The Family Connection

During this time of year, if you have visible veins, it is hard to ignore them. The appearance of spider and varicose veins can be embarrassing, and the pain and swelling they cause can also make you less active. If your mom or another family member had these veins, you may think they are an inevitable part of aging – but they are a symptom of vein disease, a progressive disorder with a strong genetic link. 

When leg vein valves fail and our bodies are unable to circulate blood as effectively as they used to, blood pools, expanding the vein walls and causing a whole host of issues besides the visible ones – spider and varicose veins. Your legs may feel achy or heavy, your ankles may swell, and your skin may become dry, among other possible side effects. In severe cases, you can even form an ulcer on the skin that cannot heal until the troublesome vein is dealt with. 

Vein disease is extremely common, with more than 40 million Americans suffering from it. Because of hormones and pregnancy, moms (and women in general) are much more prone to vein disease. Age is a huge risk factor as well – with 72 percent of females between the ages of 60-69 presenting with vein disease. It is also hereditary. If one parent is affected by varicose veins, their daughter is at a 62 percent risk of developing them as well. If both parents are affected, that risk rises to 90 percent. 

Personally, I had a lot of family members who had varicose veins. After they had treatment, I saw how my relatives’ lives improved, and that is what lead me to specializing in vein health. When your veins are healthy, and you’re not in pain, it’s easier to stay active, engaged, and happy, no matter your age. 

With advancements in medical technology, vein treatments have never been so painless and effective. I am proud to offer my patients a variety of minimally invasive treatment options, which require no downtime, and are covered by most insurances. 

Veins and leg pain may run in your family, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with it. Let me help you feel and look better. Call 1-800-FIX-LEGS (1-800-349-5347) to schedule an appointment or visit us on the web at

Michelle Nguyen
Michelle Nguyen, MD, FACS, RPVI has over 17 years of experience in clinical medicine. She attended the University of Virginia where she was named an Echols Scholar. She remained at UVA to complete her medical school training and then returned to the D.C. area and joined Georgetown University Medical Center for her residency training. Here she was later appointed Assistant Clinical Professor. She has a special interest in the treatment of venous ulcers, stasis dermatitis, sclerotherapy and minimally invasive vein care. Dr. Nguyen has performed over a thousand venous ablation procedures. Her dedication to her patients has resulted in her being named a Top Doctor in Washingtonian magazine.