When educating patients and the general public about vein disease, Hawaii vein specialist Dr. Randall S. Juleff explains that to understand the link between your vein health and your body weight, you need to understand the primary cause of vein disease, chronic venous insufficiency, or CVI. When CVI affects your veins, it damages the tiny, one-way valves that control the flow of blood and keep it moving “upwards” towards the heart and lungs. When CVI damages these valves, they become “leaky” and allow blood to flow backwards and pool in the veins. This is what causes them to become varicose, swelling and become discolored as they take on the bluish-purple color of deoxygenated blood.
How your weight can become a risk factor for vein disease
There are risk factors that increase your likelihood of developing vein disease that you can’t do anything about – your age (being over 50), your gender (females are more at risk for hormonal reasons), and your heredity (you are more at risk if you have close relatives with vein disease). But one of the vein disease risk factors you can do something about is being overweight or obese. Every pound you carry around that is over your recommended weight puts additional stress on your circulatory system, increasing internal pressure in your veins and thus increasing the likelihood that your venous valves will become damaged. So in addition to being bad for your heart, being overweight also greatly increases your chances of developing varicose veins and other vein diseases.
If I lose weight, will it make my varicose veins go away?
Although as varicose vein specialists in Hawaii we’d love to say yes to this question, we can’t. Once your veins have become damaged enough by CVI to become varicose, losing weight won’t allow them to regain their former functionality or cause your existing varicose veins to go away.
On the other hand, losing weight – in conjunction with other types of conservative treatment such as wearing medical-grade compression stockings and getting more exercise – can help to prevent new varicose veins from forming. And if you don’t have varicose veins yet but know that you are at increased risk of developing them because of your age or heredity, maintaining a healthy weight can be one of the most effective ways to improve your vein health.
So how can I get started reducing my vein disease risk?
If you are concerned that your weight (or other risk factors) may be contributing to your vein problems, give our vein care specialist in Kauai a call today to set up an initial consultation. We will perform a venous health screening and help you explore the best treatment options if you already have varicose veins. If you don’t, we’ll help you plan the best strategies to both lose weight and prevent varicose veins from developing. We look forward to meeting you.