Capitol Vein Blog

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Varicose Veins: The Role Heredity Plays

As a vascular surgeon, my goals are to treat venous disease and ensure my patients are well-informed of their condition and their options. It's encouraging when other physicians draw attention to venous disease and its risk factors. I recently read an interesting update about the causes of varicose veins on Dr. Andrew Weil's "Tip of the Day" blog. Dr. Weil is a Harvard trained physician now specializing in holistic health, and offers many good pearls of advice on his blog.

The update mentioned heredity as the prime factor in determining whether patients develop varicose veins.  From my experience, I concur with Dr. Weil's assessment.  I often see new patients who can recall a parent or grandparent with significant varicose veins. These patients tend to have an inherited weakness in the leg veins that, over time, leads to backflow as gravity exerts downward pressure. Early evaluation and treatment can prevent the long term consequences of untreated venous insufficiency, such as  leg ulcers and blood clots. In addition to heredity, other risk factors include:  gender (women are more likely to suffer from varicose veins), hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause, obesity, and even occupation or lifestyle.

Fortunately, treatment for this condition has advanced and VNUS Closure (also known as the Venefit Procedure) is the best option to treat most patients with venous insufficiency. This office based procedure is done under local anesthesia and allows for immediate recovery. Occasionally micro-phlebectomy or sclerotherapy is used to complete treatment of the leg veins.

When seeking advice about your varicose veins, be sure to speak to a board certified vascular surgeon and a diplomate of the American Board of Phlebology who is best qualified to address your concerns.


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