One of your parents has varicose veins but does this mean you will inherit it?
Most cardiovascular conditions have a genetic predisposition but are hereditary factors alone sufficient to cause disease manifestation?
Research scientists have proven that varicose veins have a strong hereditary aspect, but other factors affect the expression of the vascular disorder.
This article discusses what you should know about hereditary varicose veins and explores some other non-genetic causative factors.
Hereditary factors in varicose veins
Primary or inherited varicose veins (those without specific risk factors) appear at an early age. They are common in individuals with first-degree relatives who have varicose veins. If both of your parents have varicose veins, your chances of developing them are higher. Both sexes are prone to developing primary varicose veins, but they appear earlier in females.
How do hereditary varicose veins develop?
Firstly, varicose veins occur due to increased pressure in the leg veins caused by damaged or weak venous valves. However, Individuals with primary varicose veins have a mutated gene or inherit genes that cause weak smooth muscles in the vascular wall. Consequently, the veins dilate, which leads to blood stagnation that raises the venous pressure responsible for the enlarged and twisted veins.
Studies have shown that environmental risk factors also determine the manifestation of varicose veins.
Non-hereditary causes of varicose veins
Non-hereditary causes of varicose veins are conditions that increase the pressure in your leg veins or relax the smooth muscles in the vascular wall.
Here are some common ones:
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women have varicose veins because the head of the fetus compresses the large vein on the right side of your body and causes elevated pressure in the leg veins. In most cases, these varicose veins disappear after delivery.
- Jobs that need you to sit or stand up for protracted hours.
- Overweight: Being overweight raises the pressure in the leg veins.
- Hormonal changes in females relax their vascular wall, which increases their risk, unlike males.
How do you prevent hereditary varicose veins from worsening?
One easy, but overall impractical, way to prevent primary varicose veins from worsening is to abstain from prolonged sitting or standing.
Here are other strategies you can implement:
- Wear elastic compression stockings, especially when exercising or engaging in any high-impact physical activity.
- Carry out mild physical activities like walking to activate the calf muscle pump. The calf muscles compress the leg veins, which improves venous return during exercises.
- Elevate your legs if your work requires you to sit for long periods.
- Adopt healthy eating habits and lifestyle to prevent weight gain.
How do you treat hereditary varicose veins?
Inherited varicose may not require prompt treatment if there are no warning signs such as warmth, swelling, and pain in your leg.
In symptomatic cases, varicose vein treatment is easily and safely provided in the office of a certified vein specialist.
Here are a few treatment options for hereditary varicose veins:
- Thermal Ablation: Use of heat from special lasers to close varicose veins.
- Chemical Ablation or Sclerotherapy: Involves injecting chemicals into the veins to seal them up. There are many varieties of chemical ablation.
- Graduated Compression Stockings: These are used to compress the leg veins to increase venous return, thereby reducing stagnation of venous blood flow.
Do you need treatment for varicose veins?
At Virginia Vein Care, our vein specialists will conduct a thorough clinical examination and counsel you on the ideal therapy.
To get your varicose veins treated, schedule an appointment with a Virginia Vein Care location close to you today.