The Effects of Weight Gain on Vein Disease

weight gain and varicose veins

Varicose veins are swollen, bumpy blue or purple lines that usually appear on your legs, although they can develop almost anywhere on your body. Though varicose veins are not always visible to the eye, they are still part of vein disease, which is a progressive medical condition. In addition to their unsightly appearance, they can also cause a lot of pain and discomfort.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins form when the small valves inside the veins weaken and stop working properly. This weakness, also called venous disease, causes the blood to flow backward and to accumulate inside the vein, which leads to the swelling you commonly will see. About half of all adults have venous disease, although it’s more common in women. Pregnancy and the weight gain associated with it are believed to play a large role in the development of varicose veins in women. The risk increases with each pregnancy. During pregnancy, your body produces a greater supply of blood to support the growing baby, but this also contributes to the development of varicose veins.

What Role Does Weight Gain Play?

What many adults don’t know is that any extra pounds you put on, can put extra strain on your veins. Because they’re working harder to send blood back to the heart, there is added pressure on the valves inside the veins, which makes them more likely to leak and cause blue or purple lines and bulges.

How Can I Treat Varicose Veins?

Thankfully, the pain and swelling of varicose veins can often be reduced through lifestyle changes and non-surgical methods. One solution is to wear specialized support stockings, which can provide some relief. Support hose use pressure to prevent the backflow of blood caused by weak valves in the veins, and are available through your vein specialist.

Other ways you can help reduce symptoms:

  • Exercise
  • Leg elevation
  • High-fiber, low-salt diet
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Don’t sit or stand for extended amounts of time
  • Avoid high heels

How Can I Avoid Varicose Veins?

It is possible to reduce the likelihood of getting varicose veins naturally. Regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and improves circulation in the body, which may prevent the formation of varicose veins. Physical activities that help to prevent the development of varicose veins include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Gardening
  • Dancing
  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Swimming
  • Yoga and stretching

If you have been experiencing painful symptoms as a result of varicose veins, give the vein specialists at Northern Illinois Vein Clinic a call today at (815) 315-1894.