Varicose Veins and Obesity: What You Need to Know

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obesityIf you’ve ever researched the causes of varicose veins and other venous disorders, you’ve likely come across both genetic factors and certain lifestyle choices as the most common culprits. While there is not much you can do if you are predisposed to unfortunate genetics or hereditary factors, certain lifestyle changes that are within your control can make a huge difference in the severity of any conditions that develop, or in some cases whether they even develop at all.

At the very top of the list of lifestyle choices you should consider is maintaining a healthy weight. You’ll find it mentioned in numerous places throughout this website that obesity can contribute to varicose veins, but why exactly is that? First of all, obesity in itself can lead to varicose veins or worsen existing symptoms in that the additional weight adds pressure to leg veins which already must work hard against the force of gravity in order to pump blood upwards towards the heart. In addition, obesity is oftentimes associated with high blood pressure, which can weaken veins over time, as well as with an overall level of inactivity.

What is perhaps scariest about the relationship between obesity and venous disorders is that obesity can make it increasingly difficult to detect that there is a problem in the first place. Because one of the most common symptoms experienced with varicose veins is a heaviness in the legs, people who are overweight often attribute their discomfort to the condition of being overweight in general, and sometimes overlook that there might be something more serious going on. Furthermore, while varicose veins can be highly visible under the skin of a person of healthy weight, excess fat under the skin of an obese person can completely hide the physical appearance of varicose veins. Because of the above reasons, an obese person with venous insufficiency may be less likely to seek medical attention in a timely manner, so their condition may be more difficult to treat once addressed.

Excess fat causes further problems by making it difficult for technicians to detect underlying venous insufficiency, a condition which is usually diagnosed through a simple duplex ultrasound scan of the leg area. Treating the condition in an overweight person is also more complicated, as minimally invasive techniques involving laser closure are much more difficult to perform, as problem veins are often located more than twice as deep through layers of skin and fat as they are in a person of healthy weight. Furthermore, invasive surgical procedures possess more risks for overweight people in general, so it can be difficult to find an ideal vein treatment for a person who is obese.

While maintaining a healthy weight is a preventative measure in itself, it can also help better ensure that you are able to stay active and exercise frequently, another important factor that can aid in varicose vein prevention. People who are overweight oftentimes find it difficult to exercise, but addressing this issue head-on can help break the cycle. The important thing to remember is to start out slowly and comfortably, and to talk to your doctor about a diet and exercise regimen that is safe for you.

If you are in the greater Tampa area and would like further advice and recommendations for weight loss as it pertains to your vein health, please contact Dr. Zuzga at West Florida Vein Center by calling (727) 712-3233.

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Tampa Vein Specialists

No one needs to suffer from untreated varicose vein disease anymore. In addition, with today's favorable insurance coverage, the procedures are even more accessible. If you have a vein problem, you need Dr. Zuzga and West Florida Vein Center!


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Phone: (727) 712-3233

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