Your mom and grandmother both have varicose veins. Maybe your brother, cousins, and uncles have the same condition. This might make you wonder whether varicose veins are hereditary or not. Read on to discover the answer to this common question.
Before dwelling on details about the influence of genetics in varicose veins, let us first explore how these veins form.
Veins are the primary blood vessels that carry blood to the heart. These veins contain valves that open and close and help to push blood toward the heart. When the valves leak or fail to properly close, it can result in the backward flow of blood, causing blood to collect in the lower extremities of the body. The veins then swell, enlarge, and may even twist, forming varicose veins.
According to the Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, half of those who develop varicose veins have family members who experience the same condition. Some people may inherit problems involving their valves. Others may have an abnormally weak vein wall. Pregnant women are also more likely to have varicose veins if they have a relative with the condition.
There is no certainty you will experience the discomfort of varicose veins, even with a family history of the vascular disease. However, heredity still plays a significant role in both the onset and progression of varicose veins.
There is a significant possibility that you will exhibit varicose veins if you’re female or take medications that contain female hormones. The reason behind this is female hormones tend to relax the veins, limiting their ability to carry and move blood toward the heart.
The older we get, the more our bodies deteriorate. The same is true for our veins. The valves and vein walls become weaker over time, making varicose veins more likely with age.
Being overweight puts extra pressure on your veins, making it more difficult to send blood back to the heart. The increased pressure on the valves makes them more prone to leak. The situation is similar during pregnancy. Since being pregnant adds a significant amount of weight to your body, the pressure on your veins also increases when you are pregnant.
Research suggests that jobs requiring prolonged standing increase your risk of developing varicose veins. The reason behind this is that your veins have to work harder, against gravity, to send blood back to the heart while you are standing. If you spend a good deal of time on your feet, this can put extra strain on your veins, making you more susceptible to varicose veins.
Although most people see varicose veins as solely a cosmetic problem, it can cause very real medical problems such as pain, itching, swelling, throbbing, and a feeling of heaviness in the legs. It doesn’t help that you may have inherited a predisposition for varicose veins.
If you live in or around Houston, Texas, seek the services of board-certified physician Dr. Raymond Little to treat your varicose veins. At The Vein Institute & MediSpa, we treat vascular disorders using a combination of minimally invasive methods that include injections, sclerotherapy, and endovenous laser therapy. Call us at (281) 312-0208 or book an appointment online.