Can Varicose Veins Cause Weight Gain?
While weight and vein health are related, having varicose veins won’t cause you to gain weight.
Although leg swelling is a common and uncomfortable symptom of varicose veins, those enlarged veins don’t actually cause weight gain. Despite their bulging appearance, varicose veins alone will not add pounds to your body.
However, varicose veins and your weight are linked in a number of ways. Here’s why a healthy weight and healthy veins go hand-in-hand.
The Link Between Varicose Veins and Weight
Excess weight plays a major role in the development of varicose veins. In addition, it can contribute to the increase of varicose vein symptoms like pain, swelling, itching, cramping, and heaviness. Other factors, including age, gender (women are more prone to the condition), pregnancy, sedentary lifestyle, and family history also contribute to varicose veins. But of those risk factors, weight and lifestyle are the ones you have the most control over.
To understand why the two are linked, you need to understand how your veins and arteries work. Arteries circulate oxygenated blood from your heart to your tissues and organs. Once the blood flows throughout your body, veins return the blood to the heart for more oxygen. But when tiny valves inside the veins malfunction, blood becomes trapped within the vein walls. As the blood continues to pool, the vein eventually pops out and a varicose vein forms. Unfortunately, excess weight can make those vein valves weaker, increasing your risk of developing varicose veins.
Even if you’re a healthy weight, your leg veins face an uphill battle to push blood back to the chest — after all, the leg veins are fighting against the greatest force of gravity. Now, add the pressure of excess weight on your lower body and your veins confront an even tougher task. The more blood collects in the vein, the more likely you’ll develop varicose veins or worsen the symptoms of existing varicose veins.
In addition to being good for your overall health, losing excess weight lifts that pressure on your veins, helping blood flow efficiently. Here are three simple ways to start alleviating the stress on your veins:
Exercise. Not only does exercise shed pounds, but it can also support your leg veins. When you walk, swim, or ride a bike, you engage your calf muscles, which helps the veins pump blood upward. Fortunately, Texas’s warm climate makes outdoor exercise comfortable. If you can’t set aside a time each day for working out, try to stay as active as possible. Sitting or standing for long periods encourages the blood to pool in the legs. Still, you can invigorate your circulation by simply stretching your legs or taking a walk around the office.
Cut Out Salt. A diet high in sodium contributes to water retention. As you retain water, you once again put extra pressure on your veins. Instead of reaching for the salt shaker, fill your plate with a variety of colorful vegetables packed with bioflavonoids. These colorful veggies, such as bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, and eggplant, fight inflammation, boost circulation by thinning blood, and strengthen vein walls.
Wear Compression Stockings. These tightly woven elastic stockings provide an extra nudge to keep blood flowing in the veins. To ease your symptoms, wear them during exercise, when you’re at your desk, or when you’re seated for a long plane or car ride.
Get Treatment for Your Varicose Veins
Center for Vein Restoration offers two locations in the Austin, Texas, area. Both are supervised by Dr. Aditya Gupta, MD, RPVI, D-ABVLM. He has completed both an Internal Medicine Residency and a Fellowship in Venous and Lymphatic Medicine through Center for Vein Restoration. Skilled in the latest varicose vein treatment techniques, Dr. Gupta counsels patients on non-surgical methods to reduce the pain and unsightly appearance of varicose veins. Contact him today for a consultation.
7900 Farm to Market Road 1826
Building 1, Suite 170
Austin, TX 78737
11111 Research Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78759