Tall patients frequently ask if their height contributed to the development of their varicose veins. Now, there may be an answer. A study at Stanford University School of Medicine study found a person’s height to be a significant risk factor for developing varicose veins. The exact reason is unknown. Intuitively, one would think the gravitational forces are greater in the leg veins of tall people. (Interesting side note, giraffes would be expected to develop varicose veins but do not: the reason for this is that their skin is firm, providing support like compression stockings). The correlation between varicose veins and height, may not be a structural or gravity-related issue but rather genetic.
“We not only found an association between height and varicose veins, but the genetic studies we did showed a causal link,” said cardiologist and study author Dr. Nicholas Leeper, an associate professor of surgery and cardiovascular medicine at Stanford. “That suggests that the genes and pathways that drive human height are also likely to be causing varicose veins.”
Another recent study in Russia, showed a particular gene in ethnic Russians, that was associated with the development of varicose veins, was also responsible for other traits such as rheumatoid arthritis and has a negative impact on human height, an opposite finding from the Stanford study.
To read more about the Stanford study, click here.