Study Links Cardiovascular Fitness and Lessened DVT Risk

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
cardiovascular health

More and more evidence points to a connection between cardiovascular health and venous disorders like deep vein thrombosis and varicose veins.

Keeping our hearts healthy with proper diet and regular exercise is beneficial for many reasons. And a recent study provided one more: Good cardiovascular fitness lowers the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a potentially serious blood-clotting condition.

Researchers at the Arctic University of Norway published their findings in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. They tracked more than 10,393 residents in a Norwegian town over several years to uncover a possible link between heart health, weight, and DVT. Cardiovascular health status was based on sex, age, waist circumference, resting heart rate, and self-reported physical activity.

According to the study, 176 subjects reported a DVT incident. Compared to subjects classified as overweight or obese, people within a normal weight range cut their risk of DVT by at least half. Accordingly, the researchers concluded good cardiovascular health reduces the chance of DVT.

This latest study supports growing evidence that poor cardiovascular health as measured by excess weight, advanced age, and smoking contribute to the development of DVT. So if you want to keep your veins strong, here’s what you can do to prevent DVT as well as other venous disorders, such as varicose veins.

How To Reduce Your Risk of DVT and Varicose Veins

While this latest research focused on weight and overall cardiovascular health as a contributing factor for DVT, another study released last year indicated a link between varicose veins and DVT, which is a blood clot in the legs. A blood clot can become life-threatening if it breaks away and travels to the lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism.

For the 2018 study, Taiwanese researchers evaluated more than 425,000 adults. Half of the subjects had varicose veins, which increased their risk of DVT by 5.3 times, the researchers concluded.

One way to improve your cardiovascular health and lower the risk of DVT and varicose veins is exercise. Since obesity is a risk factor for vascular disease, regular workouts help you maintain a healthy weight and may prevent the onset of varicose veins.

If you already have varicose veins, you probably feel many of the condition’s symptoms — tired, aching legs, pain, and itchiness. Here, too, exercise can alleviate your discomfort. That said, not every workout routine is advisable for those with varicose veins.

In general, low-impact aerobic activities such as walking, biking, and swimming stimulate the calf muscles, which, in turn, keep the blood pumping through the leg veins. Sluggish blood movement caused by faulty valves that essentially trap blood in the veins lead to bulging varicose veins — and possibly the development of DVT.

In addition to boosting cardiovascular health and blood flow in the extremities, these types of workouts are also gentle on the veins. If you have varicose veins, you don’t want to overstress your veins, which only exacerbates the condition. Weight lifting and jogging on hard surfaces can place added pressure on veins and joints, so they’re generally not recommended.

Being overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle aren’t the only risk factors for varicose veins you can control. Sitting or standing for long periods at work or being seated in a plane or car for more than four hours also raises the potential for varicose veins or a blood clot to form. Again, moving about periodically and staying active may prevent the development of a venous disorder by maintaining robust blood flow.

Let’s Us Treat Your Veins

Concerned about your risk for DVT or varicose veins? Or, maybe you have varicose veins and want to treat the condition? The specialists at the Center for Vein Restoration focus their practice solely on the treatment of varicose veins and other venous disorders. We’ll answer your questions, diagnose your condition, and recommend therapies. Get on a path to better vein health today by making an appointment.

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