Varicose Veins and Other Vein Disorders

Causes

Although varicose veins can occur in any part of your body, you’ll usually find them in your lower body, legs, or feet. 

That’s because blood moving through these veins has to work against gravity to return to your heart. When the valves in your veins become weaker and leaky, blood can flow backward and pool in your veins, which causes them to become enlarged or twisted.

Risk Factors

Here are examples of things that can put you at risk for developing varicose veins:

  • Age. Varicose veins are more common in older adults, because of the lifetime of wear and tear on the valves.
  • Family history. The tendency toward having varicose veins can be inherited.
  • Gender. Women’s blood vessels are designed to be flexible, which makes it easier for varicose veins to develop.
  • Obesity. Extra body weight puts more pressure on the veins.
  • Prolonged standing or sitting. People who worked in jobs that required extended periods of standing or sitting are at greater risk. 
  • The presence of central venous catheters in your body. 
  • Having had surgery or having experienced a trauma to the body (such as an accident, fall, etc.)
  • Having chronic lung disease, which can increase the pooling of blood in your lower body.
  • Experiencing dehydration.

Updated: July 2017