Genetics and Varicose Veins

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geneticsIt’s important to take care of the body; a healthy body can lead to a longer, more pleasant life. However, there are some things out of our control, like genetics. Genetics, or your family history, can play a significant part in determining if you are more prone to developing a certain disease or illness. Pregnancy, prolonged sitting or standing, injuries, smoking, are just a few of the causes of varicose veins, but even if a person avoids all these causes, varicose veins can still form on their body due to genetics.

If people in your family have varicose veins, especially your parents, are varicose veins in your future? The answer to this question may be found in the FOX C2 gene mutation (Fork Head gene domain). It is also known as the winged helix. This gene mutation is located on the 16th chromosome on the 24th position. This is a common gene mutation that 25 to 30 percent of the adult population has. At this position, there is a detailed set of instructions for transfer RN’ase to lay down a micro-filamentous protein called Actin. Actin is one of three components of the cytoskeleton and is critical for the formation, durability, and strength of venous valves and vein walls.

In people with the FOX C2 mutation, the transfer RN’ase instructions set is incorrect, which creates weak actin. Over time, this weaker mutation will cause the venous valves to fail and varicose veins will begin to appear. The mutation can cause varicose veins to appear as early as puberty. In summary, if there is a weakened filamentous actin, varicose veins will form in the body. Obesity, age, gender, pregnancy, smoking, prolonged standing can help promote the appearance of the veins from this mutation.

Finding Out If You Have the Fox C2 Gene Mutation

The FOX C2 gene was found to be key in the development of familial varicose veins. So if you’re parents have varicose veins, there is a chance you could too because of this mutation. This gene is an autosomal dominant gene so both men and women can carry the gene. This gene is also variably penetrant, which means varicose veins will appear on both legs and involve the great saphenous and short saphenous veins. The variable penetrant also makes it so one sibling may have varicose veins while the other doesn’t have the condition, and it makes it possibly so varicose veins skip generations. All family members in a gene pool will carry the FOX C2 mutation. DNA testing is currently the only way to truly prove if you or a loved one has this mutation.

What to Do If You Have the Gene

As of now, doctors and scientists are unable to turn this gene off or repair it. If you find out you have the FOX C2 mutation, the best thing you can do is practice healthy lifestyle choices to prevent the veins from appearing early or being extremely painful. Exercise, compression stockings, proper hydration, elevating feet, not smoking, and flat shoes can all help prevent vein issues from getting worse. Although genetics can play a large role in determining if you develop varicose veins or not, your lifestyle choices can help or hinder your chances of making the veins come into fruition.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of varicose veins that you’d like to have checked out, call Dr. Zuzga of West Florida Vein today at 727-712-3233. For more information on varicose veins, click here.

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Tampa Vein Specialists

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