Obesity is not only a contributing factor to varicose and reticular veins, but it also makes treatment more challenging and complex. Those who are overweight and at risk for the development of varicose veins should seek help from their primary care doctor to develop a weight loss plan. Not only will they realize systemic benefits, but they’ll also realize benefits to their knees, legs, and feet that can greatly reduce pain and risk. Furthermore, obese patients should visit vein doctors annually to have their lower extremities evaluated thoroughly.
Obesity Masks Varicose Veins
Many vascular surgeons find that patients suffering from obesity don’t know that they have varicose veins. Patients with a healthy weight will see veins darken and bulge out of their skin, while the veins of the overweight may be disguised by extra fat in the skin, making them essentially invisible. In these cases, patients may not notice until the leaking vein has damaged the tissues in their lower leg.
Assessment is More Challenging
It is not only difficult for the patient to see varicose veins, but it can also be challenging for the scanning equipment we use to detect varicose veins that are deep beneath the surface of the leg, making the diagnosis more difficult.
Noninvasive Treatments May Not Be an Option
The least invasive treatment options are difficult to perform on very deep varicose veins. Choose a vein clinic experienced in treating varicose veins in overweight patients to ensure your doctor understands these added challenges and the risks involved.
Compression Socks Can Be More Risky Than Helpful
Compression socks tend to roll down and bunch up on one spot in patients with a specific shape – typically a much larger thigh than a lower leg. If a compression sock fits this way, the patient is at higher risk of developing varicose veins rather than lessening the risk.
There is help for patients suffering from obesity. Work with your family or general practitioner to lose weight, and see your vascular surgeon regularly to assess the legs for damaged veins and tissues.