Losing excess weight isn’t a cure-all for varicose veins, but it can help keep your veins happy and healthy.
Perhaps you’ve just learned from your doctor (or Google) that losing weight can improve your overall fitness and vein health. You’re probably wondering if dropping excess pounds can eliminate those bulging, twisting veins on your legs and feet.
Unfortunately, losing weight alone will not cure varicose veins. But maintaining your ideal weight is still a worthy goal! Shedding extra pounds can reduce troubling varicose veins symptoms such as swelling, pain, and cramping. It may also prevent new varicose veins from forming. Although varicose veins won’t disappear after weight loss, you should still strive to cut calories and practice an active lifestyle to keep your veins strong and healthy.
What’s the connection between weight and varicose veins?
Many factors, such as heredity, age, and gender, can contribute to varicose veins. Obesity also ranks among the top risk factors for varicose veins.
After your arteries have circulated oxygen-filled blood to your organs and tissues, your veins transport the blood back to the heart. Inside your leg veins, tiny valves open and close to push blood upward against gravity. When you carry extra weight, those vein valves feel added pressure, which can weaken the valves and cause blood to backslide. The vein becomes swollen and bulges out from under the skin as the blood pools inside.
A sedentary lifestyle also stresses the veins. Your calf muscles are instrumental in helping the veins pump blood, so when you don’t exercise your legs, your calf muscles weaken. If you spend long periods sitting or standing, blood can pool within the vein, causing varicose veins to form.
How losing weight can help your veins
Even though weight loss may not make varicose veins disappear, you can still benefit from dropping those extra pounds. When you lose weight, you lift the pressure off your leg veins, which can alleviate the swelling and discomfort of varicose veins. Exercising will help reduce vein disease symptoms and prevent new varicose veins from forming.
Exercise and a healthy diet low in fats and sodium can cut excess pounds while helping strengthen veins by activating the natural pump action of the calf muscles. Low-impact activities, such as walking, biking, and swimming, are easy on the joints, strengthen the calf muscles, and increase blood flow in the legs.
While losing weight will always be good for your veins, the only proven method for eliminating varicose veins is to undergo surgical treatment. Today’s minimally invasive procedures are performed as an outpatient and take less than an hour to complete. Treatments such as sclerotherapy, thermal heat ablation, and ambulatory phlebectomy, require only local anesthesia. Patients can return to their regular activities immediately with few restrictions. Talk to your vein doctor to determine which option works best for your needs and lifestyle.
Time to take care of your veins!
Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) physicians are experts in vein health. Whether you need your veins checked for vein disease or you wish to consult with a doctor on treatment options that fit your lifestyle, CVR can help you navigate every step of your journey towards healthier veins. Contact one of our offices to learn more about varicose vein treatments.