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Are Varicose Veins Genetic?

Varicose veins are very common, with 1 out of 2 women and 1 out of 3 men suffering from varicose or spider veins at some form in their life. There are many contributing factors to why someone might get varicose veins, and genetics is a common cause. 

In 2018, a team of researchers published what they learned about the genetics of varicose veins. They found 30 different genetic factors related to varicose veins. They also made the exciting discovery that being taller puts people at higher risk of developing varicose veins. Fortunately, there are many ways you can work against this genetic risk.

Lifestyle changes can strengthen vein health. And many new treatments are now available for varicose vein treatment and prevention. This article will take you through the latest research on the genetics of this progressive disease. It will also cover how you can prevent or minimize this condition through lifestyle choices. Keep reading to find out more.

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The Genetics of Varicose Veins

The 2018 study found that several mutations might be involved in developing varicose veins. Mutations can be passed down through generations. But what surprised researchers most about this study was the finding that greater height is related to varicose veins. Your risk goes up 25% per every four inches of height. Why is this? The researchers think it might be related to the distance your blood must travel from your heart to other parts of your body. For taller people, it takes longer for blood to reach the arms and legs. This might create greater vein pressure going downwards. This could make it harder for the veins to pump blood back towards your heart.

Further Research

One gene is commonly linked to varicose veins. The CASZ1 gene is important for blood vessel development. This makes sense when you consider how varicose veins develop. Varicose veins are known as 'chronic venous insufficiency' in the medical community. In this condition, your veins stop pumping blood properly. Blood pools up inside blood vessels, making them bigger or dilated. If your blood vessels don't develop properly, you might be at greater risk of developing varicose veins. If you're concerned about developing varicose veins, you should examine your family history. You should also consult with an experienced vein specialist about all your options.

Other Risk Factors

Gender

There are many other heritable risk factors for developing this condition. Women who experience pregnancy are at a higher risk for developing varicose veins. The developing baby can add pressure to the mother's veins. But the varicose veins that develop during pregnancy typically disappear after a few months of giving birth. Women's hormones also play a role in varicose vein development. Some of these hormones are produced in higher concentrations during pregnancy and when taking birth control. 

Your Age

Varicose veins can occur in people of all different ages. But they are especially common in those over the age of fifty. Some estimates note that about half of people over the age of fifty have varicose veins. But why is this? As we age, our veins experience natural wear and tear. This can make it harder for our veins to circulate blood throughout our body. When your blood collects in certain areas, your veins can become enlarged and progress into varicose veins. These might also be surrounded by spider veins. These superficial veins show up right below the skin and have the appearance of a spider's web.

Weight

When you put on extra weight, you are at increased risk for many conditions. But did you know that varicose veins are among these? Excess weight puts added pressure on your veins. And if you don't have enough muscle mass, your veins won't get the support you need. Being heavier also makes it hard to see your varicose veins. This can delay the time it takes to get to a vein specialist. There are certain lifestyle changes that you can make to counteract varicose veins. Let's look at this in greater depth now!

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Vein Health Options

There are many ways you can improve circulation in your body. This can help reduce your risk of developing varicose veins. If other members of your family deal with this condition, you should consider making a few adjustments to your lifestyle.

A few ways you can do this include:

  • Wearing compression stockings during the day
  • Elevating your feet a few times each day
  • Moving about regularly, especially if you have a desk job

Exercise is very important for improving circulation. When you exercise, blood flows throughout your body more rapidly. If you're at risk of varicose veins, try incorporating moderate exercise into your routine a few times each week. No need to sign up for a triathlon, though! A short walk can go a long way in strengthening your legs and reducing your chance of varicose veins. Regular exercise can also help you keep your weight at a healthy level. This makes it easier to detect varicose veins as soon as they appear. Of course, what is exercise without a good diet? For people with a family history of varicose veins, diet is crucial. Many doctors recommend reducing your salt intake. You should also steer clear of processed foods, which can lead to weight gain and chronic inflammation.

Wear the Right Clothes

In addition to compression stockings, there are some wardrobe changes that you should implement if you're worried about varicose veins. Tight-fitting clothes can reduce your blood circulation. Try to wear clothing that isn't too tight around your waist or legs. High heels can also increase your chance of developing varicose veins. When you wear high heels, your calf muscles are compressed. This restricts the blood flow throughout your legs.  Try to stick with flats or lower heels. Stilettos might be a great choice on occasion, but wearing heels every day is not good for circulation.

Medical Treatment Options

Prevention is always the best medicine! But if you do wind up developing varicose veins, there are plenty of treatment options available today. Modern medicine offers minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins. From sclerotherapy to radiofrequency ablation, Metro Vein offers tailored treatment programs for a wide range of clients.

Are you worried that you might be at risk for developing varicose veins? Then talk to a specialized vein doctor today. Varicose veins can be uncomfortable. They might even make you feel self-conscious. But many people have dealt with this condition across the centuries. Modern-day treatment options can help you deal with varicose veins as soon as they develop.

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Find Your Vein Specialist Today

If you're worried about developing varicose veins, you're not alone! Many people struggle with this condition at some point in their lives. At Metro Vein, we are committed to helping all of our clients achieve their wellness goals. Whether it's prevention or treatment, Metro Vein has something for you.

Want to learn more? Then reach out to one of our many locations today. We can't wait for you to join our growing community!