Varicose veins are the most frequent condition of blood vessels of the legs. The condition most often occurs when the direction of the blood flow is violated. Arteries take blood from the heart to periphery parts of the body while veins and their valves take blood back to the heart. Normally, in healthy people vein blood flows from superficial veins to deep ones, and then further to the heart. In the case of varicose veins (varicosities), vein valves cannot perform this function, i.e. they do not close properly. Blood flows back from the deep veins to the superficial veins. Due to the backward flow (reflux), the vein blood remains in the leg and leads to swollen legs, tension, and pain. Varicose veins are a condition that exacerbates over years.
Visible blood vessel “nodes“ (varicosities) on the legs occur as a result of varicose subcutaneous veins. They are not only an aesthetic problem for the patient, but are a cause of other problems for the patient.
The hereditary factor is an important factor for the occurrence of the condition. Approximately 50% of the population has a problem with veins. Recent studies have shown that if both parents have varicose veins, it is 80% likely that their children will have the same problem. Lifestyle habits also play a big role in the occurrence of varicose veins. Long time standing and sitting during the day may lead to varicose veins while bad diet and obesity are the most frequent risk factors for the occurrence of the condition.
Varicose veins occur more often in older people although they may also occur at a younger age. The condition is more widespread in women than in men. Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are also important. Pregnancy affects the rise of hormone level, the total volume of liquid in the body is higher, and the enlarged uterus creates pressure on vein blood vessels in the lesser pelvis. In most cases, 60-70%, varicose veins occurring during pregnancy disappear several weeks after childbirth.
The condition may be divided into three phases.
In the first phase patients usually experience problems such as occasional leg pain and cramps, but without visible veins or visible so-called capillaries. In this phase, the wrong direction of venous blood flow may not be diagnosed by an ultrasound exam. Treatment involves possibly taking medication (venotonics) and wearing elastic compression stockings.
However, in the next phase of the condition veins become visible. The wrong direction of blood flow may be diagnosed by ultrasound exam in a large number of cases. In this phase, patients feel pain, night cramps, itching, and restless legs. At the beginning the symptoms are occasional, but later they occur more often and on a daily basis. At this stage the inflammation of superficial veins may occur, i.e. a blood clot may be created in vein nodes (thrombophlebitis), and this complication may spread from superficial veins to deep ones. The symptoms of deep vein inflammation do not show in almost 50% of patients. Since they are more difficult to detect and are detected later, the treatment is considerably more complex. The most common symptoms of thrombophlebitis are the feeling of heavy and tired legs after long walking or standing. Besides, a patient may have pain and swellings while the surface of the skin may become red. Firm changes, most often in the form of stripes may be felt immediately under the skin. Thrombophlebitis may sometimes be followed by the movement of the blood clot towards the lungs. If the blood clot starts to move in the presence of the thrombophlebitis, and if it reaches the lungs, the patient may experience a potentially life-threatening condition (pulmonary embolism). This problem is more common in those people who have a significant genetic predisposition.
The last, but not such a rare phase is a chronic vein insufficiency when swelling and skin changes occur on the lower legs in the form of brown or black spots or redness. The most serious phase of the varicose veins is the occurrence of venous ulcers (ulcus). The reason for the condition is the weakness of the connective tissue in leg veins although the reason may also be the neglect or inadequate treatment of varicose vein disease. When the first venous wound appears, it most often heals in a period of one to three months. Any subsequent appearance of a venous would imply much slower healing until healing becomes impossible. If the condition is not treated, it may cause serious complications and a life-threatening condition.
Walking is a good friend of veins because it helps them to return blood to the heart by muscle pump. Wearing elastic stocking may help before the disease emerges. However, many causes of varicose veins cannot be avoided. A strong hereditary factor or long standing or sitting at work are the leading causes of the disease. The use of various creams and preparations for the treatment of varicose veins may not prevent the occurrence of the disease. Only timely and adequate treatment may enhance esthetic and functional results.
When the condition occurs, possible methods of treatment are:
The centre was founded by doctor Dario Jocić, a vascular surgeon, after many years of his professional practice. His wish was to offer patients in this part of Europe all globally available, modern and minimally invasive treatment methods for varicose veins.
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