By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – More than 30-million people in the U.S. have varicose veins. Now according to a large Stanford study, the taller you are, the more likely you are to develop them.

Varicose veins are swollen purplish vessels that pop out on some people’s legs as they age. They can be painful, a cosmetic nuisance and may increase the risk of blood clots in the legs.

It’s currently not clear why some people get them and others don’t, so researchers studied the genetic data on almost 500,000 people and found that the same genes that predict a person’s height may also be linked to the development of varicose veins.

Scientists hope that armed with this knowledge they will be able to find better ways to prevent or treat varicose veins in the future.

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