Heredity – Are you doomed to a life with varicose veins?

Image of DNA strand against colour background

As we age we being to wonder what we will grow to look like and how our health will hold up as time goes by. Our older relatives are often the best gage by which to measure ourselves. Our parents being the closest genetic link we often strongly resemble either one or the other or sometimes even both. So, what does it mean for you if your mother or father has varicose veins in their legs? Does that mean varicose veins are in your future?

The conclusion of the majority of epidemiological research has established a trend pointing towards clusters of people within a genetic family which have presented symptoms of varicose veins during their lifetimes. When DNA profiles were analyzed the commonality present in those who end up with varicose veins seems to be an inherited genetic mutation known as the Fox C2 Gene mutation.

The Fox C2 Gene mutation is also known as the forkhead box C2 winged helix. There are 50 known Fox genes within the human genome currently and possibly more to be discovered.  The double helix is critical for the formation, durability and strength of the vein walls and valves. In people with the Fox C2 mutation the RN’ase instruction set is incorrect or incomplete causing weakness. Over time this weaker version of the adaptation will begin to break down, fail and deteriorate.  Symptoms can often include: swelling, pain, heaviness and discoloration of the veins themselves leading to varicose or spider veins. So far there is no correction for this genetically. Medical treatment is very likely to be required once symptoms begin to present themselves.

How do you know if you have a Fox C2 gene mutation?

If a parent has varicose veins, it is only an indicator of the possibility. The only way to know for sure is to have your DNA analyzed. The Fox C2 gene is an autosomal dominant gene (not a recessive gene) which means that both male and female offspring may carry it. It is also quite possible, even likely, that it can lie dormant and not present itself, seemingly skipping a generation.

What if a DNA test comes back with a positive Fox C2 mutation?

If that occurs, lifestyle choices become even more important. There are things you can do proactively to help prevent vein issues.

  1. Exercise and stay fit (low impact activities like swimming or yoga and stretching are recommended).
  2. Opt for flat shoes over heels.
  3. Consider wearing support hose.
  4. Sit with legs straight or crossed at the ankle. Avoid leg crossing at the knee.
  5. At the end of the day, sit with your feet propped up higher than your head for 10-15 minutes allowing the blood to recirculate.
  6. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

While genetics play an important role in whether or not you will develop venous issues during your lifetime, your lifestyle and health choices can either support or hinder your vein health. Just because mom or dad had to deal with this issue doesn’t necessarily mean that you will.

If you have further questions or are experiencing symptoms that you would like to have addressed, we invite you to give us a call today at (239) 694-VEIN and Let Dr. Joseph Magnant, M.D. experienced Fort Myers and Bonita Springs Vein Specialist help. With offices at two convenient locations – 1510 Royal Palm Square Blvd. Suite 101 Fort Myers, Florida 33919 or 3359 Woods Edge Circle Suite 102 Bonita Springs, Florida 34134. For your convenience you can also visit our website to set up a Virtual FREE Vein Consultation.


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Orthotics – Can proper alignment of the body fend off varicose veins?

When you build a house you have to start with a solid foundation. If it’s not poured evenly and level, the house may eventually shift, the base may begin to crack and the home could fall into a premature state of disrepair. The same could be said for going through life with improperly fitting non supportive foot wear.

As age and daily wear and tear begin to take a toll on our bodies we are often times not always fully in alignment. We may have small adjustments that can be made in order to increase health, comfort and even range of motion for conditions such as pronounced high arches, flat feet, bunions, knee issues, corns calluses, plantar fasciitis and more. One of the simplest ways to make those adjustments is by utilizing customized shoe inserts known as orthotics.  One often over looked condition that they can help to support and alleviate symptoms of is varicose veins of the legs and feet which can be incredibly painful.

Your circulatory system carries the blood from the heart out to your appendages. The blood then makes the journey back towards the heart. It’s the job of the veins, combined with muscle contractions to force the blood all the way back up, despite and against gravity. The valves allow the blood to pass up and through and then close to prevent it from slipping backwards and down again. If the valves become weak and begin to lose their elastic quality that’s when blood flow can begin backing up and pooling inside of the veins. When this happens too often or with too much blood at one time it can cause swelling, enlarging and even twisting, resulting in what we recognize as varicose veins.

Customized orthotics are usually created through a doctor’s office such as a podiatrist or chiropractor. They will have you remove your shoes and assist you in placing your foot correctly into the rectangular box cast which is filled with a sandy feeling slightly crunchy impressionable clay foam like substance which holds the impression of your foot with incredible accuracy in order to conform the new inserts to the exact specifications. They may even ask to send of a favorite pair of shoes along with the molds to ensure a seamless fit.

Therapeutic orthotic inserts help by improving proper gate, balance and overall body alignment as well as helping to improve circulation. As you walk the orthotics help by pressing into the foot pumping up and down along the arches relieving pressure. This repetitive push and release motion helps to flush pooled blood that may have been accumulating, easing pressure, inflammation and often reducing some of the swelling in the varicose veins.

While it is not a permanent fix, wearing orthotics – especially in conjunction with compression stockings, can often offer a significant amount of symptom relief to those suffering with these issues.

It is highly recommended to have an evaluation done if you are presenting symptoms of venous insufficiency. To set up your FREE Virtual Vein Consultation please visit our website or give us a call today at (239) 694-VEIN and Let Dr. Joseph Magnant, M.D. experienced Fort Myers and Bonita Springs Vein Specialist help. Now serving two convenient locations – 1510 Royal Palm Square Blvd. Suite 101 Fort Myers, Florida 33919 and 3359 Woods Edge Circle Suite 102 Bonita Springs, Florida 34134.

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