What is venous insufficiency or varicose veins? Venous insufficiency is a medical condition in which the veins of the body (usually of the legs) cannot pump blood back to the heart. This causes blood to accumulate in the blood vessels and eventually enlarge (varicose veins) or dilate.
There does not seem to be a direct link between diabetes and varicose veins, but because the two diseases share risk factors, it is not uncommon for a patient with one of these diseases to experience the other later down the line.
At Illinois Vein Specialists we constantly see older people with this type of disease. Although many patients we treat are often older, this doesn't necessarily mean that varicose vein disease is an older person's disease or the result of age itself. It's often the opposite, and while many of us think that these bulging veins happen because of age, the fact of the matter is that by the time you notice the larger veins, it has been the result of long-term damage and disease. Varicose veins can occur in patients in the early teens, actually we've treated several of them with severe venous hypertension.
A lot of people associate varicose veins with “an older person problem” and picture bulging, ropey veins on the legs. However, age is actually not the primary cause of varicose veins: hereditary is the cause for over 80% of vein disease cases. While the symptoms of varicose veins can worsen over time and are more visible when someone is older, young people are not immune to the disease.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons was able to show that genetics play a role in the presence of varicose veins. In order to determine whether genetics was a cause, the researchers used Swedish-born adoptees that could be traced back to both their biological and their adopted parents.