Carrying surplus weight puts strain on many parts of the body, such as the heart, bones, lungs and muscles. Being overweight can also put you at an increased risk of developing arthritis, diabetes and mental health issues like depression.

There is another health concern of being overweight that can tend to be overlooked. – venous problems.

One common venous condition that can be influenced by weight is varicose veins. It is said around 20% of people develop visible varicose veins, while around 84% of the population have visible thread veins on their legs. But how much is the development and severity of this extremely common vascular disorder affected by weight?

Varicose veins and obesity

Carrying extra pounds places pressure on the veins, which means the veins are forced to work harder to send blood back to the heart. When the veins have to work harder, increased pressure is put on the valves, making them more susceptible to leaking.

The larger veins in the legs can bulge as a result of the blood not flowing freely towards the heart and getting trapped in the legs.

As the NHS notes, the affect one’s body weight has on varicose veins appears to be more significant in women.

While obesity and being overweight is a contributing factor in causing varicose veins, the common condition is associated with several other contributing factors, including genetics, pregnancy, age, hormonal mediations and occupations that require long periods of sitting or standing.

Preventing varicose veins

Losing excess weight and have a healthy BMI (body mass index) has a number of health benefits including good venous health. For individuals with varicose veins, losing weight could prevent the condition from worsening.

If you would like to talk to a vascular health specialist and discuss treatment options for varicose veins and other venous conditions, get in touch with the Vascular Consultancy, experts in the effective treatment of varicose veins.


A venous leg ulcer is a sore on the leg that takes a long time to heal, usually more than four to six weeks. The most common place for a leg ulcer to appear is in the inside of the leg, just above the ankle.
Those suffering from a leg ulcer may experience pain, swelling of the affected area, and itching. The skin around the leg ulcer may also harden and become discoloured. A bad-smelling odour may also be produced from the ulcer.
The most common type of leg ulcer is the venous leg ulcer, which account for more than 90% of all leg ulcer cases. Venous leg ulcers are more common in elderly people, and it is estimated that around 1 in 50 people aged 80 or above, suffer with leg ulcers.
How to treat and manage venous leg ulcers
With the right treatment, leg ulcers can be treated effectively. Some of the key steps of leg ulcer management include:
• Seeing a professionally trained healthcare specialist to diagnose the wound and provide advice on causes and treatment
• Once diagnosed, the affected area will need to be cleaned and dressed. The cleaning and dressing of the ulcer will remove dead tissue and other debris from the wound, creating the best conditions for the ulcer to heal.
• Compression stockings and bandages are typically applied to the venous leg ulcer in order to support the wound and improve the blood flow in the legs by squeezing the legs and encouraging the blood to flow towards the heart.
• Pain killers may be prescribed. The pain however should begin to lessen when the leg ulcer starts to heal.
• Antibiotics may also be prescribed in cases where in leg ulcer has become infected. However, it is important to note that antibiotics don’t help leg ulcers to heal but will help the body fight the infection.
Exploring the underlying cause of the venous leg ulcer
Whilst the careful management of a leg ulcer by a healthcare professional will successfully heal the sore, unless the underlying cause of the condition is addressed, patients are at risk of the leg ulcer returning.
Some of the most common reasons as to why venous leg ulcers appear, include obesity, varicose veins, immobility and age.
People can reduce the risk of being susceptible to venous leg ulcer by exercising regularly, wearing compression stockings, elevating their legs when possible and losing weight if they are overweight.
If you require treatment for venous leg ulcers, get in touch with the Vascular Consultancy, specialists in the diagnose and treatment of vascular conditions.


It is not uncommon for women to experience varicose veins whilst they are pregnant. This is because of the growing uterus, which puts pressure on the large vein on the right-hand side of the body, known as the interior vena cava. The pressure on this large vein puts additional burden on the veins in the legs.
Not only this but when a woman is pregnant, the amount of blood in her body increases, which can also put additional pressure on the veins. Progesterone levels also rise during pregnancy, which causes the walls of the blood vessels to relax. These factors can contribute to varicose veins developing within pregnant women. Or for women who already suffer from varicose veins, pregnancy can exacerbate the condition.
Whilst unsightly, varicose veins are usually not harmful, and are just another bodily burden many expectant ladies are forced to endure.
That said, there are certain strategies mums-to-be can take to help minimise the effects of varicose veins in pregnancy.
Get some exercise on a regular basis
It need not be a five-mile run or 50 lengths in the pool, but carrying out some gentle exercise regularly will get the blood pumping round the body and help stave off varicose veins.
As the Baby Centre advises:
“Exercise daily. Even just a brisk walk around the block can help your circulation.”
Watch your weight
It is generally recommended that pregnant women should keep weight gain to around 25 – 35 pounds. Additional weight puts pressure on the body and can overwork an already overworked circulatory system, making you more prone to varicose veins.
Get plenty of vitamins
Vitamins are important for the health of both the mother and her unborn baby. Eating a well-balanced diet full of vitamins will not only help keep a pregnant lady’s weight down but can also help the body repair itself, which can help reduce the risk of varicose veins appearing on the skin. As What To Expect writes in a feature about varicose veins and pregnancy:
“Get your daily dose of vitamins. A balanced pregnancy diet keeps veins healthy. Make sure to eat lots of foods with vitamin C, which your body uses to produce collagen and elastin (connective tissues that repair and maintain blood vessels.)
Elevate the legs
Legs and feet can become tired during pregnancy, especially during the latter stages. Elevating the legs whenever possible, such as putting them on a stool when watching TV in the evening or keeping them on a pillow in bed, will help alleviate tired legs, improve the blood circulation in the legs and stave off varicose veins.
Compression stockings
It might also be a good idea to wear compression stockings. These special support stockings are tighter at the ankle and become looser further up the leg, helping the blood flow back to the heart. With the blood flowing easier, compression stockings can help prevent varicose veins from becoming any worse.
If you are concerned about any aspect of varicose veins during pregnancy, or have had a baby and would like to get varicose veins treated, get in touch with the Vascular Consultancy, experts in the treatment of varicose veins and other vascular conditions.


