Your veins have the important job of carrying blood from all areas of your body back to your heart. The veins furthest from your heart, typically in your lower legs, have the toughest job because they must fight gravity and your own weight to move blood to the heart. When you’re overweight or obese, it adds even more pressure on the veins in your lower legs.
With the additional pressure, your leg veins become damaged over time. All of your blood vessels have small valves inside that ensure blood moves in only one direction. These valves wear down as you age and as a result of the pressure from your body weight. This can lead to your blood moving back into the vein instead of upwards to the heart, causing the vein to weaken and swell.
Understanding the symptoms of vein trouble
When your veins visibly swell, you develop a condition known as varicose veins. Continued pressure on your veins can slow your blood flow and cause additional symptoms such as:
- Leg cramping
- Restless leg syndrome
- Itching and burning of veins
- Swelling in your legs, feet, and ankles
- Persistent aches and heaviness in your legs
Symptoms tend to be more severe in the evenings, especially if you’ve been on your feet all day. In addition to the discomfort of varicose veins, fluid can build up in your legs, causing damage to the tissue. Being overweight can worsen these symptoms, making it difficult to walk and perform other activities.
The dangers of fat
The added pressure on your leg veins is only part of the problem when it comes to your weight’s effect on your veins. As fat continues to build up around your waist and behind your knees, it starts to squeeze your organs, placing stress on the surrounding blood vessels and limiting blood flow to your heart.
When weight goes unchecked, the pain and swelling caused by varicose veins makes it difficult for you to be physically active. In turn, this makes weight loss more problematic. If you can’t be active, you’re likely to gain even more weight.
Taking the pressure off
To temporarily relieve the pain and other symptoms of varicose veins, the experts at Vein Health Clinics recommend sitting with your legs elevated when possible. This helps to move blood to your heart more efficiently.
For the long-term, it’s best to undergo weight management techniques to reduce excess fat and achieve a healthy body weight. Exercising and eating a healthy diet are two key habits that you should incorporate into your life as soon as possible. Losing any amount of weight will increase the efficiency of blood flow in your veins and take off some of the pressure.
If varicose veins make it too difficult for you to achieve your weight loss goals, the Vein Health Clinics offer services to alleviate symptoms and treat unhealthy veins. In some cases, treatment is as simple as wearing compression stockings to facilitate blood flow to your heart. Dr. Nwobi can also provide you with nutritional counseling services to help you achieve a healthier body weight.
If these treatments aren’t effective in alleviating vein symptoms, Dr. Nwobi can also perform noninvasive laser therapies to minimize the structure and appearance of varicose veins.
If varicose veins are painful or causing you to feel self-conscious about the way your legs look, schedule a consultation at Vein Health Clinics by calling the office or booking online.