taking medication, constant stress - all this destroys nerve cells, resulting in reduced flexibility and elasticity of venous networks. And this is a direct path to varicose veins.
  5. Other diseases that can cause the development of varicose veins. The load on the veins increases with various pathological processes - from the common cold to surgery. So, it can be concluded that it is any disease

It is interesting that previously varicose veins were considered a disease of people older than 40 years. Now this pathology affects even young people aged 18-22. This is due to hormonal disorders, malnutrition, too active or sedentary lifestyle.

How does the disease manifest itself?

varicose veins in the legs

Varicose veins can present with a variety of symptoms. It is easy to recognize on its own in the advanced stages, and it is quite difficult to recognize it in the initial stage, when it is easiest to treat.

The main signs of the development of varicose veins are the following factors:

  • constant fatigue in the legs, especially after a long walk
  • swelling in the legs
  • manifestation of a vascular pattern at the apex of the skin
  • with intensive development of the disease, venous nodules and cyanosis appear
  • the bulging vein is very painful, it may be itchy
  • convulsions

In addition, there may be other symptoms associated with circulatory disorders - changes in blood pressure, heart disorders.

The described symptoms cannot be ignored, because in addition to varicose veins, they can also signal other diseases.

Classification of varicose veins

It has already been said above that scientists have been studying varicose veins for more than a century. During this time, several classifications of this disease have been defined.

Classification according to disease stages:

  • Compensation A is a phase where there are no complaints. No cramps, swelling or pain. But on examination, the veins protrude on one or both limbs;
  • Compensation B is manifested by bulging veins, pain, itching in the area of the nodes, periodic convulsions, swelling and itching.
  • Decompensation is the last phase in which, in addition to all the symptoms with veins, skin diseases also appear - dermatitis, eczema. The skin is dry, begins to peel, cracks. The capillaries burst and, as a result of subcutaneous bleeding, hyperpigmentation occurs which manifests itself in a lilac-burgundy hue.
the doctor examines the leg with varicose veins

Classification according to the form of pathology:

  • vascular disease without reflux
  • segmental lesion with pathological shunt
  • widespread lesion with pathological shunt

International classification:

  • zero phase, in which varicose veins are just beginning to develop. At the same time, all symptoms are completely absent - pain, itching, fatigue, swelling. Occasionally, fatigue and heaviness in the legs may occur.
  • the first phase, in which vascular networks and asterisks are already visible through the skin. In rare cases, seizures may occur
  • second - varicose veins occur, ie blood vessels lose elasticity and sagging veins appear as small tubercles that can be seen with the naked eye
  • the third phase is characterized by the appearance of swelling of the ankles and feet. It does not disappear after a break.
  • fourth degree varicose veins - the appearance of dermatitis, dryness, skin lesions
  • the fifth stage of varicose veins is the appearance of a preulcerative condition, in which the skin is constantly cracked, looks blue or burgundy. The wounds hurt, the swelling doesn't go away, the veins don't hide
  • the sixth stage is trophic ulcer. This is a wound that has the peculiarity of not healing. That is, it is a constantly open wound that hurts a lot, the skin around it itches, and if swelling occurs, the wound can grow

If you are guided by an international classification, then stages 1-3 are still subject to conservative treatment. But more advanced forms of the disease require only surgery, in which the veins are surgically removed.

Diagnosis of the disease

ultrasound diagnosis of varicose veins

Only a specialist can diagnose varicose veins and determine the stage of pathology after several types of examination of the patient. Swelling and pain can also occur with other diseases.

Even the most experienced phlebologist or vascular surgeon cannot make a diagnosis based on symptoms alone.

Diagnosis consists of palpation and examination. The doctor examines the veins, assessing their condition. Next, the patient should perform a blood test to find out the characteristics, number of blood cells, coagulability and erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

It is also important to confirm or rule out the presence of pathogenic bacteria or viruses in the body.

An obligatory item in the study is ultrasound diagnostics, which will enable the doctor to see the whole picture.

That is, this method will help to see the condition of the veins and the degree of "blockage". An X-ray may also be needed. In order to "enlighten" the veins, a special medicine is injected into them, which allows you to see the entire vascular network on the X-ray.

If the doctor suspects other pathologies during the examination, he can schedule an examination with another doctor, for example, a cardiologist, endocrinologist, gynecologist and other specialists. The fact is that before starting treatment, it is necessary to clearly determine the cause of the pathology, and it can vary.

Methods of treatment

There are many methods of therapy that are prescribed for varicose veins. The type of treatment will directly depend on the severity of the disease, the degree of blockage of the veins and the general condition of the patient.

surgical treatment of varicose veins

Consider the main methods:

  1. Conservative treatment includes complex therapy aimed at alleviating the symptoms and eliminating the main cause of varicose veins. You must first alleviate the pain and inflammation that have resulted from vascular damage. It is also necessary to drink a course of diuretic drugs that will help remove fluid from the body that has accumulated due to impaired blood circulation. In parallel, doctors prescribe drugs that dilute the blood and strengthen the walls of capillaries and veins. So the drugs work in every way and relief comes. This method is relevant in the initial phase of the disease. That is, with trophic ulcers or a presented condition, such a method will be ineffective.
  2. Surgical intervention in the treatment of varicose veins. During the operation, damaged veins and venous areas with a high degree of obstruction are removed.

Laser surgery is a modern and most common way to remove affected blood vessels. Unlike surgery, laser therapy does not have a long recovery period. That is, after the procedure, you can immediately return to your usual way of life.

With timely treatment, as a rule, the prognosis is positive. That is, if you do not tighten varicose veins, then the disease is not so terrible. Otherwise, complications can occur.

In addition to the fact that varicose veins will develop and grow into a trophic ulcer, it disrupts many vital processes because it completely disrupts blood circulation in the body.