What you need to know about varicose veins and diabetes


Diabetes does not cause varicose veins. However, studies show that diabetes and vein disease together can have a significant impact on your health.

Diabetes causes high blood sugar levels, which can lead to the weakening of the blood vessels. In turn, the venous system is more susceptible to infection. Because blood vessels and veins are prone to inflammation and weakness, there is an increased risk of circulatory issues for those diagnosed with diabetes, including an increased risk for infection.

Varicose veins usually are unsightly, large and rope-like. They often develop in the legs and can be seen from the surface of the skin. But varicose veins also can be deep within the tissues. Some varicose veins can take on the appearance of a red or blue-ish spider web. In addition to their appearance, varicose veins can cause pain, weakness, cramping and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Weight gain can be a result of diabetes and being overweight contributes to the development and advancement of varicose veins. The presence of varicose veins generally indicates inflammation, which places extra stress on the body’s immune and circulatory system. Advanced diabetes might even result in nerve and tissue damage in your legs, where varicose veins are most common.

Because both varicose veins and diabetes negatively impact circulation, the risk of developing life-threatening complications, such as deep vein thrombosis, rises. Another complication of varicose veins is the development of a skin ulcer. If a diabetic develops a skin ulcer due to an untreated varicose vein, the likelihood of a serious infection is higher.

Patients with diabetes and a predisposition to varicose veins should take extra care to reduce their risk as much as possible.

A healthy diet and regular exercise are important components in the treatment and maintenance of both diabetes and varicose veins.

Lifestyle tips for living with varicose veins and diabetes

  • Eat foods high in fiber
  • Avoid high sodium foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Elevate your legs when at rest
  • Wear loose fitting clothes
  • Minimize sitting or standing for extended periods

Treatment options

Being a diabetic (Type I or Type II) should not prevent you from being treated for varicose veins.

If you are a diabetic, you need to be proactive when it comes to diagnosing and treating varicose veins. If you notice symptoms of varicose veins in your legs, you need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. An experienced vein doctor will be able to evaluate your legs, diagnose vein disease and help you treat the problem effectively.

Patients living with diabetes shouldn’t ignore any venous irregularities. Inspect your legs and feet regularly. Be aware of changes in your body that might need medical attention.

A vein specialist can discuss with you a minimally invasive treatment to eliminate your varicose veins. Contemporary treatments are available for varicose veins to be treated quickly and successfully – allowing you to focus on living a healthy, active lifestyle.

San Diego Vein Institute specializes in treating venous concerns and optimizing venous health. San Diego Vein Institute is located at 336 Encinitas Boulevard, Suite 130, Encinitas, CA 92024. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (760) 944-9263 or visit