Obesity is linked with osteoarthritis (loss of cartilage in the joints), which commonly affects knees and hips. Carrying too much weight can also lead to varicose veins – dilated superficial veins which range from hardly noticeable to large bunches of grape-like structures behind the knee. About one in three women suffer from varicose veins.
Varicose veins are not life-threatening but they look unsightly and can also be painful. Being overweight can make the condition worse, as can pregnancy, when the hormonal influence of progesterone relaxes the veins. Varicose veins in pregnancy usually improve after the baby is born.
‘The most important thing is to have your varicose veins assessed properly, usually with an ultrasound scan,’ advises John Scurr, a consultant vascular surgeon from Middlesex Hospital.
You can then be advised on which treatment is most suitable – wearing elastic stockings, surgery, injection treatment or laser treatment. Walking is also an excellent way to tone the muscles in the leg, reduce body fat and improve circulation.
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