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Does being overweight lead to a greater chance of developing varicose veins?

In a nutshell, yes. In this blog post we’ll explain why it is more common for overweight and obese people to develop varicose veins, and how you can best prevent, detect and treat them.

Extra Weight Places Extra Stress on the Circulatory System. The latest statistics from the ABS National Health Survey 2014-2015 show some 63.4% of Australians to be overweight or obese. That’s 11.2 million people!

Being overweight or obese carries with it a host of health risks, including the development of varicose veins. This is because being overweight places extra stress on the circulatory system, leading the valves inside the veins to become weakened or damaged. Once this occurs, the veins are less effective at propelling the blood upwards from the feet to the heart, leading to pooling of the blood in the lower extremities. This extra blood can cause swelling, aching, and fatigue as well as unsightly varicose veins on the surface of the skin.

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Invisible Varicose Veins

However, overweight people may not notice varicose veins developing, because they can also occur deep beneath the skin surface, under the excess fat. That is why doctors now usually include painless ultra sound examinations in their initial vein disease screening. Ultrasound technology allows the doctor to visualize the veins deep beneath the skin, creating a “vein map” that ensures that all varicose veins are detected and properly treated. The detection of all varicose veins is important, because if varicose veins are missed and are left untreated, they will not go away on their own and can progressively worsen – even invisibly.

In addition to visible or invisible varicose veins, additional symptoms may include;

  • heavy, burning sensation in the legs

  • night cramps

  • leg rashes

  • skin discoloration

  • ulcers

These are all indications that it is very important to contact a doctor for an assessment.

In addition to visible or invisible varicose veins, additional symptoms may include;

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Treatments for Varicose Veins

It is important to know that losing weight will not “reverse” or eliminate existing varicose veins, although it can help slow their progress. There are now a number of safe and effective, minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins. If you are concerned about the possibility of having varicose veins, including invisible ones under the skin, the first step is to schedule an appointment with us for an initial visit including an ultrasound scan. Once we understand your particular condition, we can work together with you on a treatment plan if it is needed.

Regardless of the current presence or absence of vein disease, it is clear that maintaining a healthy weight and a regular exercise program are important to maintaining a healthy circulatory system and to preventing the return of varicose veins once they have been treated.

If you suspect that you are suffering from varicose veins contact The Vein Institute on 1300 535 017 to book in your initial consultation.  During your initial assessment Dr Zil will conduct a thorough ultrasound scan of your legs and provide you with a detailed treatment program that sees you restoring the health of your legs.



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Varicose veins are leg veins which do not pump blood effectively back to the heart and can be often seen as bulging veins just underneath your skin on either leg. These varicose veins have valves in them which are not working effectively so that blood which is meant to be pushed towards the heart, leaks downwards toward the legs. There are other leg veins which are still working, so blood does eventually arrive through other routes to your heart. However, varicose veins do exert added pressure on your circulatory system. Read More.

Endovenous Laser Ablation is a Varicose Veins Laser Treatment performed in our clinic under local anaesthetic. This new procedure is an excellent treatment option for most patients with varicose veins and is considered slightly more effective than surgery but without the need for hospitalization. Read More.

This is an endovenous treatment (meaning treating the vein on the inside). It is generally accepted to be associated with less pain and bruising than endovenous laser ablation. It is a “gold standard” form of treatment for large varicose leg veins treatment as the procedure requires no hospitalization or time of work yet is at least as effective as surgery. Read More.

Venaseal™ or ‘superglue’ treatment by Sapheon is the latest surgery free procedure that uses a medical adhesive to safely and effectively treat varicose veins. Unlike other treatments, Venaseal™ does not require tumescent local anaesthetic around the vein, so there is usually only one local anaesthetic injection. The Venaseal™ non surgical treatment procedure also eliminates the use of heat (or thermal energy) so there is virtually no risk of nerve or skin injury or any major reaction to the anaesthetic. Read More.

Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy allows our doctors to visually guide and monitor a needle to the exact source of the incompetent vein (valve) to be injected. By using ultrasound we can treat more quickly and safely larger and deeper veins that once required more invasive surgical treatment. Foam sclerotherapy is the new form of delivering the sclerosing agent that allows us to treat larger varicose veins that might be unsuccessfully treated with conventional sclerotherapy. The foam solution has the consistency of ‘shaving cream’, which improves treatment in two distinct ways. Read More.

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1300 535 017
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