Epidemiological, life style, and occupational factors associated with lower limb varicose veins: a case control study

J Egypt Public Health Assoc. 2021 Jul 6;96(1):19. doi: 10.1186/s42506-021-00075-0.


Background: Few data were documented about risk factors for lower limb varicose veins (LLVV) among Egyptian population. Identifying modifiable risk factors is crucial to plan for prevention. The current research aims to study the epidemiological, life style, and occupational factors associated with LLVV in a sample of Egyptian population.

Methods: A case control study was adopted. Cases with LLVV (n = 150) were compared with controls (n = 150). Data was collected using an interview questionnaire and clinical assessment. Data was analyzed using the univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses.

Results: According to multivariate analysis among all participants (n = 300), the odds of LLVV was 59.8 times greater for those who frequently lift heavy objects (95% CI = 6.01, 584.36) and 6.95 times higher for those who drink < 5 cups of water/day (95% CI = 2.78, 17.33). Moreover, it was 4.27 times greater for those who infrequently/never consume fiber-rich foods (95% CI = 1.95, 9.37) and 3.65 times greater for those who stand > 4 h/day (95% CI = 1.63, 8.17). Additionally, odds of LLVV was 3.34 times greater for those who report irregular defecation habit (95% CI = 1.68, 6.60), and 2.86 times higher for those who sleep < 8 h/day (95% CI = 1.14, 7.16), and 2.53 times higher for smokers compared with ex-smokers/non-smokers (95% CI = 1.15, 5.58). In addition, a standing posture at work was an independent predictor of LLVV among ever employed participants (n = 234) in the current study (OR = 3.10; 95% CI = 1.02, 9.38).

Conclusions: This study highlighted seven modifiable independent predictors of LLVV mostly related to the life style, namely, frequent lifting of heavy objects, drinking < 5 cups of water/day, infrequent/no consumption of fiber-rich food, standing more than 4 h/day, irregular defecation habit, sleeping less than 8 h/day, and smoking. These findings provide a basis to design an evidence-based low-cost strategy for prevention of LLVV among Egyptian population.

Keywords: Epidemiological factors; Life style; Occupational factors; Varicose veins.