Who can get varicose veins?

Cheryl Hoffman, MD
Vascular & Interventional Radiology
Twenty-five percent of women and 15% of men will get varicose veins. Heredity is a major factor, and there is a 90% chance that a person will get varicose veins if both parents have reflux (backflow of blood in the veins). There is a 62% chance in females and a 25% chance in males if one parent has reflux and a 20% chance if neither parent has reflux. Pregnancy, menopause, obesity, aging, prolonged standing, leg injury and abdominal straining are all contributing factors. The incidence increases with age and is greater in women. Forty percent of women in their 50s suffer from some sort of venous disorder.
Many factors increase a person's chances of developing varicose or spider veins. These include:
Increasing Age Having family members with vein problems or being born with weak vein valves
Hormonal changes. These occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Taking birth control pills and other medicines containing estrogen and progesterone also increase the risk of varicose or spider veins
Pregnancy. During pregnancy there is a huge increase in the amount of blood in the body. This can cause veins to enlarge. The expanding uterus also puts pressure on the veins. Varicose veins usually improve within 3 months after delivery. A growing number of abnormal veins usually appear with each additional pregnancy
Obesity, leg injury, prolonged standing and other things that weaken vein valves
Sun exposure, which can cause spider veins on the cheeks or nose of a fair-skinned person
This answer is based on source information from The National Women's Health Information Center.
Varicose veins occur more frequently in women than in men. People who are overweight, who spend much of their day standing, and women who are pregnant are more likely to develop varicose veins. Age and heredity are also risk factors for developing varicose veins.

Continue Learning about Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Large twisted blue or purplish veins visible at the skins surface are known as varicose veins. Any vein in your body can become varicose but it usually occurs in the legs and feet due to the pressure the lower body endures to keep ...

your body upright. It is caused by the weakening of the valves and veins in your legs. Varicose veins are usually hereditary. We are also more prone to get varicose veins as we age. Symptoms include itching, burning, throbbing or cramping in the legs and around the veins. Self-care measures such as exercising, elevating your legs, and wearing compression stockings are used to ease the pain and prevent varicose veins from getting worse. If these measures dont work, see your doctor to discuss medical treatments that are available to close or remove varicose veins.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.