One of the most common questions vein specialists get asked is, “How can I prevent getting new or more varicose veins in my legs?” In many cases, the answer can be very simple: Pick your parents wisely.
Enlarged and ropelike varicose veins are only seen in the legs and are common in both men and women. While there are many factors that can play into the risk for varicose veins, a history of vein problems in the family can be attributed to about half those people who develop them. Although it may sometimes skip a generation entirely, venous problems or varicosity in the family tends to be the largest contributing reason why an individual would develop varicose veins themselves. The family history might just be simple uncomplicated veins, or more advanced conditions such as leg ulcers, ankle discoloration, swelling or even blood clots originating from the legs. Dr. Schulman even likes to joke with female patients, that veins are the ideal family guilt disease. “You can get the genes from your parents and your pregnancies can make the veins appear, so you get to blame everybody!”
Yes, pregnancy can trigger the onset of varicose veins or even worsen them. This seems to be even more pronounced if a woman has had twins or multiple pregnancies. With each pregnancy, a woman is a bit older and dealing with another period of increased pressure on the legs, as well as elevated hormone levels and blood volume. As you can imagine, carrying more than one baby can be even harder on the leg veins. So, as luck would have it, even those precious little family members yet to arrive in this world can play a part in the onset of varicose veins.
As we are now between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we hope you all can be thankful to your parents for all they have done for and given you—even if it includes setting you on a course towards veiny legs.