The machine model confirmed already known factors, such as being older, female, overweight or pregnant or having a history of deep vein thrombosis, which occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins.
They also found an "unexpected" correlation between the condition and height, the findings revealed.
“We were very surprised to find that height came up from our machine-learning analyses,” co-author Alyssa Flores said.
Upon further investigation using Mendelian randomization analyses, a statistical technique to determine causal effects, they discovered height may not be just a factor but also a cause.
“Our results strongly suggest height is a cause, not just a correlated factor, but an underlying mechanism leading to varicose veins,” Ingelsson said.
While the scientists do not yet understand why taller people may have a heightened risk for varicose veins, the team said they believe they have “a much better understanding of the biology that is altered in people at risk for the disease.”