Who Is at Risk for Varicose Veins?

Modern estimates indicate approximately 70% of the general population will experience some degree of vein disorder during their lifetime.  Of these, approximately 40% may be symptomatic and the rest unsightly but not necessarily uncomfortable.  There are a number of risk factors for vein problems applicable to the general population:

Genetics — a strong family history of vein problems is the largest single contributor to an individual’s risk for varicose veins

Occupation — jobs that require prolonged standing or sitting without much intervening activity promote pooling of blood in the legs.  Cashiers, hair stylists, casino dealers, teachers, nurses, etc., are prime candidates with this risk factor.

Pregnancy — this is the single largest physical strain on leg veins, not only because of pressure from the enlarging womb on pelvic veins but also because of hormones from early in the pregnancy promoting dilation of blood vessels

Injury — focal bruising from minor blunt trauma can be the source of spider clusters as ruptured veins heal with weak areas in their walls, but more extensive injuries requiring casts or splints, extended immobility or abnormal strain to perform normal physical functions also are detrimental to the peripheral veins.

Age — like almost everything else in the body, simple aging makes the veins more prone to dysfunction.

With any one or a combination of these factors acting as a possible cause for vein disease, it is not surprising that such a large percentage of the population can be considered at risk.


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