The most important non-modifiable risk factor for vein disease is heredity – over 50% of patients with varicose veins have one or more parents who had them. The next most important risk factors are age and gender. You are more likely to develop vein disease if you are over 50 years of age, and (for hormonal reasons) you are more likely to develop it if you are female. Another risk factor related to gender is pregnancy, which increases a woman’s vein disease risk in two ways – through hormonal changes, and by increasing the overall volume of blood in the body.
In the category of modifiable risk factors – those you can do something about to prevent vein disease – at the top of the list is being overweight or obese. This places a greater strain on the circulatory system, so if you know that you already exhibit some of the risk factors discussed above, you should do whatever you can to maintain a healthy weight.
Smoking cigarettes is also a primary cause of vein disease, just as it is a cause of heart and pulmonary disease, so if you care about your health, you should stop. Lack of exercise – especially sitting too much – increases your risk of vein disease. So do certain medications (such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy), and certain other medical conditions, such as diabetes, and liver disease.