Your mom calls for one of her weekend chats. After the traditional “How are you, tell me about your week,” conversation starter, she gets into the nuts and bolts of why she REALLY called… you know, the oh so juicy family gossip she can’t wait to share. Aunt Martha had sclerotherapy this week and she’s having Carl wait on her hand and foot. “What’s sclerotherapy?” you ask. Then your mom explains it’s a type of non-invasive varicose vein treatment.
At twenty-seven years old, you cringe at the idea of having chemicals injected into your veins to “ablate” them (destroy them). You wonder how many veins you can ablate and still have circulation in your legs (answer: a lot because there are many redundant veins in the legs). “Ouch, Mom…. doesn’t that sting?” you interject. “No baby, don’t you remember, your cousin once removed had the same type of varicose vein treatment last year and she was back at work two days later… and your cousin on your dad’s side had it a couple of years ago and she went on a long bicycle ride only a week after she had hers. Said she felt ten years younger!”
You begin to think to yourself, “Uh oh! That’s a lot of relatives with varicose veins!” You’ve heard there’s a strong genetic component to varicose veins (you’re right, there is!). You start to wonder about your closer relatives. You know your Mom has spider veins but no major varicose veins. So, you ask your Mom, “I’m trying to remember if grandmother had varicose veins too? I remember she used to wear those dark hose all the time so I couldn’t really see her legs much.” Your Mom replies, “That’s why she wore them honey… to cover up all those bulging blue varicose veins…. well, that and the scars from her surgery when she had some veins removed.”
You can hardly take the horror movie image forming in your mind. Bloody veins being ripped out of your grandmother’s legs, the same sweet lady who baked you chocolate chip cookies and sang sweet songs to you until you would fall asleep. Don’t worry by the way, they don’t do vein stripping much any more so you’ll never have to have to undergo that type of varicose vein treatment. Suddenly, you have a moment of panic. You wonder if you too will have varicose veins. You’ve know they are hereditary but what exactly are the odds?
To get a better sense of the odds that you too will have varicose veins, your best bet is to attend a summertime extended family reunion. while your relatives are standing around gnawing on Uncle Henry’s famous barbecue ribs covered in his secret sauce recipe, walk around and take a look at those legs in shorts and skirts. Keep in mind too, that you’ll have an even better survey of your genetic risk for varicose veins if you can attend summertime family reunions on both sides of your family.
While you’re at the family reunion, you can also take the opportunity to engage your relatives in conversation about the family history of medical diseases. This often leads to fascinating conversations of interest to everyone so don’t be afraid to bring the subject up. During this topic of conversation, you can slip in your questions about varicose veins and take plenty of mental notes on who had to get varicose vein treatment and why.
Here are some more stats that will help you in your quest:
– According to the American College of Phlebology, about fifty percent of the people who need varicose vein treatment have varicose veins in their extended family. So, if you’re seeing varicose veins at the family reunion, you have at least a fifty percent chance of developing varicose veins at some point in your life. Try to find out about how old your relatives were when they started having varicose vein symptoms. They tend to develop earlier in some families than others.
– From this same source, if one of your parents has varicose veins, your odds of having them too jumps to sixty percent! However, if you’re really young, you can’t count on this data because your parents may still develop them later on. You can always check out your grandparents and great aunts and great uncles for clues, and if they have then, ask them at about what age did they developed them and if they’ve had varicose vein treatment.
– If both of your parents have varicose veins, then your odds of also developing them jump all the way to ninety percent! This is why it’s important to check out both sides of the family. Go to family reunions on both sides if you can or simply talk to your older relatives on both sides.
Keep this in mind too. If you’ve ever been pregnant and or you’re overweight, your odds of developing varicose veins and needing varicose vein treatment will be higher than the stats quoted above. Your odds increase even more with each subsequent pregnancy. If you are male, your odds are a bit lower overall but the odds for men tend to be underestimated because men tend to not seek diagnosis and treatment as readily as women.
If you want to be checked for the early signs of varicose vein disease, even if you don’t actually see any signs of varicose veins yet, you can get a free evaluation of your veins at Metro Vein Centers, one of the most respected varicose vein treatment clinics in the country. Metro Vein Centers has several locations across several states. You can check their website to find the one nearest you.