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Varicose veins and Diabetes- how are they interlinked?

varicose veins specialist doctor

Does diabetes cause varicose veins? Well, the connection between the two conditions may not be that straight forward. Diabetes may not directly cause varicose veins, but there are several common risk factors which can make both conditions worse.

Diabetes is a condition that can affect the whole body. As the blood sugar rises due to Diabetes, it can cause changes in cells and affect the lining in the blood vessels thus bringing inflexibility in vessels. As blood circulation gets affected people may become more prone to peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and may experience leg pain while walking.

Inflammation of veins

Excessive blood sugar levels can cause inflammation in the delicate blood vessels. Sugar may retain water in your blood which can further dilate the walls of the veins. As blood flows beyond the capacity of the veins, they may enlarge and turn varicose.

Chances for blood clotting are also higher when you have diabetes, which can speed up the process causing PAD. High blood pressure, improper circulation, and obesity – commonly associated with diabetes, can lead to vein insufficiency.

Some people with diabetes and high blood pressure, develop chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), which increases the risk for varicose veins. When the tiny valves in the leg veins stop functioning properly, the blood fails to travel back to the heart and succumb to gravity and start to pool in the veins. This can stretch the veins and cause swelling, pain, and cramps.

Varicose veins can raise your risk for conditions like deep vein thrombosis which can lead to life threatening conditions such as pulmonary embolism when blood clots are developed.

If nerve damage has occurred due to Diabetes, it is possible to miss the early warning signs of vein diseases. Hence, checking your feet and legs on a regular basis is important.

Lack of a healthy lifestyle and associated obesity can cause vascular damage and varicose veins.

Maintain a heathy weight

Proper weight management will help to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, healthy veins, and reduce the risk of secondary health issues.

Eat a healthy and balanced diet

It is important that people with diabetes limit the intake of sugar and carbohydrates. Including fruits and vegetables in your diet will essentially improve blood circulation in your body.

Quit smoking

Though smoking does not necessarily cause varicose veins, the chances of getting them are higher if you smoke. Once you quit, your veins have the capability to repair themselves over a period. Apart from nicotine, cigarettes contain thousands of highly toxic chemicals which may contribute to narrowing of blood vessels and restrict the circulation of blood.  

Move and stay active

A main contributing factor to vein problems is an unhealthy lifestyle. 

Medicines for diabetes

Studies have shown that medicines that are prescribed for diabetes do reduce the risk of developing varicose veins to a large extent.

Diabetic patients need to keep checking your legs and be assured that treatments including minimally invasive options are available for your veins if problems arise.