Does My Autoimmune Disease Increase My Risk of Varicose Veins?

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
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Autoimmune diseases do not cause varicose veins, but they can still indirectly affect your veins.

Varicose veins and autoimmune diseases might be directly connected, but the two conditions can sometimes share symptoms. Your autoimmune disease may also put you at a higher risk for vascular disorders, such as blood clots and varicose and spider veins.

Autoimmune diseases result from a malfunctioning immune system. When bacteria and viruses enter your body, your immune system sends out cells to destroy those invaders. Sometimes, the immune system may mistakenly target healthy tissues and cells, causing pain, swelling, and other symptoms. While autoimmune diseases affect specific organs or the entire body, your veins can still suffer an indirect hit.

Varicose veins and autoimmune diseases

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 80 diseases are classified as autoimmune disorders and affect 14.7 million to 23.5 million people. Some common autoimmune diseases include Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, and lupus.

Autoimmune disorders do not cause varicose veins, but the two conditions can sometimes share similar symptoms. Severe pain and swelling in the legs may impact the quality of life, contributing to sedentary lifestyles and weight gain. Autoimmune disorders and varicose veins also tend to affect more women than men.

Two autoimmune disorders are closely linked to vein disease. They include scleroderma, a condition that affects the skin and blood vessels. It is thought to contribute to spider veins. Vasculitis, a rare inflammatory disease of the blood vessels, impedes blood flow and causes symptoms such as red patches on the skin and protruding veins. If left untreated, vasculitis could lead to blood clots.

Vasculitis may be hereditary. However, research also reveals that it may be a side effect of hepatitis B or autoimmune disorders.

Staying (and feeling) healthy

Caring for your veins is a big step towards maintaining good health. If you have an autoimmune disease, don’t forget to take care of your veins! Here’s what you can do to improve your vein health while also managing your autoimmune disorder:

Exercise. Autoimmune diseases sometimes cause pain and fatigue. We understand that this can make exercising difficult. The good news is that you don’t have to resort to crazy cardio! Instead, walking or simply regularly flexing your calf muscles can prevent blood from pooling in the leg veins.

Check Your Weight. Chronic pain from autoimmune disease might deter you from engaging in physical activity, but a sedentary lifestyle will only add more stress to your veins! Talk to your doctor about a weight management program to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Manage Your Autoimmune Disease. Take control of your autoimmune disorder by following your doctor’s instructions about medications and lifestyle changes. Immune-suppressing medications and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen and naproxen) can reduce pain and swelling.

Treat Your Veins. Although treating your varicose veins may not affect your autoimmune disorder, it may lessen your risk of blood clots. You’ll also boost your quality of life by eliminating one source of pain and swelling!

Take care of your health

Center for Vein Restoration has four modern, well-equipped, and comfortable offices in New Mexico led by two experienced physicians.

Michael Harding, MD, is board-certified in vascular medicine, cardiology, and internal medicine. Chandran Vedamanikam, MD, is a board-certified phlebologist in venous and lymphatic medicine and family practice. With solid backgrounds in vascular and internal medicine, both doctors have the expertise to treat your vein disease. Contact their offices today for a consultation.

801 Encino Place NE #C-12,

Albuquerque, NM 87102

500 E Walnut Street

Deming, NM 88030

2801 E. Missouri Avenue

Suite 27

Las Cruces, NM 88011

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Suite B

Rio Rancho, NM 87124

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