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What is the cause of varicose veins?

by – February 21, 2013

An online question from Jane in Devon asks, “What causes varicose veins? In particular, will I get them from my mother who has severe varicose veins?”

Well, varicose veins are caused when the valves in the veins don’t work which causes the veins to either bulge and become varicose or become inflamed causing leg ulcers, venous eczema, etc.

What causes the valve failure? This is the real question.

The only thing we really know that does cause this is hereditary. So yes, you probably would get them from a combination of your mother’s genes and your father’s genes and if your mother has bad varicose veins then indeed her genes are probably dominant in you. Of course it can’t just be genetic otherwise all of your veins would be varicose in both legs and we rarely see that, so there are other factors but we really don’t know what they are – yet.

Things such as smoking and exercise, although it is best not to smoke and very good to take exercise, seem to have no real affect on varicose veins. They have much more to do with the arterial side of the circulation.

So when it comes to varicose veins, the only thing that really does seem to cause varicose veins is hereditary.

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