How Obesity Affects Vein Health

One of the most important steps you can take in preventing problematic veins is controlling your weight. Not only does being overweight and obese affect your overall health and wellbeing, but it can take a major toll on your veins as well.

The extra weight on the feet of an obese person decreases the pump function of the foot and the calf. Additionally, the fat of the leg impedes venous outflow. Abdominal fat also increase internal pressures, increasing resistance to proper venous flow. All of these factors that surround extensive weight gain impede vein function, making swelling and skin changes more likely.

Wearing tight or constrictive garments or high heels can exacerbate obese individual’s vein health. Add a sedentary lifestyle or prolonged travel in a constricted space and there is an increased risk of DVT. Obesity also increases the risk of developing blood during abdominal pelvic or orthopedic operations.

One of the best things you can do for your health is maintain a healthy weight. It is likely that a variety of ailments pertaining to obesity, like poor vein health, will dissipate once your body reaches healthy levels of fat, sugar and muscle.

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Northern Nevada’s Best Walking Trails

We’ve said it many times; walking can be an incredible exercise for vein health and wellness. So, where are your favorite places to walk in Nevada? We’ve compiled our top below!

Hidden Valley Regional Park
4740 Parkway Drive, off of Pembroke Drive, east Reno. Both easy and challenging hikes, great views.
Information: 775-828-6612

Bartley Ranch Regional Park
6000 Bartley Ranch Road, south Reno. Easy hiking, great views, museum and historic displays.
Information: 775-828-6612

Tom Cooke Trail
In far west Reno, trailhead behind Patagonia or at Mayberry Park.
Information: 775-334-2262

Huffaker Hills Trailhead
Easy to moderate hiking along a well-maintained gravel and dirt tread. The higher you go, the better the views. Access is from Alexander Lake Rd., off S. McCarran Blvd., next to Rattlesnake Mtn.
Information: 775-328-2000

Huffaker Park Lookout Trail
A nice suburban trail that loops around two hills and offers panoramic city views. A Reno city park.
Information: 775-334-2262

Mira Loma Park and Urban Trail
Mira Loma has a paved ADA accessible trail and lots of other amenities like playgrounds and a skatepark. A Reno city park.
Information: 775-334-2262

Rancho San Rafael Regional Park
The north section of Rancho San Rafael Park has nature trails and hiking and biking trails in Evans Canyon and on the side of Peavine Mountain.
Information: 775-785-4512

Sparks Marina Park
A flat, paved trail goes around the lake. A Sparks city park.
Information: 775-334-2262

Davis Creek Regional Park
25 Davis Creek Rd., Washoe Valley. Nature trails and a trailhead into the Toiyabe National Forest. The challenging Ophir Creek Trail climbs up past Slide Mountain, all the way to Lake Tahoe and a trailhead for the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Information: 775-849-0684

Galena Creek Visitor Center and Recreation Area Trails
18350 Mt. Rose Highway (NV 431), south of Reno. Hiking in the Sierra along Galena, Jones and White’s Creeks, and more.
Information: 775-849-2511

Washoe Lake State Park
For hikers, Deadman’s Creek Trail is a moderate climb to a fantastic viewpoint with gazebo, overlooking the lake and the Sierra of Lake Tahoe’s Nevada side. There are several other easy hikes as well.
Information: 775-687-4319

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park
West of Carson City and near Lake Tahoe. Easy and moderate hikes, plus unsurpassed scenery. Take Hwy. 50 west from Carson City up to Lake Tahoe.
Information: 775-831-0494

Mt. Rose Summit Trail
The popular hike to the summit is strenuous. Your reward is a tremendous 360° view. Access is from the Mt. Rose Highway (NV 431) south of Reno.
Information: 775-882-2766

Tahoe Rim Trail
As the name implies, this route circles Lake Tahoe. Nearest trailhead from Reno is up the Mt. Rose Highway (NV 431) to Tahoe Meadows.
Information: 775-298-0012

Slide Mountain Trail
This short trail near the Mt. Rose ski area offers some of the best views you’ll get for not much effort. It’s close to several other top trails in this area.

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Vein health terminology: What Is Superficial Thrombophlebitis?

Superficial thrombophlebitis is an inflammatory condition of the veins due to a blood clot just below the surface of the skin. It usually occurs in the legs, but it can occasionally occur in the arms and neck. Anyone can develop superficial thrombophlebitis, but females are affected more than males.

