Prevalence and risk factors of varicose veins in lower extremities: mini-Finland health survey

Eur J Surg. 1995 Jun;161(6):405-14.


Objective: To study the prevalence and risk factors of clinically important varicose veins in the lower extremities.

Design: Cross-sectional study with self-administered questionnaire.

Setting: A national health examination survey, Finland.

Subjects: 8000 people from 40 geographical areas representing the adult population aged 30 years and over.

Results: The prevalence of varicose veins diagnosed by a physician was 25% in women and 7% in men. Twenty-nine per cent of the men and 53% of the women with diagnosed varicose veins had been treated surgically. Age, height, body mass index (weight/height2), standing at work, and the number of births were expected risk factors associated with varicosities. Unexpectedly, signs of osteoarthrosis were positively, and diabetes negatively, associated with varicose veins. Urban dwelling and high income correlated positively with varicose veins treated surgically in women.

Conclusions: Varicose veins in the lower extremities are common, and demand considerable health service resources. The aetiology of varicose veins is still incompletely understood and more research is needed to develop possible preventive measures.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / complications
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Self-Assessment
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Varicose Veins / epidemiology*
  • Varicose Veins / surgery