Varicose veins affect an estimated 40% of women and 25% of men.
There are a number of factors which lead to varicose veins, including:
Heredity - One of the most important factors. If your parents and grandparents had the problem, you are at increased risk.
Gender - Women have a higher incidence of varicose vein disease due in part to female hormones and their effect on the vein walls.
Pregnancy - Blood volume increases during pregnancy and hormonal effects contribute to vein enlargement
Age - The tissues of our vein walls lose elasticity as we age causing the valve system to fail.
The following additional factors, while not directly causing varicose veins, may speed up the development of this disease and make the veins worse:
Prolonged standing - Occupations that involve standing for a long period of time cause increased volume and pressure of blood in the lower limbs due to the effects of gravity.
Obesity - Increases in weight often increase abdominal pressure which may worsen vein problems
Hormone levels -Treatments like birth control pills and post-menopausal hormone replacement may cause the same hormonal effect as pregnancy
Physical Trauma - Injury to the lower limbs can damage underlying blood vessels and add to the problem