Are Varicose Veins Hereditary?

Do varicose veins run in the family?

People assume that varicose veins are caused by standing for long periods of time, so employees who work on their feet, like hair stylists, teachers, doctors, nurses, cashiers, restaurant servers and bartenders, are likely to develop varicose veins.

But what if you sit at a desk all day? Does this mean you are immune from getting varicose veins?


Studies have shown that another factor in developing varicose veins and spider veins is genetics. That’s right. Now you can thank mom or dad for those ugly blue lines sprawling across your legs.

Medical studies on heredity and varicose veins.

Research confirms the correlation between genetics and vein disease. One study on heredity and varicose veins claims there is a familial component that plays an important contributory role to developing varicose veins, and according to the article, “Heritability of Chronic Venous Disease,” up to 17% of patients with varicose veins have first degree relatives with the disease.

These are only two examples of medical evidence supporting the belief that genetics can cause varicose veins. Let’s dive a little deeper and find out more.

What is chronic venous disease (CVD)?

Chronic venous disease (CVD) and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) occur when the walls and/or valves of leg veins don’t work effectively, which can put pressure on the veins and causes the blood to pool. Varicose veins are a side effect which can be inherited genetically or acquired from environmental factors. Studies have determined the impact of the hereditary factor, and empirical evidence suggests there is a genetic contribution to the development of varicose vein disease.

If my mom has varicose veins does that mean I will too?

Varicose vein disease is very complex. Just because you have one or more risk factor doesn’t guarantee you will get varicose veins, but you are at higher risk.

What I can I do to protect myself from getting varicose veins?

If mom, dad or both your parents have varicose veins you can take proactive steps to lower your risk. There is no guarantee you won’t get them, but you can try to fend them off as best you can. The good news is even if you develop varicose veins, despite your attempts not to, they are treatable.

3 ways to help prevent varicose veins and spider veins.

1. Walk every day

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, your calf muscles aren’t getting enough exercise to keep the blood circulating properly in your legs.

2. Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity can lead to high blood pressure and a lack of exercise, which makes it one of the contributing factors to developing varicose veins.

3. Wear sunscreen

Too much sun exposure can break down the collagen and blood vessels under your skin, causing spider veins to appear on your face and/or chest.

What are the environmental factors that may cause varicose veins?

In addition to family history, other risk factors associated with varicose veins include occupation, age, gender, obesity and pregnancy. In two previous articles we discussed how jobs may cause varicose veins and the connection between pregnancy and varicose veins.

Are spider veins genetic too?

Spider veins differ from varicose veins as they are smaller and closer to the skin’s surface. They can be genetic but there are many other contributing factors, like excessive sun exposure. Spider veins are usually harmless, and most people treat them for cosmetic reasons since they can appear on your face as well as your legs.

Why do more women get varicose veins than men?

Even though men get varicose veins too, they seem to be more common in women. Why? Some of the contributing factors are geared specifically towards women such as hormonal fluctuations from pregnancy, menopause, and taking birth control pills.

If you have a family history of varicose veins, taking the right precautions can help you fight against them. Sometimes no matter what you do, however, genetics wins. Whether you’re a woman or a man, if you’ve developed varicose veins or spider veins we can treat them with minimal discomfort and downtime. Contact the Columbus Vein Center to schedule a consultation today.