Dr. Mangalpally has left the practice as of 10/1/2023 and will no longer be seeing Prime Heart and Vascular patients.  Please let our staff know if you would like a copy of your medical records of would like them transferred elsewhere.
Skip to main content

Here's How Your Weight Affects Your Veins

After you’ve been on your feet for a while, do your legs start aching and even burning? Are your feet and ankles swollen? These are some of the signs you may be developing vein problems. Problems in your veins, especially your leg veins, occur more often in adults over 50 years old, and more often in women than in men. 

How do vein problems develop?

Your veins are an important part of your body’s circulatory system. They carry blood back to your heart after your arteries carry it out. Veins have one-way valves that open and close to move blood toward your heart. 

If the valves become damaged, they no longer work effectively. Blood flow decreases if a valve doesn’t open all the way. As a result, your blood may pool in the veins, putting pressure on the vein walls. If the valves in your veins aren’t opening and closing as they should, the blood can flow backward. The condition is called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). 

CVI can occur in both superficial veins close to your skin and deep leg veins embedded inside your leg. CVI most often occurs when you’ve had a leg injury which led to a blood clot, or if you have varicose veins. 

Varicose veins are part and parcel of CVI. When the valves in your veins are damaged, the veins grow larger and can protrude from your skin in a long, twisted, raised ridge down your leg. These are varicose. Any vein close to the surface of your skin, called a superficial vein can become varicose, and cause CVI. The superficial veins in the legs are most commonly affected because standing increases pressure on those veins. 

Symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency

All of the following are symptoms of CVI: 

Chronic venous insufficiency is often painful and may become disabling. If untreated, the chronic venous disease may lead to two dangerous conditions: (1) a blood clot in a vein in your leg which can eventually travel to your heart, or (2) a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot in the lung. Both of these conditions are life-threatening. 

How does extra weight contribute to vein problems?

If you’re overweight, you’re more likely to develop varicose veins.  Along with standing for long periods, excess weight puts stress on your veins. Just as the extra pounds put tremendous pressure on your knee joints, they also put pressure on the valves in your veins. Eventually, the valves may fail. 

Excess fat on the legs may hide varicose veins. Obesity can also cause CVI in veins deep inside your legs, causing painful ulcers which take months to heal. 

How to treat and ease CVI symptoms 

Dr. Shah uses ultrasound and other tests to diagnose your condition and provide proper treatment for your condition. Compression stockings and medications help ease symptoms as well as moderate exercise to improve circulation and weight loss to reduce pressure on your veins. 

When your condition is more severe, Dr. Shah may recommend radiofrequency ablation, an in-office procedure, or minimally invasive treatments that can be done in the office. When necessary, Dr. Shah performs surgery, which may involve placing a venous stent or removing a  clot.  

Are you concerned that something might be wrong with your veins? Call or book an appointment online with Dr. Shah at Prime Heart and Vascular for expert treatment of your condition.

You Might Also Enjoy...

My Varicose Veins Ache. What Can I Do?

My Varicose Veins Ache. What Can I Do?

Varicose veins are a relatively common problem for many people, especially as they get older. Beyond their unattractive appearance, varicose veins can cause achiness, cramps, and other painful symptoms. Here’s how vein treatment can help.
Little-Known Causes of Chest Pain

Little-Known Causes of Chest Pain

Chest pain is a common medical complaint for women and men of all ages. Though heart attacks are one possible cause, there are lots of other potential causes, too. In this post, learn what could be causing your chest pain.
Understanding the Four Stages of Heart Failure

Understanding the Four Stages of Heart Failure

Heart failure affects millions of Americans, but fortunately, there are ways to manage it. Identifying the four stages of heart failure plays a key role in treatment. If you have heart failure, here’s what you should know about these stages.
Save Money and Protect Your Health with Preventive Cardiology

Save Money and Protect Your Health with Preventive Cardiology

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and when it comes to cardiology, it’s certainly true. Preventive cardiology focuses on reducing the risk of heart disease, so you can enjoy better health and reduced care costs in the future.
Recognizing the Early Warning Signs of PAD

Recognizing the Early Warning Signs of PAD

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a chronic disease that can have life-threatening consequences. Fortunately, it can be managed — but getting early treatment is critical. Be on the lookout for these symptoms.