Extra weight strains your veins, possibly making your varicose veins worse. But you can take steps to prevent that from happening.
Being overweight impacts not only your heart health but also your veins. Obesity is a significant risk factor that leads to the development of knotted, protruding varicose veins in the legs and feet. What’s more, gaining weight can worsen your varicose veins if you already have varicose veins.
Obesity isn’t the only reason you may develop varicose veins. Gender, age, and heredity also play a role. The good news is that you have some control over managing your weight! Let’s look at the connection between your weight and varicose veins.
How weight affects your veins
Inside your veins are tiny valves that close and push blood back to the heart. These valves can be strained by the extra pressure put on them if you’re carrying excess weight. When they can’t move the blood upward, blood backflows and pools in the vein, causing the vein to swell and emerge as a visible varicose vein.
The valves face another challenge. Since your legs are farthest from the heart, gravity makes it even harder for the valves to pump blood. Combined with weight gain, your veins struggle to move blood and increase your chances of developing varicose veins. Extra weight can make the swelling, pain, and cramping of varicose veins feel significantly worse.
How to manage your weight and help your veins
The good news is that you can manage your weight and help your veins function most efficiently. By reaching and maintaining your ideal weight, you lower your risk of varicose veins and can minimize the chance of developing new ones while alleviating the uncomfortable symptoms of varicose veins. To lose weight, try these approaches:
Exercise. Exercise is good for your veins for two reasons. First, it helps you lose weight, which lifts the pressure off your veins. Secondly, low-impact aerobic exercises such as walking, pedaling an elliptical bike, and swimming can strengthen the calf muscles, which support the veins in pumping blood to the heart.
Eat a vein-friendly diet. The foods you eat have a profound effect on your veins. In particular, salty foods make you retain water, and that excess water can stress your veins. An optimal diet for vein health includes healthy portions of colorful fruits and vegetables that contain bioflavonoids. Flavonoids possess antioxidant qualities, reduce inflammation, and boost blood flow. Fruits and vegetables are generally lower in calories, which will also help you drop pounds.
Don’t sit still. You can take care of your veins even if you sit or stand much of the time for your job. Get your blood moving by getting up and walking whenever possible. Or, you can simply flex your ankles at your desk to stimulate blood flow.
Although it won’t affect your weight, you can wear compression stockings to promote leg circulation. Elevating your legs above your heart also encourages blood flow to the heart. More efficient blood flow can reduce the symptoms of varicose veins.
Losing weight will benefit your veins in so many ways. You’ll decrease your chance of getting varicose veins or developing new ones. As the pounds come off, you’ll notice your symptoms diminishing.
But losing weight alone won’t cure varicose veins. To eliminate the bulging veins, talk to a vein specialist at Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) about one of several minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat varicose veins. Once the varicose veins are completely gone, you can enjoy smooth, pain-free legs. You’ll also reduce your risk for complications such as bleeding, skin ulcers, and blood clots.
Center for Vein Restoration in New Mexico
Get ahead of your varicose veins before they become a bigger problem! Visit one of four Center for Vein Restoration locations in New Mexico. Each clinic is led by an experienced physician who will thoroughly examine your veins and tailor a treatment plan to relieve the discomfort and unsightly appearance of varicose veins:
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.
Schedule a consultation online or call 1-800-FIX-LEGS for more information or to schedule an appointment.
801 Encino Place NE #C-12,
Albuquerque, NM 87102
500 E Walnut Street
Deming, NM 88030
2801 E. Missouri Avenue
Las Cruces, NM 88011
2220 Grande Boulevard SE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124