How do the main symptoms of varicose veins in the legs appear?

The expansion of the veins in the legs is an insidious disease, since the symptoms of varicose veins for the patient become noticeable only when the expressed stage of the disease begins and all kinds of complications begin.

A pronounced clinical picture manifests itself only after many years, and the lack of timely action ends in the patient's disability or death. Therefore, it is very important to identify the first signs of problems. This will help to take timely measures and avoid surgery.

Who suffers from varicose veins

photo of varicose veins on the legs

Most often, varicose veins are observed in women (according to statistics, one in three women suffer from this disease). This is explained by the following reasons:

  1. Pregnancy can provoke the development of the disease. In this state, an increase in body weight, an increase in pressure in the veins due to an increase in the uterus, as well as hormonal changes in the body contribute to blood stagnation.
  2. Taking hormonal contraceptives.
  3. Climax.
  4. Wearing uncomfortable high-heeled shoes.

In men, varicose veins are less common. This usually happens during weightlifting sports, as well as during hard physical work.

Regardless of a person's gender, the disease often occurs with a forced static position of the body, hereditary predisposition, obesity.

slim body and obesity as a cause of varicose veins

Doctors note that it is typical for men to seek help at an advanced stage of the disease. They pay less attention to the first signs because they are less attentive to their appearance. Women, having found a vascular network in themselves, go to the doctor to get rid of it, as if from a cosmetic defect.

If we talk about the symptoms, it should be noted that it depends on the severity and neglect of varicose veins. For the convenience of the diagnosis, experts distinguish four stages in the development of the disease.

First signs

signs of varicose veins on the legs

The initial stage is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • feeling of heaviness in the legs after a day of work, long walks or standing;
  • fatigue and pain;
  • the appearance of varicose veins (telangiectasias)
  • swelling in the ankle area.

All these manifestations disappear after a night's rest, but reappear in the evening. These signs characterize the first stage of the disease, when the venous system fails for the first time and stagnation of blood begins. There is an increase in pressure on the vascular wall, its lumen increases, and the internal valves stop closing completely and allow the blood to partially flow back.

When examining the patient, there are no visible changes. You may notice a slight softness in the lower leg. As a rule, there are no complaints during this period. Patients usually explain minor manifestations with banal fatigue.

At this stage, effective treatment of varicose veins is possible, since there are still no irreversible changes. The vascular wall does not stretch and retains its former shape. It is enough to identify the underlying cause of the stagnation and eliminate it.

Second phase

symptoms of varicose veins on the legs

If the pathological process continues, blood stagnation increases, there is a violation of the structure of the venous walls, the vessels expand and the valves in them do not close. In this case, the patient notes:

  • pronounced heaviness and a feeling of fullness in the lower legs;
  • a pronounced feeling of fatigue, pain;
  • the appearance of enlarged veins in the popliteal fossa and other places;
  • the occurrence of cramps in the calf muscles at night;
  • change in sensitivity, feeling of "crawling";
  • the symptoms do not go away even after lying down during sleep.

At this stage, functional disorders of venous outflow and the formation of varicose nodules begin.

Third phase

Symptoms of varicose veins of the lower limbs at this stage are caused by severe congestion and circulatory disturbances in the skin and muscle tissue of the legs:

  • visible varicose nodules and sac-like enlargements appear;
  • veins lengthen, begin to protrude under the skin, acquire a characteristic tortuosity (mainly on the inner surface of the thigh or lower leg);
  • the skin becomes dry and thinner, dermatitis may develop;
  • in the distal part of the leg, brown spots appear, areas of pigmentation and compaction of the subcutaneous tissue appear;
  • swelling, heaviness and pain in the legs (throbbing, burning, occurs along the venous trunk);
  • severe fatigue and pain syndrome do not disappear after sleep, grow and intensify in the evening, interfere with free circulation;
  • muscle cramps are becoming more common;
  • toenails break and change structure, hair falls out.

Stage four (development of complications)

advanced stage of varicose veins

In the last stage of varicose veins, all of the above symptoms intensify, and severe venous insufficiency and tissue malnutrition lead to the development of life-threatening complications:

Trophic ulcers

Trophic ulcers appear. They heal slowly, causing pain and intense suffering. The signs of ulcer development are:

  • itching and burning in a certain area of the skin;
  • discoloration - the appearance of a rounded spot with uneven edges; purple or purple with the subsequent formation of a scab and wound surface.

In the future, it all depends on the treatment. The ulcer has smooth edges and various types of discharge: serous, purulent, hemorrhagic, fibrin streaks are noted.

With proper therapy, scars are the last stage of development. The addition of an infection leads to the development of gangrene, which is difficult to treat with antibacterial agents, and can lead to the loss of a limb or to sepsis and death.

Traumatic bleeding

A pronounced thinning of the venous wall under increased blood pressure or minor trauma results in a rupture of the vessel, followed by massive bleeding.

Blood clots

Congestion and inflammation cause blood clots to form in the leg veins. With thrombosis, some symptoms occur:

  • severe pain in the area of thrombosis;
  • redness and increased temperature of the skin in the area of the thrombus projection;
  • pain and thickening of the vein when palpating;
  • increased sensitivity of the skin.

Similar symptoms of varicose veins in the legs are an indication for hospitalization. Otherwise, the consequences can be quite serious. Thrombophlebitis is dangerous because when a blood clot is torn, it enters the system of the large arteries that supply the brain, kidneys, lungs and heart muscle. This phenomenon is very likely to cause the development of a heart attack, blockage of the pulmonary artery or a stroke.

Varicose veins of the legs

early and advanced varicose veins

It should be noted that the development of the disease also depends on the localization of the injury process. If varicose veins pass along the descending path, then the outflow disturbance occurs along the great saphenous vein of the thigh, with symptoms typical of the disease.

But there is also an ascending path, in which the insufficiency of the valve in the vessels located inside is noted. This phenomenon is rare in its pure form, the reason is the complete absence of the valve apparatus or an anomaly of its development in a certain part of the vein.

What are the signs of varicose veins of the lower limbs? With congestion in deep veins, the clinical picture may not appear for a long time, the pathological process proceeds imperceptibly for quite a long time. Such latent varicose veins are very dangerous and are often first diagnosed with the development of thrombosis with complete occlusion, when there is severe pain, swelling, redness or blue discoloration of the limb. In the complete absence of the passage of blood through a large vessel, venous gangrene develops.

varicose veins in the leg

But this phenomenon is quite rare. Most often, internal varicose veins cannot be isolated for a long time, since there is a communication system between the superficial and deep veins, and blood is released through the perforating veins. In this case, the symptoms of the disease will be the same as in the defeat of the superficial veins.

When the first signs of venous stasis appear, you should not waste time, you should immediately consult a doctor and follow his recommendations.