Varicose veins are considered as a real scourge as they occur in 30-40% of women and 10-20% of men over 18 years old. A lot of people consider varicose veins a harmless cosmetic imperfection, however, it is a serious illness that affects the veins of the lower limb and that can lead to serious complications if not treated promptly. It is related to slowly developing diseases and is often overlooked because its symptoms could be similar to other conditions.
The symptoms, depending on the stage of the illness, can include heavy legs, pain, itching, and swelling in the evening and cramps at night. The so-called spider veins appear, much later, the veins can swell significantly and form knots overtime. As the first symptoms appear, it is recommended to seek professional medical help to avoid serious complications such as trophic ulcers, thrombophlebitis, and phlebothrombosis. Anyone can suffer from varicose veins but the condition primarily develops in women.
Development of varicose veins
Let’s look at the development of varicose veins closely. There are two blood circulatory systems (cardiovascular systems) that deliver nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body. The arteries carry blood away from the heart; the veins carry it back. To some extent, the gravity facilitates the movement of blood from the top to the bottom.
To return to the heart the blood moves through the veins. And the valves located in the veins facilitate this process. This allows blood to move in only one direction – up. Leg muscles can also participate in the process, when contracting regularly. For example, during walking, the vessels are squeezed-relaxed pushing up the blood from valve to valve.
When the veins are expanded due to various factors, the valves that ensure the normal outflow of the blood from the legs to the heart stop closing. This creates a gap that slows down the outflow. Consequently, it stretches the vessels even more.
There are some factors which can cause or facilitate the development of the illness:
If the person’s both parents have varicose veins, it is 90% certain that the child will inherit them. Normally, this is linked to insufficient flexibility of the connective tissue, which leads to weakness of vascular walls.
During pregnancy, women have a higher risk of developing varicose veins.First of all, the volume of the blood flow increases by 50% if the woman is carrying one child, and by 70% with multiple pregnancies. The third blood circle, the so-called uteroplacental blood circle, supplies the fetus with maternal blood. It also increases cardiac output. Secondly, the uterus starts to press the inferior vena cava and it creates a simple mechanical obstacle for the blood flow from the woman’s legs up to her heart. And finally, hormonal changes associated with pregnancy make the walls of veins softer which causes valve malfunction.
If the person is very obese, their lipid metabolism is disturbed, which causes varicose veins.
If the person is sitting for over 8 hours a day, the risk of varicose veins increases.
If a person is often standing and their lifestyle involves constant physical activity, the risk of varicose veins increases.
Wearing high heels affects the functioning of the gastrocnemius muscle that reduces the activity of the muscle pump.
Fiber deficiency leads to chronic constipation, lack of nutrients, and consequently violates the integrity of venous walls.
When experiencing any of the symptoms you should look for professional help. To prevent the disease, it is recommended to walk regularly, avoid uncomfortable footwear and clothing, and give up unhealthy habits such as smoking or drinking alcohol. Wearing compression hosiery is beneficial as part of prevention or treatment of varicose veins. A professional phlebologist can help you choose the right level of compression. INTEX is a Russian market leader of compression hosiery. INTEX manufactures products with high-quality raw materials following international standards. It is the first manufacturer to produce one-size-fits-all compression textiles. To treat advanced stages of the disease, it is recommended to seek advice from a specialist as a surgical intervention may be needed.