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How do varicose veins begin?

I am worried that I am going to get varicose veins when I am older, and I frequently check my body for them. My veins are pretty visible overall, but they do not seem varicose to me. Are they more prone to become varicose later? How do varicose veins begin? Can you have varicose veins that cannot be seen?

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Doctors Answers (4)

Varicose veins have a number of potential causes with 50 percent being genetic factors and the other 50 percent due to factors that include pregnancy, prolonged standing, wearing high heeled shoes, leg traumas, and other smaller factors. Having smaller visible blue reticular veins and fair skin is not by itself a risk factor, but more of a family trait. To help reduce your long term risk, consider increasing aerobic activities such as walking, wear compression hose during pregnancies, and consider wearing hose if you have a job requiring prolonged standing, such as a teacher or nurse.

The first reason you MAY develop varicose veins is heredity. In most people you will find a parent, aunt or grandparent with varicose and/or spider veins. Women may first notice changes during pregnancy, but we do see young men and women with them. Normal veins can be visible through the skin and this does not mean they will become varicose veins. People who are lean and muscular may have more obvious veins than someone who has a layer of body fat in the skin and surrounding tissues.

Varicose veins are mostly associated with occupation (prolonged standing) and inherited traits, complicated by excess weight. The best way to minimize varix formation is to wear compression socks while standing, walk/exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.

Varicose veins usually develop due to a genetic weakness in the walls of the veins. Do not stress yourself over the chance that you will develop varicose veins. Most of us will develop some eventually as we get older. Manage your weight to keep a normal body weight, avoid unnecessary prolonged sitting and standing, engage in moderate exercise frequently, elevate your legs higher than your heart periodically, especially during long days on your feet. Learn to wear support hose frequently and get your varicose veins treated when they start causing increasing pain, tenderness, swelling or abnormal changes in the overlying skin.

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