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Body Weight, Exercise and Varicose Veins

your-path-to-health-logoStaying ahead of the weight curve can be a challenge in and of itself.   The media informs us daily of the worrisome obesity epidemic and the rise in national and international body mass index averages.  If you also struggle with varicose veins and symptoms of achiness, heaviness, leg fatigue it becomes even more difficult to follow an exercise regime.   Varicose veins may become a barrier to weight loss.

Varicose veins are a visible sign of venous insufficiency, which frequently occur in the lower legs.  Tiny valves within leg veins keep blood flowing in the same direction – back to the heart.  The valves of our legs work against gravity in the lower extremities and because of this (along with factors of age, sex, heredity, occupation, etc.) valves begin to wear or become damaged over time.

Because the valves in the lower legs already have to work harder to get the blood back to the heart, any additional factors that stress the vessels can worsen the problem.  Weight gain can be a major stress factor and those additional pounds make it even more difficult for blood to flow in an upward direction.  As valve workload increases and with the added stressors of increased body weight, these overtaxed valves tend to experience rapid, progressive damage.

The damage to vein valves causes leg discomfort, leg fatigue and leg heaviness and swelling.  These are the very symptoms which keep many patients from their active lifestyles and their healthy weight goals.  Patients with varicose vein disease recognize the probable negative correlation or risks caused by their body weight.  A healthy weight may certainly be beneficial in avoiding venous disease.  Unfortunately many people postpone vein treatment hoping future weight loss may improve their painful leg symptoms.  It is not uncommon that patients may delay treatment until leg dermatitis, skin discoloration or skin breakdown alerts them to seek help from a vein specialist.

Weight loss does not resolve venous insufficiency (leaky veins), and varicose veins, but treating the affected veins can relieve the leg discomforts and swelling, the very symptoms which interfere with daily activities, exercise and weight loss. If you have leg symptoms, are concerned about vein disease and have resolved to care for your leg vein health, don’t postpone your treatment.  Start today by calling Dr. Pal and the Minnesota Vein Center care team.   We can help you to find your path back to healthy legs and to your healthy weight and exercise goals.

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