Obesity has been shown to be a contributing factor in the development of many medical conditions and diseases. This includes high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. However, there are other medical conditions that are linked to excess weight that don’t receive as much attention, and this includes the development of varicose veins and spider veins. What do people need to know about this common condition and how obesity plays a role in the development, diagnosis, and treatment of these enlarged veins?

Identifying the Problem

It is estimated that anywhere between 30 and 50 percent of the population will develop varicose veins at some point in their life. The bulging veins are easily seen on individuals who maintain a healthy weight. Furthermore, the enlarged veins are often accompanied by a heaviness or discomfort in the legs. However, when a person is overweight, the veins may not be seen as easily and any symptoms of heaviness or discomfort may be attributed to the person’s weight as opposed to the vein issue. The excess weight is hiding the symptoms and this can lead to a person not realizing they have this condition until leg ulcerations appear.


Diagnosing the Issue

Illustration for article titled Obesity and the Development of Enlarged Veinsem/em

A duplex ultrasound scan is a popular way to diagnosis varicose veins, but it may not be effective for individuals who are obese. This technique is useful when the veins are located one to two centimeters below the skin. When layers of fat cover the veins, they may be four or five centimeters deep and other diagnostic methods could need to be used. The problem may worsen before it is even detected as a result.

Treating the Enlarged Veins

What many people don’t realize is vein treatments become more difficult when a person is overweight. Laser treatments are more challenging and uncomfortable for individuals who carry excess weight, and a general anesthetic might be needed. This comes with more risk for the patient. Wound infection becomes more of a concern also. However, more conventional treatments, such as compression stockings, may not be an option for these people. The stockings can slip and actually make the veins worse instead of better.


Any person who is overweight needs to be aware of all dangers to their health. Varicose veins are one of many that individuals are often unaware of. Visit a doctor today to learn more about this common condition and how excess weight might lead to enlarged veins. The more you know, the better you can care for your health. 

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