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Exclusive: Expert Explains How Diabetes And Varicose Veins Are Closely Linked, Risk Factors, And Treatments

Diabetes and varicose veins are very closely linked to each other. Varicose veins occur when the veins or the valves are unable to direct the way to flow the blood back to the heart. When the veins compress the blood remains stagnant or might flow back to the affected area.

There is a myth that diabetes can cause varicose veins, but there is a connection between both conditions. Studies show that both conditions together can impact one's health. As diabetes causes high blood sugar levels, which leads to weakened blood vessels. The glucose levels that are not controlled would damage the veins, which affects the blood flow to the legs and feet.

Are Varicose veins and Diabetes related?

Diabetes and Varicose have been rooted relationship, as both are depended on the dietary habits of a person. If a person has diabetic and facing difficulty to reduce the sugar intake among other foods. High-sodium foods need to be avoided, as it increases blood pressure adding up stress in the body and causing difficulty to function properly to improve both varicose veins and diabetes.

Venous diseases and diabetes affect the blood circulation in the legs and feet which results in swelling, burning, or itching. Diabetes that is uncontrollable or not given that importance can negatively impact venous diseases by adding stress to the veins. As a result, people with diabetes are prone to get varicose veins.

Who are at Risk?

Varicose veins and diabetes are among the diseases that can occur simultaneously. Mostly this kind of disease is seen in elders, people who are obese, or if someone has a family history of varicose veins or diabetes. In certain cases, there are chances that a person would have both diseases with certain characteristics. Some of the common risk factors are:

Age: Age is not just a number when it comes to diseases. It has a huge impact and is a risk factor when it comes to diseases like varicose veins or diabetes. As one gets older the boy is prone to many diseases and lifestyle and food habits impact health. If one has too much sugar intake or too much stress can cause varicose veins or diabetes.

Pregnancy: During pregnancy women tend to have high blood sugar levels or the strain on the legs would cause varicose veins. High blood sugar levels are associated with gestational diabetes which damages blood vessels and can lead to varicose veins. One needs to keep the leg elevated if there are slight symptoms of varicose veins. One might develop diabetes mostly during the second trimester which might be present even after giving birth. One needs to reduce the sugar intake during pregnancy if the blood sugar levels are higher than what is required.

Obesity: People with Type - 1 diabetes are very prone to gain weight, and people with Type - 2 diabetes are mostly overweight which indicated that diabetes and excessive weight gain have a close connection with each other. Diabetes is associated with an increase in blood sugar levels which causes the blood to thicken causing varicose veins.

Genetical Impact: Genetics play a vital role, especially in diseases like Diabetes or Varicose veins. If there is a family history of either of the diseases a person can be prone to get diabetes or varicose veins.

Treatment Options:

The primary treatment methods for Varicose veins and Diabetes are similar. Even for diabetes, the main focus is on maintaining normal blood sugar levels and monitoring them. In both cases, it is essential to maintain a proper healthy diet, medicines, and insulin as and when needed. For non-invasive treatment methods for varicose veins is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, reducing salt intake, and rest the legs in an elevated position to remove the strain from the legs.


Proper treatment methods and lifestyle changes can reduce or prevent one from getting varicose veins without diabetes. Prevent measures taken to prevent varicose veins help in proper blood circulation and also don't allow the blood to thicken which is caused by diabetes. One needs to increase the fiber intake and reduce the salt intake. If one has only diabetes and no symptoms of varicose veins, it is recommended to keep a regular check on the blood sugar levels and always check for any changes to the veins.

The article is contributed by Dr Vinay Nyapathi, MD, Interventional Radiologist and Vascular Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore.

Story first published: Monday, November 21, 2022, 17:32 [IST]
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