Do you have a close relative who suffers from varicose or spider veins? If so, you may have many questions. For example, are varicose veins hereditary? And are spider veins genetic? The answer to both inquiries is yes, varicose and spider veins tend to run in families.
If you are concerned about developing venous issues, our vein specialists are available to discuss your family history in detail. During your consultation, we can also review other risk factors and make individualized treatment recommendations as needed.
What Is Vein Disease?
Varicose and spider veins are signs of underlying vein disease, or venous insufficiency. Vein disease develops when tiny, one-way vein valves –– responsible for pumping blood back to your heart –– are placed under strain. When this occurs, your valves may malfunction and cause blood to flow backward instead. This can lead to blood pooling in various regions, which tends to lead to varicose and spider veins. Most often, the legs, ankles, and feet are affected.
Individuals with vein disease often experience painful and uncomfortable symptoms. Symptoms of venous insufficiency include:
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Leg pain that feels better when you walk or raise your legs
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Non-healing wounds on your legs
- Difficulty standing for long periods
While vein disease is not always considered dangerous in itself, it can lead to serious health conditions when left untreated. Potential complications can include the development of life-threatening blood clots and venous ulcers (open, non-healing wounds).
When it comes to avoiding problems with your veins, it is important to understand your risk factors. With this information, you may be able to make lifestyle modifications that can alleviate strain on your veins. When this isn’t an option, you may wish to explore your spider and varicose vein treatment options.
What Causes Vein Disease?
While varicose and spider veins are caused by venous insufficiency, a number of risk factors can lead to this underlying condition.
Genetics: Is venous insufficiency hereditary? Yes, if you have a parent or close relative with varicose veins, you are more likely to develop them. If both of your parents have varicose veins, your risk further increases.
Age: As you get older, you have a greater risk for developing malfunctioning veins. While venous issues are more likely to appear after age 50, younger people can also be affected.
Sex: Women are four times more likely than men to develop varicose veins. Pregnancy plays a role in this inequality.
Pregnancy: Due to increased blood flow and hormonal influx, pregnant women are more likely than others to be affected. They are also more likely to experience varicose veins in the pelvic region, along with the lower extremities.
Prolonged sitting or standing: If you have a job where you are on your feet or sitting down throughout the day, you are at higher risk for developing vein disease.
Obesity: Excess weight puts additional strain on your veins and causes damage. If you are obese or overweight, you are more likely to experience pain and discomfort from varicose veins.
Inactivity: Lack of physical activity affects overall blood circulation and can lead to diseased veins.
Smoking: Along with contributing to other major medical issues, this unhealthy habit can weaken veins and reduce blood flow.
Other underlying health conditions: Poorly managed health issues like high blood pressure and diabetes can result in strained vein valves. This can result in the formation of varicose veins.
Are Varicose Veins Genetic?
Yes, the development of varicose veins appears to have a strong genetic component. While you are not able to control your genes, you can control certain lifestyle influences. To reduce your odds of developing venous insufficiency, we recommend that you:
- Avoid prolonged sitting or standing
- Move around frequently throughout the day
- Exercise regularly
- Lose excess weight
- Quit smoking
- Control other underlying health conditions when possible
- Consider wearing compression socks
- Visit a vein specialist regularly
Is Deep Vein Thrombosis Genetic?
Deep Vein Thrombosis is a serious type of blood clot that develops in the deep veins. If left untreated, DVT can break off and travel to the lungs. This can lead to Pulmonary Embolism, a life-threatening, emergency situation.
Although not the only cause, genetics may play a role in the development of DVT. If you have venous insufficiency, you are considered at increased risk for DVT. Alternatively, if you’ve experienced DVT, you may be more likely to develop vein disease. Other factors that increase your likelihood of DVT include obesity, inactivity, smoking, trauma to a vein, and cancer.
Varicose and Spider Vein Treatment at USA Vein Clinics
If you are wondering when to get your varicose veins treated, we recommend acting sooner rather than later. Early intervention typically leads to the best health outcomes. If pain and discomfort are impacting your daily activities, help is widely available.
If varicose veins run in your family, we suggest seeing a vein specialist before you develop problems. It may feel challenging to experience health conditions that seem out of your control. Unfortunately, lifestyle adjustments aren’t always enough to overcome your genetics.
At USA Vein Clinics, we offer a range of minimally-invasive, outpatient treatments that can quickly improve your painful, swollen veins. Our vein experts are available to treat your vein disease and help you regain control of your life. Schedule an appointment online today!