Risk Factors for Varicose Veins

As a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Marvin Derrick routinely performs corrective surgery on patients with peripheral vascular disease. Dr. Marvin Derrick maintains a busy varicose vein treatment practice at Decatur Memorial Hospital, where he focuses on the use of minimally invasive interventions.

A common vascular issue that affects 30 to 60 percent of adults, varicose veins are more common in certain populations than others. They affect women two to three times as often as men, due to both the strong presence of the hormone progesterone in females, and the stress to the lower extremities caused by pregnancy. Age also plays a role. Most varicose veins appear when a person is between 30 and 70 years old. The walls of the veins weaken during this period, allowing veins to stretch if they are disposed to do so.

In addition, there is a genetic factor to varicose veins, although the particular link is unknown; at this time, all that scientists know is that a family history of the condition puts a person at greater risk. Lifestyle factors are also influential, with those who stand or sit for long periods of time, putting more pressure on their veins, at greater risk.

Lastly, obesity is known to have a causal role. This is because excess weight makes the veins work harder, increasing the pressure in them and weakening the valves that prevent blood from pooling.

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