Varicose veins and venous insufficiency are often due to more than one risk factor. If you have every wondered “why me?”, here are factors that contribute to process:
1. Family History
An important factor—venous insufficiency tends to run in families. This is likely related to some weakness of the vein walls or valves.
Pregnancy is often a triggering event for varicose veins—a combination of increase vascular volumes,increased central venous pressure from the weight of the uterus pressing on the central veins, and generalized increased tendency to clot can cause the first failure of the valves that progresses over the years to come.
3. A prior episode of vein clotting–DVT
This can damage valves, and can also set in motion a long-term cycle of valve dysfunction that produces increasingly severe venous disease over time.
4. Increasing Age
The risk of varicose veins increases with age. Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in your veins that help regulate blood flow. Eventually, that wear causes the valves to allow some backward blood to flow in your leg veins where it collects instead of flowing up to your heart.
Being overweight puts added pressure on your leg veins. Similar to pregnancy, the central veins of the abdomen and pelvis can be become restricted and malfunction over time.
6. Standing or Sitting for long periods of time
Your blood doesn’t flow as well when you’re in the same position for long periods of time. Walking or running causes your calves to squeeze the veins and force blood to flow in the correct direction.
Women are more likely to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, pre-menstruation or menopause may be a factor. Female hormones tend to relax vein walls. Taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills may also increase your risk of varicose veins. Though no single factor can be directly attributed to this gender predilection, there is certainly a statistical difference between men and women.