The goals of this study were to document the prevalence of varicose veins, skin trophic changes, and venous symptoms in a sample of the general population of France, to document their main risk factors, and to assess relationships between them.
This cross-sectional epidemiologic study was carried out in the general population of 4 locations in France: Tarentaise, Grenoble, Nyons, and Toulon. Random samples of 2000 subjects per location were interviewed by telephone, and a sub-sample of subjects completed medical interviews and underwent physical examination, and the presence of varicose veins, trophic changes, and venous symptoms was recorded.
Prevalence of varicose veins, skin trophic changes, and venous symptoms was not statistically different in the 4 locations. In contrast, sex-related differences were found: varicose veins were found in 50.5% of women versus 30.1% of men (P < .001); trophic skin changes were found in 2.8% of women versus 5.4% of men (P = NS), and venous symptoms were found in 51.3% of women 51.3% versus 20.4% of men (P < .001). Main risk factors for varicose veins were age and family history in both sexes, and pregnancy in women. Female sex was a significant factor only for non-saphenous varicose veins. Varicose veins, age, and pitting edema were the most significant risk factors for trophic skin changes. The risk factors for venous symptoms were female sex, varicose veins, and prolonged sitting or standing. A negative relationship with age was found in women.
Our results show a high prevalence of chronic venous disorders of the lower limbs in the general population of France, with no significant geographic variations. They also provide interesting insights regarding the association of varicose veins, skin trophic changes, and venous symptoms.