Too Young for Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are widely considered a condition that comes only with aging. Not so, says Jacksonville vein specialist Dr. James St. George, founder of the St. Johns Vein Center. While aging is a major factor in a high percentage of patients suffering the condition, it’s not the only factor. And specialists nationwide are reporting a steady rise in younger clients, including children and teenagers, seeking treatment for venous disorders.
Several possible reasons exist for early onset varicose veins, including heredity, obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, pregnancy, and even clothing choices.
- Heredity: Having just one parent or sibling who has suffered varicose veins or other venous disorder increases your risk of developing varicose veins by 50-70 percent. If both of your parents had varicose veins, your chance of developing is almost 100%.
- Obesity: Carrying extra pounds is a top cause of varicose veins, no matter your age. In 2010, more than one-third of American children and adolescents were overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents.
- Lack of exercise: Speaking of extra pounds, studies show that only about 38 percent of teens get enough exercise. The other 62 percent are setting themselves up for a sedentary life and all the problems that come with it – including varicose veins.
- Smoking: Toxic chemicals in cigarettes can do serious damage to your veins, causing varicose veins and potentially a more serious condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which is blood clots. Yet, 45.3 million American adults smoke daily and 90 percent of them picked up the habit before age 21.
- Pregnancy: The high levels of progesterone hormone, added weight, and the significant amount of extra blood that a woman’s body creates when she’s pregnant frequently causes varicose veins. In fact at least half of women expecting a baby, even very young women, develop them.
- Tight clothing: Clothing that’s tight around the waist, upper thighs and legs can restrict normal blood flow, contributing to varicose veins.
It’s never too early to adopt the healthy nutrition; exercise and lifestyle choices that will help avoid or significantly delay the development of venous disorders – even if you have a family history of vein conditions.
If you are a young adult with spider or varicose veins, or if you suspect your child or teen may have them, call 877-640-VEIN (8346) or visit the St. Johns Vein Center website to schedule a consultation.