If your parent, sibling or child has ever been diagnosed with blood clots in the veins (deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism) or varicose veins, beware – you’re at risk, too. A family history of these venous conditions increases your likelihood of developing them as well, particularly if you’re a woman.
Take a look at these statistics and study results:
- In a study of 3,764 patients (half of whom were women), researchers found that women whose parent or sibling had suffered a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or Pulmonary Embolus (PE ) had more than twice the normal risk.
- Risk increased up to four times the normal rate for women who had multiple affected relatives.
- Another study found that women with a family history had a 1.8-fold increased risk of developing varicose veins in the future. Though this isn’t a major boost, varicose veins can lead to more serious vein conditions.
- The same study showed that women with varicose veins were nearly five times as likely as women without them to report a family history of varicose veins.
So yes, vein disease in your genes can contribute to your risk of vein disease.
In addition to genetics, family health and lifestyle habits also contribute to your increased risk of venous conditions. These include smoking, poor nutrition and a lack of exercise.
Ways to lower your risk of vein disease:
Fortunately, there are ways to help keep your risk at bay even if you have a family history of venous conditions. First, lose unhealthy habits such as smoking cigarettes and eating high-fat foods. Drink lots of water, get plenty of exercise and keep your weight down. Rest with your legs elevated above your heart level whenever possible. If you have a job that requires long periods of sitting or standing, make sure you take brisk walking and stretching breaks regularly.
If you believe you may have a blood clot or varicose veins, call 904-402-VEIN (8346) and schedule a consultation at Jacksonville’s St. Johns Vein Center.
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