Font Size: Increase | Decrease

When should an overweight person have their veins treated?

My mother has problems with veins that are becoming wide and twisted. The doctor has adviser her to get the veins treated as soon as possible. However, she is overweight by almost 100 pounds and also needs to lose weight. We are wondering whether she should have her veins treated before or after she loses weight? If she has them removed while she is still heavy, will they come back?


Doctors Answers (3)

Walking will benefit both weight loss and symptoms from her varicose veins. Being overweight is not a factor in treating her leg veins or in the veins "coming back" after treatment. Varicose veins that are treated with modern techniques will not return, as they are adsorbed by the body. However, the development of new varicose veins depends on several factors including a lack of activity, prolonged standing such as with teachers or nurses, poor choice of shoes (especially with high heeled shoes), leg traumas and genetics.

Venous insufficiency needs to be treated unless a patient is so overwhelmingly obese that treatment is not feasible. We routinely treat patients who are more than 100 pounds overweight. For some of them, the treatment of the varicose veins improves their activity levels so than can begin to lose weight. Abdominal obesity compresses the veins of the pelvis and accelerates progression of venous problems in the legs, but this is not a reason not to treat the veins.

If she is overweight, she will be less active. When less active, the muscle pumps (calf and thigh muscles) do not circulate her venous blood very well. If she has underlying reflux (valve malfunction causing blood to pool in lower legs) she will be more prone to clotting. She should see a board certified surgeon vascular trained who specializes in treating varicose veins. He/she will perform an ultrasound to see if this is the problem and advise the appropriate treatment. Often with this problem symptoms such as heaviness, aching, cramping, and pain can limit how much a person can exercise. After treatment, they may have more energy and be able to walk more, for possible weight loss. Win-win.

Disclaimer: The information found on this website is intended to be general medical information; it is not a medical diagnosis or medical advice. Specific medical advice can only be given with full knowledge of all of the facts and circumstances of your health situation. You should seek consultation with a doctor familiar with your medical condition. Posting a question on this website does not create a doctor-patient relationship. All questions you post will be available to the public; do not include confidential information in your question.