Are Varicose Veins Hereditary?

A Closer Look at What Really Could be the Cause

Sometimes simple characteristics of our families genetics are the cause of varicose veins

We all know that something's in life we have control over and something's we simply don't. Varicose veins, just so it happens, can be one of few conditions that might have been handed down to you by heredity. If someone related to you suffers from varicose veins there is a strong chance you may suffer from this condition as well. If so, it is important to know about the health factors of varicose veins, and ways to overcome them.

Factors In Men and Women That May Cause Varicose Veins

It is important to note that a number of factors can lead to the development of varicose veins. According to Dr. Jacqueline Gerhart, a family physician at UW Health's DeForest-Windsor Clinic, 50 percent of people over the age of 50 in the United States suffer from varicose veins. It is also important to note that more women suffer from varicose veins than men. This difference may be caused by hormonal changes that women experience with menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. For both men and women obesity increases the risk of developing varicose veins. If you're one of many American's who sit or stand for long periods of time, your blood does not flow sufficiently through the extremities, and can be one of the factors leading to the development of this condition.

Importance of Hereditary Factors

Good to know: Heredity can pose as one of the main risk factors for developing varicose veins and can be responsible for 80 percent of varicose veins disease. This is due to both structural similarities in family members, as well as metabolic similarities.

Overcoming Hereditary Factors

One thing that can play a huge role in the prevention of varicose veins is maintaining a healthy weight. Weight problems can also have a hereditary component; so it is important to know that good weight management can reduce your risk of developing varicose veins. If your family has a history of this condition, it is recommended that a low-sodium diet will help prevent fluid retention that increases the risk of varicose veins. Regular exercise will help to increase blood flow to the legs and throughout the body to keep valves working properly. Try to avoid long periods of sitting or standing. If you must stand for long periods for your job, use your break period to move around and get your blood flowing freely. During rest periods, elevate the legs above the level of the heart. Wear compression stockings to keep blood flowing through the legs.

Maintaining General Health

If your family has a history of varicose vein problems, talk with your doctor or local vein specialist about what you can do to reduce your risk of developing this condition. Maintaining your overall health can go a long way toward avoiding minor problems like varicose veins and other vascular health conditions. Make sure to get annual physicals for early detection of heart, vascular and systemic problems like diabetes. Consult with your doctor on weight control and an appropriate exercise regime for your particular needs.