February 15, 2024

Varicose Veins: A Common Side Effect of Obesity

Obesity is a big problem in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in every three Americans is overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese puts you at risk for many serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. It's also a major factor in the development of varicose veins.

Pressure on the veins causes varicose veins to form. In the case of overweight individuals, the pressure from the extra bodyfat squeezes the walls of the veins, damaging the delicate valves that keep your blood flowing from your extremities to your heart. When the valves fail, blood can pool in the vein, stretching, twisting, and expanding it until it becomes a varicose vein.

Other factors that can place you at risk for varicose veins include your age, gender (women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins), pregnancy, and a family history of varicose veins.

You May Have Varicose Veins and Not Even Know It

Varicose veins can sometimes be masked by excess fat on the legs, so you could have varicose veins and not even know it. If you're overweight and have symptoms such as throbbing or cramping leg pain, "heavy" legs, swelling, and changes in the skin, such as discoloration, schedule an appointment with a vein doctor. A simple ultrasound can confirm if you are suffering from varicose veins.

Varicose Vein Treatment

Fortunately, there are many varicose vein treatment options available. Most are performed as in-office procedures; some, like sclerotherapy or laser varicose vein treatments, don't even require the use of anesthesia.

  • Sclerotherapy: a solution is injected to help close and seal off the damaged vein
  • Laser Treatments: laser light is used to close off smaller varicose or spider veins
  • Catheter-Assisted Procedures: a catheter is used to collapse and seal the damaged vein
  • High Ligation or Vein Stripping: a surgical procedure that removes the vein using small incisions.
  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy: a surgical procedure that removes the vein by making small punctures


Most varicose vein treatments are performed as outpatient procedures and result in the varicose vein fading away and disappearing after a few weeks. In some cases, however, repeat treatments maybe necessary.

Lose Weight to Prevent Varicose Veins

Losing weight can help minimize the risks of varicose veins and other health issues associated with obesity. An effective weight loss plan should include diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. 

Your diet should include a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat meats. Avoid eating foods with lots of sugar, salt, and fat, and avoid drinking alcohol. 

Exercise, such as running, walking, biking, stair climbing, and swimming, can help circulate the blood in the legs. 

Lifestyle changes can also help. Avoid sitting and standing for long periods.

Find Out If You Have Varicose Veins

It’s possible for overweight people to have varicose veins and not even know it. Obesity and being overweight can cause other problems as well, including venous insufficiency and venous ulcerations. If you are an overweight individual living in the East Bay Area who has symptoms of varicose veins, contact the BASS Vein Center online or call us at (925) 281-5912. Our team of experienced vein specialists can diagnose you and recommend many varicose vein treatment options.

Take the First Step to Ending Annoying Varicose Vein Discomfort.

More than 40 million people in the United States suffer from varicose veins, so you're not alone.
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