Several factors contribute to and increase the risk of developing superficial thrombophlebitis. The more common risk factors include:

  • Recent IV, catheter, or injection into a vein
  • Sitting or lying down for too long, such as on a long flight
  • Varicose veins
  • Pregnancy
  • Infection
  • Disorders that increase blood clotting
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement medications
  • Being over 60
  • Chemical irritation, such as from cancer treatments
  • Superficial thrombophlebitis is also associated with more serious medical conditions, including:
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in a deep vein)
  • Cancers of the abdomen, such as pancreatic cancer
  • Factor V Leiden (a genetic blood clotting disorder)
  • Prothrombin gene mutation (a gene mutation that causes a blood clotting disorder)
  • Thromboangiitis obliterans (blockage of the blood vessels in the hands and feet)

Symptoms of superficial thrombophlebitis include:

  • Redness and inflammation of the skin along a vein
  • Warmth of the skin and tissue around the vein
  • Tenderness and pain that worsens with added pressure
  • Pain in the limb
  • Darkening of the skin over the vein
  • Hardening of the vein

Superficial thrombophlebitis is treated at home in most cases. Your doctor might recommend applying a warm compress to the affected area and elevating it to relieve swelling. Wearing support stockings can also help reduce swelling.

Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin can help reduce the redness and irritation caused by inflammation. This condition usually goes away within two weeks. It can take longer for the hardness in your vein to subside.

In a rare, serious instance, removal of the vein is necessary. This is more common if you have varicose veins.

If you think you might be at risk, we recommend contacting a doctor. If you live in Northern Nevada, contact the experienced staff at Reno Vein Clinic (775) 329-3100


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How to Prevent Varicose Eczema

Varicose eczema, also known as ‘gravitational eczema’ or ‘stasis eczema’, is a common skin condition that affects the lower legs of adults. If left untreated, the skin can break down to form ulcers, which are then difficult to heal. Here’s some information on what causes varicose eczema and how it can be treated in the early stages to prevent ulcers from developing.

Who gets varicose eczema?

Varicose eczema is usually seen in middle‐aged or older people, but it can occur from the teenage years onwards. You are most likely to develop this type of eczema if you have high blood pressure or varicose veins, or have had a deep vein thrombosis, phlebitis or cellulitis in the past. Varicose eczema is more common in women than in men since female hormones and pregnancy increase the risk of developing the condition.

What causes varicose eczema?

Because humans walk upright, the pressure of the blood in the veins is greater in the lower legs than anywhere else in the body when you stand up.

In active adults, the return of blood to the heart through the leg veins is usually good because muscle activity helps to push blood along. But as we get older and less active, the blood moves less well up our veins and can collect in the lower legs.

If the leg vein walls are weak, they cannot withstand high pressure in them and varicose veins develop, appearing as dark blue, wiggly, raised bulges on the surface of the legs. If someone in your family has varicose veins, the chances of you developing them are higher. If you are overweight or pregnant, your chances are increased even further. If you spend a lot of time standing up or sitting with your legs in one position (lack of mobility), the tendency to develop varicose veins is greater still.

How can varicose eczema be prevented?

There are a number of things you can do yourself to prevent varicose eczema from occurring/reoccurring:

  • Look after your legs – extra care and attention to your legs is needed for the rest of your life.
  • Lose weight if necessary.
  • Varicose veins can be treated, so consult your doctor if you think you have them. Although unfortunately, in some regions, varicose vein surgery or laser treatment is not available on the NHS.
  • If you have varicose veins, your leg veins should be supported at all times. For mild cases, which require low‐strength compression, elastic support stockings or tights, available from most pharmacies, are adequate. For more severe varicose veins, compression hosiery is made to measure and can be prescribed by your doctor or nurse.
  • If you have a venous ulcer, you will need compression bandages, which will be applied by a nurse, when your leg ulcer is dressed.
  • Always put any compression hosiery on before you get out of bed in the morning before any fluid can build up in your ankles.
  • Try not to stand still for a long time. If you have to, then frequently flex your feet or bend down at the knees. This will help to keep blood moving in the veins. Sitting is better than standing still, especially if you can sit with your feet up.
  • Exercise is important – a brisk walk twice a day or walking up stairs, can make your leg muscles work and help push blood through their veins.


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Diet Tips for Varicose Veins

We loved this article from It provides some great items to consider when looking at a diet to promote vein health!

What is the best diet plan for treating varicose veins, those painful enlarged veins that develop in some women’s legs, especially during and after pregnancy? The purpose of this section of’s Guide to Healing Varicose Veins is to provide you with diet tips that can help you prevent and treat varicose veins and spider veins.

Important notice: The information below and elsewhere on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified health care professional for any questions you may have regarding varicose veins or any other medical condition.

#1:  Restrict Calories Consumed

A high energy intake is associated with an increased risk of varicose veins because it can contribute to the development of obesity and excess body weight. Many people have experienced a dramatic improvement in the appearance of varicose veins by losing as little as 10% of body weight. To lose weight, you will have to create a calorie deficit, either by reducing calorie intake from foods so that your body must draw on reserves for energy (such as fat stored within your body) or by increasing physical activity.

