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How do obesity and diet increase the risk for varicose veins?

I am overweight and am worried that I am going to get varicose veins. How does my weight increase my risk for varicose veins? How do the specific foods I am eating cause varicose veins? Which foods and drinks increase the risk for varicose veins?


Doctors Answers (4)

Varicose veins and related saphenous insufficiency are typically inherited conditions. Obesity puts abnormal stress on all of your systems including the venous system. Obesity and food/drink types alone will not cause varicose veins. People who are overweight tend to be less active also, which in combination with inheritance/presence of vein issues, can increase risk of varicose veins. We always recommend weight loss, activity, healthy diet and hydration for overall health.

Diet and obesity are important factors in health and controlling your weight is very important for many reasons, but neither diet or obesity is a cause or risk factor for developing varicose veins.

Foods have no effect on varicose veins. Excess weight exacerbates the discomfort and appearance of various veins, but does not actually cause the problem. Extreme excess adds to the overall burden on the legs, making the patient feel very uncomfortable.

Anything which increases the pressure inside the abdomen and pelvis will cause pressure on the large veins of the abdomen and pelvis which carry venous blood from the legs back to the heart. This results in higher pressures in the leg veins which accelerates the development of varicose veins and leg swelling. The most common cause of increased pressure in the abdomen in North America is abdominal obesity. Thus, obesity accelerates the development of varicose veins and leg swelling. I am not aware of any known mechanism for diet to affect the leg veins except for obesity from over-eating or inadequate exercise.

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