Varicose veins do not always require treatment. However, if the veins are causing discomfort or pain, treatment is usually required to ease the symptoms, treat complications associated with varicose veins, such as leg ulcers and swelling of the skin, or for cosmetic reasons.

There are several treatments available for the effective removal of varicose veins. Varicose vein avulsions are the removal of varicosities from the leg by using a special hook via a small nick made to the leg. This varicose veins treatment is sometimes known as phlebectomies.

The procedure involves several tiny incisions made in the skin. The varicose veins are then removed from the surface of the leg with a needle or a small scalpel. A phlebectomy hook at the end of the needle or scalpel removes the vein.
Varicose veins avulsions can be carried out under a general or local anaesthetic, depending on the severity of the varicose veins and the wishes of the patient.

How long is recovery following varicose veins avulsions?

Following a phlebectomies procedure, the affected part of the leg is bandaged and the patient is provided with additional support via support stockings.

Recovery following this procedure is relative quick, typically within a couple of days. It is not uncommon for the affected area to weep slightly following the treatment, especially after bathing the leg. It is also common for the area to be prone to bruising and swelling, which usually settles within a couple of weeks after the treatment.

Benefits of varicose veins avulsions

There are several benefits of varicose veins avulsions as an effective treatment for this vein condition. As a local anaesthetic is usually sufficient in this type of procedure, recovery time is relatively quick with phlebectomies treatment.
As the incisions made to the skin are so minor, suture closures are not typically required.

As Vein Care notes, varicose veins avulsions are considered a more cosmetically acceptable surgical alternative to longer treatments which are employed via injections.

This type of varicose vein treatment can also reduce the risk of hyper pigmentation – brown discolouration – of the skin, as a result of the varicose vein treatment.

Vascular Consultancy offers various treatments for the removal of varicose veins, one of which is the Phlebectomies treatment.

If you would like to discuss treatment for varicose veins and the different procedures available, get in touch with Daryll Baker of the Vascular Consultancy. Daryll Baker is a leading UK specialist in providing advice, diagnosis and treatment for varicose veins and other vascular conditions.


If you suffer from varicose veins, you might welcome the colder months of winter. Bare legs can be covered with tights or trousers, and bikinis and trunks are certainly out of the question with temperatures rarely reaching double figures! While these unsightly veins on the legs can be conveniently covered up during the winter, the colder season can intensify the condition and amplify some of the problems associated with varicose veins.

Excessive central heating

Now’s the time of year when we turn the dial of thermostat up on the central heating. Although according to a report in the Daily Mail, excessive central heating and underfloor heating can trigger varicose vein flare-ups and make the symptoms worse.

Weight gain in the winter

With Christmas and all the extravagance that goes hand in hand with the festive season, followed by cold, wet weather making us reach for the comforts of the fridge, winter can be a time when weight gain tends to creep up on us.
Unfortunately, for those suffering from varicose veins, weight gain can make the condition worse. In fact, obesity is cited as being a major culprit in the development of varicose veins. This is due to the fact that additional pounds of weight can put pressure on the veins, which results in the larger veins in the legs bulging out more noticeably as the blood pools in the veins.

Lack of exercise

While the warm days of summer and the long, light nights compel many of us to reach for our trainers and embark on exercise regimes, by contrast, the damp, darkness and cold of the winter, makes us want to curl back under the duvet and stay in bed!
This lack of exercise in the winter can have negative consequences on those suffering from varicose veins, as the blood isn’t sufficiently pumped around the body.

In short, adopting a healthy lifestyle, which combines a healthy, well-balanced diet with regular exercise helps us maintain a healthy weight, thus reducing the risk of varicose veins becoming worse due to weight gain.

Some effective exercises to help relieve symptoms caused by varicose veins and prevent the condition from getting worse are leg lifts, calf raises, bicycle legs and side lunges. It is important to note that all of these exercises can be carried out indoors from the convenience of your own living room, giving you no excuse not to exercise, regardless of the season or what the weather’s doing outside!

If you would like any advice about varicose veins, or require a diagnosis of a vascular condition or information about treatments, get in touch with Daryll Baker, one of the UK’s leading vascular consultants.


Daryll Baker is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital London and Clinical Lead for North Central Region Vascular Services.

He read Medicine at Oxford University and trained in Vascular Surgery in Nottingham, London and Edinburgh. He obtained his research PhD from the University of Wales.


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