Venous insufficiency is a condition that can happen to anyone. However, there are a number
of factors that can increase your risk for developing the condition. By understanding the risk
factors, you can take steps to prevent the formation of varicose veins, or seek treatment right
away if symptoms of varicose veins and venous insufficiency appear.
Risk factors for varicose veins and venous insufficiency include:
Age – The aging process can contribute to the development of varicose veins. Older veins
begin to lose their elasticity, which can put more pressure in the inner valves to move the
blood through efficiently. The majority of patients diagnosed with venous insufficiency and
varicose veins are over the age of 50.
Sex – Women are more likely to be diagnosed with varicose veins than men. A
contributing factor to this statistic could be hormones that fluctuate throughout a woman’s
life, which could affect the elasticity of vein walls over time.
Pregnancy – Varicose veins are more likely to occur after pregnancy. During these nine
months, blood supply increases in a woman’s body to support the growing fetus. However,
the additional blood flow can also put increased pressure on the veins, leading to damaged
valves and venous reflux. Extra weight and an expanding belly during the second half of
pregnancy can also add to the venous pressure, making varicose veins even more likely.
Heredity – You are more likely to develop varicose veins and venous insufficiency if you
have a family member who has the condition. This is particularly true if that family member
was an immediate family member like your mother or older sister.
Obesity – Additional weight also puts additional pressure on the lower limbs, making it
that much harder for veins to pump blood back up to the heart. Obesity can also indicate a
sedentary lifestyle, which increases the risk for varicose veins. Physical exercise works the
muscles in the lower leg, which help the veins to pump blood against gravity to the heart.
Occupation or Lifestyle – If you work in a job or engage in regular activities that involve
prolonged periods of standing, you are more likely to develop varicose veins and venous
insufficiency. When the legs are upright for long periods of time, it puts more pressure on the
lower veins, which can lead to reduced elasticity of the vein walls and damaged valves.
Trauma – Serious injuries to the leg, such as a fractured bone or joint sprain, won’t cause a
vein condition, but they can make a present condition worse. This is why patients may first
see the visible symptoms of a vein condition after suffering an injury.
Blood Clots – Formation of blood clots increases pressure in the veins, which may lead to
varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency. Even if the blood clots resolve on their own,
vein conditions may persist. If you have a history of blood clots, you may be at higher risk for
developing venous insufficiency and varicose veins.
While risk factors don’t necessarily mean you will develop a vein condition, they
can significantly raise the likelihood that you will deal with varicose veins or venous
insufficiency in the future. If you know you have one or more of these risk factors, it is a
good idea to monitor your lower legs for signs of venous insufficiency.
If you have vein condition related questions our happy and informed staff can answer them. Our Springfield, MA office can be reached by phone at (413) 732-4242. Emails can be sent to us here and we will do our best to respond as soon as we are able.