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How does genetics affect the chances of getting varicose veins?

My dad has varicose veins, which are getting worse, but my mom does not have any. I exercise regularly and lead a much healthier lifestyle than my dad. Are varicose veins genetic, or will my lifestyle help me avoid getting varicose veins? Does it matter which parent has varicose veins?


Doctors Answers (4)

Genetic factors inherited from either of your parents can effect the likelihood of developing varicose veins by affecting the strength of your connective tissues, through healing and repair processes, and many other mechanisms not yet understood. Beyond your genetic makeup, environment factors (basic wear and tear) is also a major determinant in whether you develop problem veins. An active lifestyle with frequent walking and wearing flat bottom shoes with adequate cushion and good arch support will help avoid varicose veins. Your choice of a career is a major factor, as jobs that require prolonged standing in one area such as with teachers and nurses, will be much more likely to develop varicose veins. Wearing compression hose on your legs during work is recommended if you must stand frequently and for long periods of time. Still other factors such as the number of pregnancies will also increase varicose vein formation. Therefore, genetics will determine how easily varicose veins will develop, but lifestyle and career is just as important and something you can change.

Genetics is contributory, but good vein hygiene habits like yours mitigate the effects of inheritance. There is no one parent that affects it more than another.

Varicose veins are familial. However, if your father has them, it does not necessarily mean you will. Maybe you have your mother's genes? A healthy lifestyle has many benefits on your entire body and mind. If pre-disposed to developing varicose veins, it will not prevent them from occurring. In women, added stresses with hormonal changes, pregnancy, hormonal medications all can increase the risk of varicose veins developing. But again, typically, with a familial history as well. Either parent, grandparent, aunts, uncles can be an indication of how prevalent it is in your family. We have seen patients who have five siblings, only one or two with vein problems.

70 percent genetic if one parent has, and 90 percent-plus if both parents have them. Graded compression stockings at specific times, weight control and plenty of exercise. Most medical insurance covers symptomatic varicose vein treatments.

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