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Obesity and Vein Health
Obesity is defined as a BMI greater than 30. Obesity affects vein function adversely in several ways. BMI is calculated using one’s height and weight and can be computed by looking up BMI on the computer. Overweight is defined as a BMI score of 25-29.9.
Obese people tend to walk flat footed rather than off the ball of their foot. This decreases the pump function of the foot and the calf. In addition, the fat of the leg impedes venous outflow. Abdominal fat also increases intra-abdominal pressure, increasing resistance to venous outflow further. All of these factors impede vein function, making swelling and eventual skin changes more likely.
Overweight patients’ problems can be exacerbated by wearing tight or constricting garments or high heels. Add a sedentary lifestyle or prolonged travel in a constricted space and there is an increased risk of deep vein clots. Obese and overweight patients are also at a higher risk for DVT during abdominal, pelvic or orthopedic operations.
"Being an outdoors person, I usually would wear shorts for most activities. However, having this vein problem,I always felt a great deal of embarrassment."
— Jim G.
If you struggle with your weight and fear your vein health may be at risk, reach out to one of our vein doctors. If you see swelling or a pinkish or brownish discoloration on the inside of your lower leg and/or ankle, you already have significant vein disease, even if you don’t see varicose veins. A VVC specialist can help you decide on the best course of treatment and health plan to reach a healthy weight and decrease future vein problems.
Take this short, five-question quiz to find out if you’re at risk.
Do your legs often feel tired and heavy?
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