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Varicose veins

Rutoven®

Rutoven®

Active ingredients: Troxerutina (Troxerutinum) 20 mg/g Therapeutic indications: The preparation is...

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Esceven® Gel

Esceven® Gel

Active ingredients: Thick extract of horse-chestnut seed (Hippocastani seminis extractum spissum;...

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Esceven®

Esceven®

Active ingredients: 167 mg of dry extract of chestnut seed...

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How to deal with the symptoms of venous insufficiency in the legs?

Perhaps many of you find that your legs feel heavy, you feel cramps in your calves or they are even swollen after a long and tiring day. The symptoms may indicate a developing circulatory insufficiency in the legs. Let us consider how to improve the blood flow in the legs and protect yourself from the chronic form of circulatory insufficiency in the legs.

The importance of valves in venous vessels

To better understand what exactly contributes to impaired circulation in the lower limbs it is worth knowing the principle of blood circulation in the body.
The blood is provided with oxygen in the lungs. Then the oxygenated blood enters the left cardiac ventricle, from which it is pumped out into the arteries by the cardiac contraction. The blood follows the arteries from the heart and reaches all tissues in the body (which is when we say that the blood is at the peripheries), including the veins of the legs and provides them with oxygen. Then the blood returns to the heart through the veins, carrying toxic metabolic products and carbon dioxide.

How come the blood flows against gravity, from the feet back to the heart?

This is caused by various mechanisms, including the suction action of the heart, the negative pressure in the chest and the positive pressure in the abdominal cavity. An extremely critical factor which causes the blood to be pushed out from the lower extremities is the work of the legs. When the legs move, their muscles contract and press on the veins which pumps the blood up. It is the work of the legs that makes the blood flow towards the heart. When the leg muscles relax, the blood continues to flow up towards the heart, since the veins have valves which prevent the blood from reversing. The valves are thin petals which close or open, depending on the tension force of the calve muscles. They act as stops or dams; when the muscle contracts, the valves remain open and the blood is freely pushed towards the heart (up). When the muscle relaxes, the valves close, preventing the blood from returning towards the feet.
Lack of physical activity is a huge threat to the valves in the venous vessels of the legs. When the valves remain closed for a prolonged time, the lack of muscular contractor of the calves favours degeneration of the valve structure. This process is very slow; however, there are several factors which accelerate it:

  • many hours of sitting, especially with the legs crossed; or working in the standing position;
  • wearing of socks, popsocks or stockings with strong ribbing;
  • high-heel shoes;
  • pregnancy;
  • obesity or excess weight;
  • hormonal disorders, hormonal therapies, hormonal contraception;
  • prolonged tanning;
  • chronic constipation;
  • a family history of venous insufficiency in the legs.

Damaged valves allow the blood being pushed to the heart to partially return and accumulate in the leg veins. A lor of blood accumulates in the veins which are farthest from the heart, resulting in high venous pressure. The accumulating blood blows up the vein walls, first resulting in telangiectasia, i.e. the so-called spider veins with a characteristic blue colour. They are the dilated venous vessels which become clearly visible under the skin. Other symptoms ensue later, including swelling, varicose veins and skin discolorations, which finally develop into ulcerations around the ankles.

Just like varicose veins, the swelling is caused by venous hypertension. When too much blood accumulates within the legs, the venous vessels become so overloaded that they literally burst at a point. Small capillaries (the smallest veins in the legs in this case) lose structural integrity. Gaps begin to form in their walls and the plasma (the liquid in which the red blood cells and other blood components are suspended) starts to seep through the venous walls and accumulates under the skin, which results in swelling. If the condition persists for a long time, the blood components also start to seep through and accumulate under the skin, causing discolouration.

The term "varicose veins" refers to the veins which become less flexible, more brittle and unevenly dilated at certain sections of length due to long-term deposition of blood. This results in the characteristic meandering form. Varicose veins are the advanced stage of venous insufficiency in the legs.

