Are You Destined To Have Varicose Veins If You Have Family History Of Them?
It may surprise you to know that up to 40% of the American population has varicose or spider veins to some degree. Varicose veins affect both men and women, although women are at a higher risk of developing them due to hormonal differences and child bearing.
Obesity and occupations that require you to be either on your feet or to sit for long periods of time may also increase your risk of developing the condition— but ultimately, you can blame your family history if you have varicose veins.
If either of your biological parents have varicose or spider veins, you have a 50% chance of developing varicose veins, spider veins or both. And if both of your parents have varicose veins, your risk increases to about 80%. In fact, only about 15% of patients will have no known family history of varicose veins.
Although varicose veins aren’t life-threatening, (though in some patients varicose veins left untreated may progress to become a more serious medical condition), many people nevertheless eventually avoid activities they once enjoyed. This may be because their legs feel too swollen or painful, or because they’re embarrassed by how their legs look if they’re exposed during an activity, such as swimming, for example.
So, does that mean you are destined to have unsightly, painful varicose veins if you have a family history of the disease? And does this mean you will ultimately lose out on participating in activities you enjoy because of how your legs look or feel?
The answer is that although there’s not much you can do about your family history, if you know you have a genetic disposition to develop varicose veins there are proactive things you can do to keep varicose veins from getting worse, or from impacting your daily activities.
Here are 4 practices to promote healthy veins, which will help your legs look and feel as good as possible:
- Alternate sitting & standing. If your daily routine requires you to sit or stand for extended periods of time, this can cause undue pressure in the veins of the legs over time, which can make varicose veins worse. If you must sit or stand for hours at a time, try to alternate positions and take a break every hour to walk around if you’ve been sitting, or to sit if you’ve been standing.
- Try to elevate your feet and legs if you are relaxing by sitting on a couch or bed. Elevating your feet and legs above your chest level improves circulation by allowing blood to return more easily towards your heart. Try propping your legs and feet above heart level for 10-20 minutes, particularly at the end of the day when swelling and other varicose vein symptoms tend to be worse.
- Exercise. Regular physical activity like walking, biking, hiking, and swimming benefits your veins in 2 ways. First, maintaining a healthy weight lessens the pressure on your veins, and second, exercise increases blood flow and improves your circulatory health, which is important for healthy veins.
- Be proactive & don’t put off treatment. Varicose veins are a chronic and progressive disease, which means they will not get better or go away on their own. You may be able to alleviate symptoms for some time with the above steps, but if you’re noticing leg pain, swelling, aching, heaviness, or restless legs, it’s time to be proactive about getting rid of your varicose veins before symptoms become worse.
Take heart in knowing that treatments of varicose veins are quicker and easier than they’ve ever been—with most procedures performed in an hour with little to know down time—and are typically covered by insurance.
Dr. Douglass and the staff at East Tennessee Vein Clinic are solely dedicated to the treatment of varicose veins, and lead the region in experience and expertise of vein treatments. We treat veins differently than other clinics because of our comprehensive attention to treating the root cause and full extent of each patient’s vein disease. Comprehensive vein treatment is all we do, every day, all day, since 2001. You’ll notice a different level of care when an entire practice revolves around one thing—helping patients be free from the discomfort of varicose veins.
Consult with us for varicose veins in February to receive a complimentary first spider vein treatment in 2020 upon completion of varicose vein treatment through February.