Background: Chronic venous disease in the lower extremities may have a substantial effect on functioning and quality of life. We report quality of life data for an ethnically diverse population that had been systematically evaluated for venous disease.
Subjects: Current and retired employees from a large public university were randomly selected within strata of age, sex, and ethnicity. The sample included 2404 men and women ages 40 to 79 years.
Measures: Quality of life was measured with the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form (SF-36). Venous disease of the lower extremities was evaluated with two methods. Visual inspection was used to place participants into four categories: normal, telangiectasias and spider veins, varicose veins, and trophic changes. Duplex ultrasound scanning was used to place participants into three categories: normal, superficial venous disease, and deep vein disease.
Results: There were significant associations between quality of life and venous disease severity as assessed with both visual and ultrasound methods. These differences were observed for both men and women for functional scales of the SF-36. The relationships were significant, and were graded with degree of disease severity. Differences categories were not statistically significant for the mental health scales of the SF-36.
Conclusion: Chronic venous disease in the lower extremities has a substantial effect on physical health aspects of quality of life but not on mental health components.