Varicose veins are a common issue. According to the American Heart Association, “Approximately 23% of US adults have varicose veins” Furthermore, “if spider telangiectasias and reticular veins are also considered, the prevalence increases to 80% of men and 85% of women.”
Still, while varicose and spider veins will be an issue for most people at some point in their lives, there are some factors that can lead one to developing varicose veins earlier than expected.
We are vein specialists based in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. We have worked with patients of all ages and backgrounds in our treatment, and through this work, we’ve identified several common patterns that can increase one’s likelihood of developing varicose veins.
In this article, we’re going to lay out who is most likely to develop varicose veins, how varicose veins can be avoided, and what one can do if they develop varicose veins.
Who has the highest chance of developing varicose veins?
As we previously mentioned, almost everyone will develop either varicose or spider veins at some point in their life.
However, there are some risk factors that make one more likely to develop varicose veins.
The first factor is biological sex. As evidenced by the data above, women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins.
This happens for a few reasons. First, women naturally produce both estrogen and progesterone. While these are essential for fertility, they can also cause the muscles controlling blood movement to relax, which can in turn lead to changes in blood flow. Occasionally, this can cause varicose veins to develop.
On the topic of fertility, pregnancy is another reason people develop varicose veins. The reason is simple: as the baby grows inside the body, the total amount of blood in the body increases. However, the veins in the are not used to this newfound blood, meaning that veins have to work overtime to pump it all through the body. This, in turn with the increase in hormones, can lead to varicose vein development.
Another factor outside of one’s control that can lead to varicose veins is age. Over time, it’s highly likely that your vein valves will begin to fail. This is simply a consequence of aging and is, in most cases, completely harmless. However, it does heighten the chances that one will form varicose veins.
Finally, family history can also increase one’s chances of developing varicose veins at some point in their life. Simply put, if people in your family have varicose veins, it puts one at a higher risk of developing varicose veins themselves.
Now, we turn to other, non-biological factors.
Obesity can cause varicose veins to develop. While obesity is occasionally tied to genetics, in many cases, it results from lack of exercise, poor diet, or some combination of the two. These elements in turn lead to weight gain, which puts added stress on veins. Vein valves can fail, blood can pool, and varicose veins can be formed.
There is some evidence that smoking can also increase one’s risk of varicose veins. Smoking briefly constricts the veins, and while these effects are temporary, there is evidence that they can lead to damage over time. Furthermore, other elements present in cigarette smoke, such as carbon monoxide and tar, can negatively impact vein health.
Lastly, inactivity, such as standing or sitting for long periods of time, can lead to varicose veins. Exercise gets blood pumping, keeping your veins active and working to prevent varicose veins from forming.
How do I prevent varicose veins?
The best way to prevent varicose veins is living a healthy lifestyle.
Exercising, eating well, and generally taking care of yourself is an optimal way for ensuring that your risk of developing varicose veins is lessened.
However, once you develop varicose veins, the only way for them to go away for good is treatment.
How do I get rid of my varicose veins?
There are many treatment options available today for varicose veins. What used to be a long, painful process is now quick and easy. In fact, a majority of our patients are able to return to work or their everyday lives on the very same day!
If you are interested in pursuing vein treatment, reach out to us today. We’ll discuss your issues and find the perfect solution to your varicose vein issues.