New research suggests that simple genetics may explain why some people get varicose veins, the unsightly, painful bulges that appear on the legs when blood pools in the veins.
Researchers based in Scotland report that people whose mother, father, brother or sister has varicose veins are more likely than those with no family history to develop the condition. I
n contrast with previous research, the investigators did not discover any relationship between varicose vein risk and certain lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking and mobility at work.
Varicose veins also occurred more commonly among men, a finding that contradicts previous research showing varicose veins appear more commonly in women.
Men and women who were relatively tall and women who were obese were also more likely to show signs of varicose veins than others.
These findings arise from surveys of 1,566 people aged 18 to 64 visiting doctors in Edinburgh. As part of the questionnaires, study participants provided information about smoking, diet, bowel movements, personal and occupational factors and family history of varicose veins. The researchers also examined each person, recording height, weight, and whether they had any varicose veins.
The research team diagnosed varicose veins in 40% of men and 32% of women, suggesting the condition occurs slightly more often in men than in women. It's not clear why varicose veins were found more often in men than women in this study, while other research has shown the exact opposite.
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