New York, Sep 24 : Tall people are more likely to develop varicose veins, characterised by swollen, twisted veins that can be seen just under the surface of the skin, usually in the legs, finds a new study.
Researchers, from the Stanford University in California, showed that while increased height contributed to the development of varicose veins, genes that determine height is also linked to its formation.
The study also identified 30 genes linked to varicose vein disorder and to a strong genetic correlation with deep vein thrombosis.
"Genes that predict a person's height may be at the root of this link between height and varicose veins and may provide clues for treating the condition," said Nicholas Leeper, Associate Professor at Stanford.
"The condition is incredibly prevalent, but shockingly little is known about the biology.
There are no medical therapies that can prevent it or reverse it once it is there. Treatment is mainly limited to surgical procedures, such as laser treatment or vein stripping," added Alyssa Flores from the varsity.
Varicose veins can cause moderate pain and has been linked to more serious side effects of deep vein thrombosis, which occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in the body.
In the study, published in the journal Circulation, the team analysed varicose vein risk factors among 413,519 people and found that 9,577 had varicose vein disease.
The findings confirmed that age, gender, obesity, pregnancy and history of deep vein thrombosis are the risk factors for varicose veins.
Other risk factors include surgery on the legs, family history, lack of movement, smoking and hormone therapy.
"Ultimately, we hope to test whether those factors can be targeted, and potentially prevent or delay the development of disease in at-risk individuals," Leeper said.