Over half of the adult population in the United States has some type of vein disease, but only 20-25% of American women and 10-15% of American men have visible varicose veins. This condition often appears to run in families, but familial connection isn’t the only factor that contributes to varicose veins developing.
At Bloomfield Vein & Vascular in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Dr. Diego Hernandez, a Board Certified Vascular Surgeon, and his highly trained medical staff can provide safe, minimally invasive solutions for varicose veins and help prevent the complications that are associated with these veins. But where do varicose veins come from?
Anatomy of varicose veins
Varicose veins are highly visible blue or purple veins that stand out from the skin, most commonly on the lower legs. This happens when one-way valves in your legs that control the flow of blood become weak, allowing blood to flow backward and pool up. The excess blood causes the veins to stretch and twist, making them bulge out and become colorfully visible.
Risk factors for varicose veins
There are many risk factors for varicose veins, including:
- Age: Older people are more likely to get varicose veins
- Sex: Women are more likely than men to get varicose veins
- Occupation: People who stand or sit a lot for their job have increased risk
- Weight: People who are overweight or obese have increased risk
- Pregnancy: Women who have been pregnant are at increased risk
In addition to these factors, there appears to be a strong genetic component to who gets varicose veins. It is common to see the presence of varicose veins when a parent, or even a grandparent, had varicose veins as well. Our experience has shown that when fathers have varicose veins, these often tend to be seen in their daughters as well. And of course, we see that if mom had varicose veins, her children often get them as well. Sometimes, varicose veins “jump” one generation, showing up in the grandchildren of affected grandparents, but sparing the parents. If both of your parents had varicose veins, your likelihood of developing varicose veins increases.
Another study identified a specific hereditary gene (FoxC2) that appears to be linked to chronic venous disease and vein valve failure in the lower legs. However, this gene is not always present in patients and there are likely a number of other genes that play a role. We have yet to identify all of the genetic factors that contribute to the development of varicose veins.
Since we are unable to choose our parents, there are strategies that we can use to help minimize the potential complications associated with varicose veins. The development of varicose veins appears to be related to anatomical problems, and although we can modify our life somewhat to reduce the likelihood of developing varicose veins, it is unlikely that anything can prevent these veins from appearing if we are meant to develop them.
With this in mind, it is important that you become educated in what you can do to lessen your risk of complications. Obtaining advice from a Board Certified Vascular Surgeon will go a long way in helping you understand what this condition involves and how you can manage it.
Treatment for varicose veins
Once you develop varicose veins, it is essential that you understand your options. For most people, varicose veins can lead to heaviness, achiness, tiredness of the legs, and often they can cause restlessness as well. In a few patients, varicose veins can cause bleeding or inflammation, which can lead to a superficial clot or SVT. Unlike a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), SVTs are not dangerous, but they do require adequate diagnosis and management.
Although some studies suggest that having varicose veins increases your risk of developing a DVT, we believe that it is the underlying anatomy and function of the venous system that increases this risk. That is why it is important to seek the opinion of a Board Certified Vascular Surgeon in this regard, as this will allow you to understand your risk and establish ways to minimize such risk.
At Bloomfield Vein & Vascular, our vein specialists can treat your varicose veins with the most up to date minimally invasive methods available. There are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration when choosing what is the best option for you. At BVV, we can perform a thorough evaluation of your condition and advise you as to what we believe would be the best option for you. We specialize in getting to the root cause of your condition and treating it properly. That is what sets us apart from other “vein centers.”
If your varicose veins are unsightly, swollen, hot, or painful, it might be time to do something about them. Call our office at 248-218-0278 to make an appointment with Dr. Hernandez, or book your consultation online using our scheduling tool.