The symptoms of venous insufficiency of the lower limbs (VILL) include a feeling of heaviness in the legs, pain, and nocturnal cramps, which may be combined with organic disorders (varicose veins). The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of VILL in terms of both varicose veins and functional symptoms in the participants of the SUVIMAX cohort, which is representative of the French population for the age range under consideration (women: 35-60; men: 45-60).
Information on the venous status of 3065 subjects in the SUVIMAX cohort were collected from three different sources: yearly systematic clinical examination (1994-1996), monthly follow-up by a telematic network (1994-1998) and non-specific questionnaire (1997). Two mutually exclusive populations were thus defined on medically diagnosed varicose veins and venous insufficiency and reported varicose veins and venous insufficiency.
Venous insufficiency was medically diagnosed in 192 men (14.6%) and 584 women (33.6%), and varicose veins were diagnosed in 143 men (74.5%) and 317 women (54.2%) from this group. Prevalence reported symptoms of venous insufficiency and of varicose veins was 13.6% and 7.4% respectively in men and 28.2% and 12.4% in women. Sex, age, body mass index and number of pregnancies were found to be correlated with the risk of venous insufficiency.
VILL is a very common disease in French adults both as varicose veins and as functional symptoms. Venotonics were the main type of treatment but not enough use is made of elastic compression stockings.