Are You at Risk for Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are a fairly common occurrence in adults over the age of 60, affecting more than 70 percent of women and 40 percent of men by this age. While the development of varicose veins at some point in your life may seem inevitable, there are certain risks that make you more likely than others to develop these bulging, twisting lines. By understanding your risk factors, you can take positive steps to reduce the occurrence of varicose veins – or at least ward them off for as long as possible.
The Family Link
The highest risk factor for varicose veins is a family history of the condition. In fact, 50 percent of diagnosed cases of varicose veins involve heredity. If both your parents have the condition, your chance of developing varicose veins may be as high as 90 percent. It is thought there is a genetic tendency to weakening of veins that can lead to pooling of blood and varicosity, particularly in the veins of the lower leg.
Other Risk Factors
In addition to family history, there are other factors that can increase your odds of developing varicose veins at some point in your life:
Gender – Women are twice as likely to develop varicose veins as men
Age – The incidence of varicose veins doubles between the ages of 40 and 70
Sedentary Lifestyle - Lack of exercise leaves veins vulnerable to damage over time
Obesity – Weight gain increases stress on the veins of the lower legs
Hormone Changes – Varicose veins frequently develop during pregnancy and menopause
Prolonged Periods of Standing – Professions that require long periods of standing, such as waiting tables, nursing or teaching, tend to see a higher incidence of varicose veins
Risk factors do not mean you will definitely develop varicose veins. However, one or more of these characteristics can increase the likelihood of varicose veins in your future. The good news is there are also easy steps you can take to reduce those risks somewhat.
Reducing Your Risk
While there is no way to completely eliminate your possibility of developing varicose veins, some simple steps may reduce your risk. These steps may also help to minimize symptoms of varicose veins that have already appeared:
- Elevate your legs for a period of time at the end of each day
- Get daily physical activity to keep your legs strong and healthy
- Lose extra pounds if you are overweight
- Avoid tight clothing that can restrict blood flow and place pressure on the veins
- Do not wear high heels every day; alternate with low heels to give
- your lower legs a break
If varicose veins do develop, there are many minimally-invasive ways to eliminate those unattractive and often uncomfortable veins today. To learn more about your options in varicose vein treatment, contact Center for Vein Restoration.