Many people suffering from varicose veins know that they have them because blue ropey veins can be seen bulging through the skin on their legs. Others may report a discomfort or feeling of heaviness which alerted them to the fact that they could have venous disease.
Obesity can mask the symptoms of the failing valves because the swollen veins are often hidden. Aching in the leg might be attributed by patients to the extra weight they are carrying rather than hidden varicose veins.
Many of my patients carrying excess weight are only alerted to the fact that they might have varicose veins once skin damage starts to occur. Varicose veins left untreated can lead to leg ulceration.
With overweight patients it can also be more of a challenge to assess and treat the problem because the veins can be deeper within the leg making it harder to map and properly access and identify the diseased veins.
This article was published in Brisbane Style Magazine November 2013 - Dr Nick Kemp is regular contributer on the Ask The Experts Panel.