Then the slightest of impacts or cuts results in ulceration, a condition which is extremely difficult to treat.

To conclude, the chronic venous insufficiency of lower members develops gradually and in several stages, from telangiectasia (spider veins) and swelling through varicose veins and discolorations to ulcerations that are difficult to heal.

Prevention is essential!

Do not ignore the initial symptoms of haemostasis in the veins of the legs, i.e. the sensation of heavy legs, contractile pains and swelling. The development of a full-blown venous disorder, i.e. with varicose veins, swelling and difficult to heal ulceration may result in severe complications:

  • superficial thrombophlebitis;
  • haemorrhage from ruptured varicose veins;
  • bacterial infections within poorly healing ulcerations, which may even end with a whole-body infection with microbe (sepsis or SIRS);
  • pulmonary embolism, a direct threat to life.

Improve the fitness of your legs

  1. Increase your physical activity.
    Add cycling or long walks to your daily agenda. If you work at a desk, move your feet often. Rise from the desk from time to time and take a short walk. When travelling, remember to use compression therapy (compressive stockings or bands), which facilitates the movement of blood from the lower extremities to the heart and thus prevents blood retention in the leg veins. When driving, stop every now and then to do a little exercise.
  2. Use preparations which naturally improve the functioning of lower extremity venous vessels.
    The most valuable products here include organic substances which can seal capillary walls. They are used to prevent the development of swelling and at the same time to inhibit the growth of venous insufficiency in the legs accompanied by varicose veins and poorly healing ulceration. The preparations should be taken when you only notice the first symptoms of the initial stages of venous blood retention in the legs, e.g. heavy legs or slight oedemas (swelling).
    Aescin and troxerutin are among the substances which seal the vein walls:
    Aescin is a compound extracted from the seeds of the horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanus). The substance seals the blood vessel walls and makes them more flexible, which prevents their bursting. It is especially important in people who suffer from varicose veins, bloody subdermal extravasation (which usually accompanies advanced obesity), as well as dilated and bursting small blood vessels, i.e. spider veins. Available preparations:
  • Esceven® dragees – take one tablet 3 times a day after meals.
  • Esceven® gel – intended for those who do not wish to take tablets and also for those who do not show sufficient results of orally administered preparations. Apart from aescin, the gel also contains heparin, which is an antithrombotic. The Esceven gel is a pharmaceutical product traditionally administered in chronic venous insufficiency. Apply the gel 3 times a day by rubbing a strip 3 to 4 cm long into the skin of the calves. Administer the gel therapy for 2 weeks. If the symptoms worsen or persist, consult a doctor. Do not use the gel on open wounds. Avoid exposure of mucous membranes and the oral cavity.

Do not administer either of the preparations to pregnant or breast-feeding women or to children under 12 years of age.

Troxerutin is a bioflavonoid chemically synthesised from rutin, another substance isolated from plants. Ruting is obtained from the pagoda tree (Sophora japonica); it is also available in buckwheat grass, rue, heartsease (Viola tricolor), hypericum, linden tree, pot marigold, mint and many other species. Troxerutin reduces the permeability and improves the flexibility of small blood vessels. It is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antioedematous. It reduces the tendency of blood platelets to aggregate (i.e. to form clots or thrombi), streamlines the circulation (the blood flow in capillaries, which are the smallest veins in the legs) and protects the endothelium of blood vessels from damage. Available preparations:

  • Rutoven® gel – the preparation is administered just like Esceven gel, i.e. 3 times a day. Do not administer for more than 3 weeks.

Chronic blood retention in the veins of the legs is a serious disorder with many complications that are life-threatening. So if you find the first symptoms that suggest problems with proper venous circulation in your legs, e.g. a feeling of heavy legs, do not wait any longer! First try to have a more active lifestyle and help the veins of your legs with natural substances which will prevent further development of the disease.