Weight loss is a key aspect of the anti-varicose vein diet.

To lose 1 pound per week, you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories per week. This can be done by reducing a daily caloric intake by 500 calories per day (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). Most health professionals recommend creating a caloric deficit of 3,500 to 7,000 per week for healthy and successful weight loss.

An extreme caloric deficit (a deficit of more than 7,000-10,500 calories per week) can compromise bodily functions and even result in heart rhythm abnormalities, which can be fatal. Furthermorecutting too many calories may also be counterproductive to weight loss efforts, as extremely low calorie diets boost the activity of fat-storing enzymes and decrease the activity of fat-burning enzymes in the body. In addition, cutting too many of calories can accelerate loss of lean muscle mass and decrease the output of the thyroid hormone, which will result in a decrease in the metabolic rate and thus fewer calories will be burned throughout the day.

In addition to restricting the amount of calories consumed, overweight people with varicose veins should pay attention to the timing of the daily caloric intake. It is generally recommended to spread the calories throughout the day by having 5-6 small meals. This will keep the metabolism humming and reduce cravings for sweets and starches, thus promoting weight loss. The breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day as a big breakfast will rev up your metabolism and you will burn more calories throughout the day.

#2:  Eat Plenty of Foods Rich in Vitamin C

If you have varicose veins, one of the best diet tips you can follow is to include plenty of foods rich in vitamin C and vitamin E in your daily diet. Vitamin C is needed for the manufacturing of collagen and elastin, two important connective tissues that help keep veins strong and toned. Vitamin C is also known to increase circulation. Therefore, it is no surprise that a deficiency of vitamin C has been associated with varicose veins. The positive effects of vitamin C on blood vessels are believed to be more pronounced when vitamin C is consumed together with vitamin E.

#3:  Eat Plenty of Fiber Rich Foods

Dietary fiber is the part of plant foods that the enzymes in your body cannot digest. It is therefore not absorbed into the bloodstream and cannot be used for energy. Dietary fiber can be classified into two main categories: soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel when mixed with water while insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water, passes the intestines largely intact. Due to its ability to make stool bulkier and softer, soluble fiber can prevent constipationConstipation increases pressure on the veins, which can, over time, contribute to the development of varicose veins. Excellent sources of soluble fiber include oats, flaxseed, peas, beans, apples, carrots, barley, berries, and psyllium.

#4:  Drink Enough Water

If you eat a lot of fiber rich foods in order to avoid constipation and varicose veins, be sure to drink enough water or otherwise fiber can have the opposite effect and precipitate constipation, which in turn can increase pressure on the veins. It is also advisable to shy away from alcohol, coffee, and tea as these substances have a dehydrating effect on the body.

#5:  Eat Foods That Contain Bioflavonoids

Bioflavonoids (or simply flavonoids) are a group of compounds that occur naturally in plants. These compounds give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors and protect them from microbes and insects. A large body of evidence suggests that the properties of bioflavonoids not only protect plants, but also humans. Some studies have found a link between a high, long-term intake of flavonoids and improvements in the appearance of varicose veins. The beneficial effects of flavonoids are believed to result from their ability to strengthen the walls of blood vessels and to prevent free radical stress inside the vessels.

Rutin is one of the flavonoids that have been researched extensively as a potential dietary remedy for varicose veins. Evidence suggests that this powerful bioflavonoid, abundant in buckwheat groats, may help relieve swelling, aching, and pain associated with varicose veins. In addition to buckwheat, there are a handful of other foods that contain rutin in significant amounts.

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All About Leg Pain

Leg pain refers to pain or discomfort anywhere in the leg. It can range from a dull ache to an intense stabbing sensation. There are many causes of leg pain. However, only some of these are medically serious. Minor discomfort will often disappear within a short time and can be eased or relieved with at-home treatments.

Common Causes of Leg Pain:


A principle cause of leg pain is a cramp or muscle spasm, often known as a charley horse. Muscle fatigue, dehydration, and some medications—such as diuretics and statins—can all lead to leg cramps.


  • Leg pain is also frequently a sign of injury, such as:
  • Muscle strains
  • Tendonitis (an inflamed tendon)
  • Shin splints (pain in the lower front of your leg after overuse)
  • Stress fractures

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions commonly lead to leg pain. These include:

  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot caused by long periods of bed rest)
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Varicose (spider) veins
  • The presence of infection in the bone or tissues of the leg
  • Nerve damage (often as a result of conditions such as diabetes)

How Can You Ease Leg Pain at Home?

You can best treat your leg pain when you know its cause.

