What are the Risk Factors for Developing Varicose Veins?

What are the Risk Factors for Developing Varicose VeinsVaricose veins are swollen, twisted veins that develop as a result of a malfunctioning valve within the vein. These one-way valves are responsible for pushing blood through the veins on its way back to the heart. When it malfunctions blood can clot or back up, causing the vein to bulge, twist and swell.

While a common form of venous disease, if left untreated varicose veins can impede healthy blood circulation and may lead to serious health consequences, such as a blood clot or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). There are certain life factors that may increase your risk for developing varicose veins.

These factors include:

  • Being over the age of 50
  • Being female
  • Working in an environment that calls for excessive standing or sitting
  • Frequent travel
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a medical history of venous disease
  • Hormonal changes, such as during puberty, menopause or andropause
  • Pregnancy

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services estimates that as many as half of all adults over the age of 50 will develop varicose veins. While that is a high percentage, understanding the risk factors and taking steps to reduce your risk can decrease your chances of developing varicose veins.

Determining Your Risk for Varicose Veins

While more common among older populations, varicose veins can affect anyone of any age. If you meet at least one of the factors listed above, then you may be at an increased risk for developing this condition.

One of the greatest risk factors for developing varicose veins is a family history of venous disease. If varicose veins are common in your family, then it may be especially important for you to take certain preventative measures, like exercising regularly and losing weight. Fighting heredity with healthy lifestyle habits is an uphill battle, but it is possible to reduce your likelihood of developing the condition—as well as reduce the severity to which the varicose veins may develop.

Talk to your vein care specialist about your risk for developing varicose veins. There are several treatments and preventative methods that you can try to reduce the appearance and minimize the discomfort associated with varicose veins.

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