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How does altitude affect varicose veins?

I just moved to a fairly high altitude in the Rocky Mountains. How will this affect my varicose veins? Is it better to live closer to sea level?

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Doctors Answers (7)

In the short term adjustment to a change in altitude, varicose veins will be more prone to be symptomatic, but as your body adjusts to the change elevation with an increase in red blood cells and oxygen carrying capacity, your vein symptoms should be similar to what you would experience at sea level pressures.

Basically there is no effect. As long as you are active, hydrated and healthy lifestyle it will not directly affect you. However, if you have any symptoms you should be evaluated by a board certified vascular surgeon who specializes in treatment of varicose veins. If there is saphenous incompetence causing these veins, there is an increased incidence of superficial thrombophlebitis and superficial clots in varicose veins.

Altitude has no effect on varicose veins.

Altitude does not affect varicose veins. The swelling and potential for thrombosis when flying in an airplane, is related to sitting in one position without leg movement for a prolonged period of time, but is not caused by altitude.

This is a good question and shows you are thinking about how varicose veins cause venous reflux under the pressure of gravity, but altitude or atmospheric pressure has very little effect on varicose veins

Veins tend to dilate more at higher elevations. Medical grade compression socks would be helpful. I suggest seeing a phlebologist for evaluation and developing a long term treatment plan.

The altitude above sea level should have very little effect upon varicose veins. The very minimal differences in gravitational force and atmospheric pressure with altitude changes are minor compared to the magnitude of gravitational force near the surface of the Earth.

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