Does Weight Gain Cause Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are a common problem among men and women, particularly those over the age of 50. Genetics is one of the primary culprits behind the formation of those bulging, uncomfortable veins that typically appear on the lower leg. However, there are other factors that can play into the development of varicose veins, including packing on the pounds.

Added Pressure

Varicose veins are typically caused by an underlying condition known as venous insufficiency. In healthy vessels, blood is move through the vein back to the heart via tiny valves that keep blood moving in a single direction. Over time, those valves can wear out or become damaged, which leads to pooling of blood in the lower vessels and eventually, swollen varicose veins.

Varicose veins commonly appear in the lower legs because these veins have to work hard against the flow of gravity to push blood back up the body to the heart. Anything that adds pressure to that process can increase the odds of damage to those valves. Guess what? Those extra pounds you put on in the last few years can be just the added pressure your leg veins don’t need, which is why weight gain is considered a risk factor for varicose veins.

More Symptoms

Weight gain doesn’t just make it more likely you will develop varicose veins. It can also increase your odds of experiencing uncomfortable symptoms associated with them. Common symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Heaviness or aching in the legs, especially at the end of the day
  • Legs that fatigue easily after periods of sitting or standing
  • Cramping or restless leg syndrome, particularly at night
  • Swelling of the lower legs, ankles and feet
  • Skin itching, texture and color changes to the skin

If these symptoms are left unchecked, they can continue to worsen until it is difficult for you to participate in activities you once enjoyed. Skin changes can also lead to the formation of open sores around the ankle. Known as venous ulcers, these sores can be very difficult to treat and have a high infection and recurrence rate.

Treating Varicose Veins

The good news is varicose veins are a very treatable condition today. At PCI Veins, we offer a variety of minimally-invasive vein treatments that allow you to eliminate uncomfortable, unsightly veins without a major disruption to your daily life. In some cases, we may encourage you to lose some of your weight prior to treatment, to ensure the best possible results. Other patients may find that treatment for their vein will help them adhere to a diet and exercise program needed to shed those extra pounds.

Weight and varicose veins can go hand in hand, but treatment options are available. To learn more, contact PCI Veins at 319-774-8432.

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