Obesity & Venous Disease: What you need to know and Why

To prevent health risks such as Deep Vein Thrombosis, it is important for people of all ages to have a healthy weight. Moderate obesity reduces life expectancy by about 3 years, and severe obesity can shorten a person’s life by 10 years. This 10-year loss is equal to the effects of lifelong smoking! Obesity is particularly dangerous for the vascular system at large. Obese individuals are more prone to varicose veins, spider veins, deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolisms(PE).

DVT can develop as a result of physical inactivity, causing long-term health problems including: discoloration, leg pain, leg sores, swelling, and vein damage. A major risk associated with DVT is the development of a pulmonary embolism. PE occurs when a blood clot breaks loose from the wall of a vein and travels to the lungs, blocking the pulmonary artery or one of its branches. If PE is untreated it can lead to death.

In a recent study (Stein, P. et al (2005) The American Journal of Medicine), it was found that obese patients are 2.5 more times likely to get deep venous thrombosis than non-obese patients. It was also found that there is also a 2.21 higher risk of pulmonary embolism in obese patients versus non-obese patients. Obese individuals under the age of 40 are particularly at risk for both diseases, their risk is 5 times higher than non-obese individuals their age!

Deep Vein Thrombosis affects an estimated 2 million Americans each year. Up to 600,000 people are hospitalized and approximately 300,000 Americans die each year from DVT-related PE in the U.S.—that’s more than AIDS and breast cancer combined. Given this startling statistic, it’s important to know the facts.

Some symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis to be aware of are: swelling in one or both legs, pain or tenderness in one or both legs(which may occur only while standing or walking Red or discolored skin), visible surface veins, leg fatigue and warmth in the skin.

Half of all DVT cases show no symptoms at all!

If you do have any of the DVT symptoms above– especially if they occur suddenly – call the Chuback Vein Center right away.

The Chuback Vein Center performs vascular screening exams to identify patients who are at risk for stroke, peripheral vascular disease or an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Ideal candidates for a screening exam included patients who smoke and are obese. Patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a family history of cardiovascular disease are also good candidates for screening.

We encourage patient awareness and education to inspire healthy lifestyle modifications including smoking cessation and weight loss. Early detection and intervention is essential for your overall health and a disease-free, high quality of life.

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