Weight issues are among the most common risk factors for varicose veins. Obesity, which is defined as having a body mass index of 30 or higher, affects over a third of American adults. Add in those defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as overweight (with a BMI between 25 and 30) and you’ve got two-thirds of the U.S. population.

Obviously, not all people with a weight problem have varicose veins, and people of any weight can get them for a variety of reasons. However, as our Atlanta vein specialists often discuss with our patients, the link between weight and varicose veins is a real one.

The Dangers of Weight Hiding Your Varicose VeinsFeet On Bathscale

Besides being a cause of varicose veins, a weight issue can also mask varicose veins. Varicose veins are more difficult to see if they’re covered by fat because they aren’t as close to the skin. That means that many people battling a weight problem don’t get their varicose veins treated in a timely manner. If left untreated, they can cause painful venous leg ulcers and potentially dangerous blood clots.

Further, people who are overweight or obese may attribute many of the symptoms of varicose veins and other vascular issues (such as swelling, fatigue, discomfort, and a feeling of heaviness in their legs) to their weight. They may not consider that varicose veins are the cause of these unpleasant symptoms.

What Is the Link Between Weight and Varicose Veins?

Extra weight puts the entire body, including veins, under more stress, causing the valves inside veins them to become weakened and damaged. This damage is what causes varicose veins. A less direct connection between weight and varicose veins is that overweight people tend to exercise less than those in a normal weight range. This lack of exercise, particularly if it’s exacerbated by long periods of sitting or standing, can also weaken the veins and hinder proper circulation.

Don’t let your weight prevent you from seeking treatment for your varicose veins. If that’s one of the reasons for your varicose veins, our vein specialists can provide you with resources to help you get to a healthy weight for you. In fact, we’ve seen many patients take on exercise programs and lose a significant amount of weight following vein treatment. Call us or contact us online today to schedule an appointment.