Obesity has been proven to negatively affect a person’s health in a variety of ways. The cardiovascular system in particular has to struggle in order to keep blood moving throughout the body when a person is obese. The body must also supply blood to the additional tissue, which increases strain on the heart. The veins also struggle to withstand the additional weight and the increased blood pressure, increasing the likelihood that a vein valve will stop being able to function properly, causing varicose veins.

Scientists have long believed that obesity and being overweight contribute to the formation of varicose vein problems, but due to a lack of specific studies, there is some controversy in the field as to how much of a role a person’s weight plays when compared to other factors like genetics and lifestyle. Not all obese individuals suffer from venous insufficiency, and likewise, not all individuals with venous insufficiency are overweight. However, being overweight or obese has been statistically linked with a higher risk of venous disease.

Being obese can also increase your likelihood of suffering from complications related to varicose vein problems. In thinner individuals, varicose veins are easily identifiable and diagnosed early in the progression of the disease because they bulge from the skin. Some obese individuals will also be able to notice problematic diseases in this way; however, others may not. Pressure from dermal fat layers may be able to successfully mask the presence of varicose veins in an obese person to the point where only an ultrasound can discover problematic veins.

This delay in diagnosing chronic venous insufficiency can cause patients to be unaware of vein issues until more severe complications like dermatitis or ulcerations occur. While these complications are certainly treatable, they are also uncomfortable and take more effort to cure than early stages of the disease.

We encourage individuals who are concerned about the effect of their weight on their venous system to come in and talk with our Atlanta vein specialists. We will take a full medical history, examine your legs and talk to you about your risks and whether you will need further screening by ultrasound.

If we discover any varicose vein problems, we will explore your treatment options with you and help you to understand what this diagnosis may mean for your future vein health.