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Varicose Veins

What Are the Risk Factors for Varicose Veins?

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 13:11

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Several factors may accelerate, if not cause, the development of varicose veins.

  • Heredity- People with a family history of varicose veins are at greater risk of developing the condition.
  • Gender- Women are at greater risk than men, probably because the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone cause blood vessels to relax, thus separating the valves so that they don't meet to block the back flow of blood.
  • Pregnancy- The circulatory changes of pregnancy that are designed to support the growing fetus also increase risk. Varicose veins may surface for the first time or may worsen during late pregnancy, when the uterus exerts greater pressure on the veins in the legs.
  • Obesity- Excess weight puts pressure on surface veins, causing them to weaken.
  • Standing and sitting- People who have jobs that require them to stand or sit for long periods also are at increased risk. Prolonged standing can weaken the walls of veins, and sitting can aggravate inflamed veins.

Need To Know:

Birth-control pills, estrogen treatments, and pregnancy raise a woman's level of sex hormones, putting her at greater risk of developing varicose veins.

Varicose Veins