Factors that can increase your risk of developing varicose veins or venous disease include:
- Venous disease becomes a more common occurrence as we age. Almost one in every two persons over the age of 50 is affected by this condition. As we age, our veins will lose part of their elasticity, which causes the valves inside them to malfunction and progress the disease process further.
- This condition is very common and frequently misdiagnosed. It affects nearly 15% of men and 25% of women. Research suggests that women are more often affected due to female hormones promoting relaxation of the vein walls, which makes the valves more susceptible to insufficiency.
- If either of your parents have suffered from venous disease, there is roughly a 60% chance you will develop it too. If both your mother and father were affected, your risk rises to an 89% chance of developing venous disease.
- Being severely overweight can increase the pressure on your veins, making them work harder in order to recirculate blood back up to heart. This process can add pressure to the valves, making them more prone to reflux.
- A woman’s body contains an increased amount of blood when pregnant to support her growing baby, but this can put an extra strain on her circulatory system. Additionally, research has shown that the raised hormone levels experienced by pregnant women can cause the blood vessels to relax, making the valves prone to reflux. Additional pressure on the vessels in the pelvic region, due to a growing uterus (womb), can also lead to varicose veins.
- Research suggests that having a job that requires long periods of standing might increase your risk for varicose veins. Standing for long periods of time can make it much more difficult for your body to recirculate blood from the extremities to the heart due to the increased force of gravity.