The influence of age and gender on venous symptomatology. An epidemiological survey in Belgium and Luxembourg

Phlebology. 2016 Jun;31(5):325-33. doi: 10.1177/0268355515589224. Epub 2015 Jun 1.


Aim: The aim of this study is to measure the incidence of the symptoms in patients with chronic venous disease (CVD) and to look for the influence of age on the severity of symptoms for both genders.

Materials and methods: A survey was carried out in Belgium and Luxembourg between May and September 2013. Patient recruitment was done by 406 general practitioners (GPs). Each GP screened 10-20 consecutive patients older than 18 years. Inquiries were made regarding the presence of symptoms and possible signs of CVD. Patients with diagnosed CVD filled out a questionnaire including a quality of life score (CIVIQ-14). These data were converted into a CIVIQ Global Index Score (GIS). Statistical analysis was performed in order to calculate the effect of age and gender on the number of symptoms and the estimated probabilities of having CVD.

Results: Totally 6009 patients were included in this survey. The mean age was 53.4 years. Of all, 61.3% of the patients have CVD (C1-C6). Of all, 64.7% of patients were symptomatic. Age and female gender were major risk factors for developing CVD. Most common symptoms were 'heavy legs' (70.4%), pain (54.0%), and sensation of swelling (52.7%). The number of symptoms increases with age (p < 0.001). Female patients have significantly more symptoms in comparison with male patients in all age groups. In both females and males, age is negatively correlated with GIS score (p < 0.001). The estimated probability of having CVD was significantly higher for woman compared to men and increases with age for both gender.

Conclusion: CVD is a very common progressive disease with age as a major risk factor. Increasing age results in a higher C-classification, more symptoms, and a lower GIS score (quality of life). Female gender interacts significantly with age and results in a more advanced stage of CVD.

Keywords: Chronic venous disease; age; epidemiology; risk factors; symptomatology.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Luxembourg / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Varicose Veins / epidemiology*
  • Varicose Veins / pathology*
  • Varicose Veins / physiopathology*