Diet and Varicose Veins

Diet and Varicose Veins

Does diet and health affect varicose veins? There are many different factors that can cause varicose veins such as heredity, pregnancy, gender, age, injury, trauma to the veins, and prolonged standing. While it can be difficult to impossible to control these factors, diet and lifestyle are a few of the factors we do have control over. But does diet affect varicose veins? Indirectly, the answer is yes. That is, eating a diet of health foods and exercise is the key to avoiding obesity and will probably help delay or avoid the onset of varicose veins.

Foods that can help varicose veins

There are sources and studies that look at how diet alone can benefit varicose veins. The data is not very strong, however, high fiber diets, food high in flavonoids, and Horse chestnut seed (Aesculus Hippocastanum) are all diet related strategies that may help varicose veins. However, the best dietary strategy, by far, is to have a lifestyle with a healthy diet and exercise in order to prevent obesity.

Preventing obesiety through diet and exercise is best

In patients who are morbidly obese (those who have a body mass index, or BMI, over 40), there is definitely a higher risk of venous insufficiency. This applies to patients with no family history of venous insufficiency. For obese patients, diet and weight control play a critical part in treating and even curing venous insufficiency. In fact, after weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery), there is invariably a remarkable resolution of the discoloration, swelling, and ulceration in the legs of many obese patients. These changes are seen in patients who have tried and failed vein treatments which did not address their obesity.

So if a morbidly obese patient comes to our office with ulcers or significant venous insufficiency, my recommendation is weight loss through diet and exercise rather than surgery. For many patients who are morbidly obese, this is a daunting task. Still, there are several options for weight loss, including surgery, and it is important for health care providers to at least start a discussion about losing weight and what resources are available to help.