How weight can affect varicose veins

9th December 2018 by Daryll Baker0

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.

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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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