If you have varicose veins and believe that they are the source of your pain, try elevating the affected leg when you rest. Pantyhose with support may also provide some relief.

Other common causes of leg pain are muscle cramps or muscle fatigue after excessive physical activity. If your pain is the result of too much physical activity, first apply ice to your leg. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this should be done four times a day—or more frequently in the first few days after the pain appears. The ice can be left on for as long as 15 minutes (NIH, 2011).

Rest and elevate the affected leg as much as possible. Stretching and massage are also good at-home treatments for muscle cramps. You may want to take a non-prescription pain reliever, such as aspirin, to further ease your discomfort.

 When Does Leg Pain Require Medical Attention?

One of the challenges for those who experience leg pain is deciding whether it warrants a trip to the doctor or the emergency room. Schedule a doctor’s appointment if you have:

  • Worsening pain
  • Swelling in both legs
  • Varicose veins that are causing discomfort
  • Pain upon walking
  • Leg pain that persists beyond a few days

Seek out medical attention immediately if:

  • The leg is red and warm to the touch
  • You have a fever
  • The leg feels cool to the touch or appears pale
  • You are experiencing breathing difficulties in addition to swelling in both legs
  • You have a deep cut on your leg
  • You are immobile
  • You cannot place any weight on your leg
  • You sustained an injury that occurred along with a pop or grinding noise

A number of serious conditions and injuries may cause leg pain. Never ignore leg pain that does not seem to be going away, or if it is accompanied by any of the other symptoms mentioned above. Doing so could be dangerous.

Preventing Leg Pain

It is easiest to prevent leg pain caused by physical activity. Always take time to stretch before and after exercising. The Mayo Clinic recommends eating foods that are high in potassium—such as bananas, chicken, and lima beans—is also a good idea (Mayo Clinic, 2010).

Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control, drink only in moderation, and avoid smoking. If you have diabetes, take steps to manage your condition and work with your doctor to prevent foot pain from developing.

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Menopause and Varicose Veins

We were inspired by this site who ran this important post on how menopause affects the appearance and onset of problematic Varicose veins. If you are going through menopause and have noticed a change in your veins, we encourage you to call Dr. Merchant or Dr. Daake at the Reno Vein Clinic (775) 329-3100 for a consultation.

 Menopause and Varicose Veins: How Are They Connected?

Women approaching menopause can be glad to live in an era when discussion of the process and its accompanying changes are no longer hush-hush and taboo. Any biologically based changes in one’s body will be accepted and responded to better when accompanied by information and education. Since it occurs naturally, some do not consider menopause to be a medical condition per se. However, it does have practical ramifications for women’s health, especially for bones and cardiovascular health.

There are many hormonal changes that accompany menopause, many of these being decreased production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone by the ovaries. There are also increased levels of two hormones of the pituitary gland – luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone – that usually stimulate estrogen production by the ovaries in the pre-menopausal years. Other tissues in a menopausal woman’s body continue to produce estrogen, and the adrenal glands make some progesterone, but the overall levels of the two hormones become much lower during and after menopause. This brings on the familiar symptoms of hot flashes, loss of bone density and otherwise unexplained episodes of fatigue or depression.

Less well known is the fact that estrogen and progesterone have positive effects on all of the circulatory system, not just the heart. Veins of the leg in particular are known to express receptors for progesterone – even in men! (There are low levels of all the sex hormones in both men and women.) Therefore some doctors believe the decreased levels of progesterone during and after menopause may contribute to the development of varicose veins, which women are more predisposed to than men. The drop in hormone levels may also contribute to the weakening of the valves that veins contain, which is known to be important in the development of varicose veins.  Menopause of course can’t be prevented, but the negative symptoms are often treated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Whether HRT reduces a woman’s chance of developing varicose veins has not been studied directly.

However, most HRT preparations include both estrogen and progesterone – the combination seems safer than estrogen alone – and progesterone is predicted to be necessary for healthy veins, based on the presence of its receptors there.  Menopausal women concerned about varicose or spider veins can do a number of things in addition to HRT to reduce the likelihood of their appearance. Perhaps the most powerful preventative is regular exercise for the legs – walking, running, biking and swimming all stimulate circulation in the legs. Good circulation is key to preventing the pooling of blood in veins that causes them to become varicose. One can also avoid some of the common risk factors for developing varicose veins, such as smoking, becoming diabetic and a sedentary lifestyle.

Both sitting and standing in one place for hours at a time increase the risk of varicose veins. Therefore those in jobs requiring long hours of sitting or standing in place should take frequent but very short breaks, just to walk around a bit. Any additional exercise after work hours will only help. Wearing of support stockings is generally good for the veins of the leg and can also help prevent the onset of varicose veins. Lastly, keeping the legs and feet elevated when sitting is helpful – and it feels great, too!

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