Are Varicose Veins Hereditary?
A family history of varicose veins increases your risk of developing them, but with the right lifestyle changes, it’s possible to prevent them.
Like many medical conditions, varicose veins are influenced by your family history. If you have one parent with varicose veins, your chances of getting them go up by 40%. If both your parents have had varicose veins, those odds increase by 90%.
Those numbers sound daunting at first, but your genes will never guarantee that you’ll get varicose veins. It’s clear that heredity plays some role in their onset and progression, but by taking simple, proactive steps, you can dramatically reduce your risk.
We can’t yet tie venous insufficiency, the underlying cause of varicose veins, to any particular gene. However, research suggests that varicose veins may be cause by inherited flaws in the structure or strength of the veins. These flaws can range from faulty venous valves to defective venous walls, both of which cause veins to struggle to pump properly.
Recent studies have identified certain genes as possible contributors to varicose veins, if not direct causes of them. A 2005 report found that a single mutation in the FOX C2 gene might determine whether a person suffers from varicose veins, while research published in Vein Magazine concluded that “varicose veins have a proven genetic etiology” after sequencing various genomes.
Keys to Prevention
It’s important to remember that a family history of varicose veins doesn’t meant that you’ll necessarily get them too. In fact, most people with a hereditary predisposition can avoid varicose veins altogether by practicing some preventative care.
The simplest step that any person can take to mitigate their risk of varicose veins is to improve their circulation. Frequent walks, regular exercise, and a balanced diet can all promote effective blood flow in your veins.
Other lifestyle adjustments can have a similarly significant effect on your veins. Since obesity can weaken the veins in your legs, maintaining a healthy weight can ensure that the veins in your lower body aren’t overburdened. Similarly, stopping smoking and reducing alcohol consumption will eliminate major contributors to the development of varicose veins.
Whether you currently have varicose veins or simply want to reduce your risk, a qualified vein specialist can help you find lasting relief. Schedule an appointment with a local provider today to explore your treatment options.