Varicose veins epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Varicose veins are a common disease. Its reported prevalence all over the world varies between 10% to 30%[1][2]. The majority of the cases are reported in developed and industrialised countries. The prevalence of varicose veins in the USA is estimated to be 23% of the adult population. It is more common in women than in men. The prevalence increases with age. Heredity seems to play a major role in development of Varicose veins. 50% of the patients have a family history of the disease. The children with two affected parents are at almost 90% risk[3].

Epidemiology and Demographics

Prevalence: Worldwide the prevalence varies between 10-30% of the population. In the USA, the prevalence is around 4500/100,000 [4]. It affects around 22 million women and 11 million men[5].

Region: Varicose Veins are more common in western and industrialized countries compared to the developing countries[6]. The paper noted that the prevalence rates between Egypt and England was upwards of five-fold after standardization for age.

Case fatality: Varicose veins is not a fatal disease.

Age: The prevalence increases with age. The most affected age group is 40-80 years old.

Gender: Females are twice as likely to be affected by varicose veins as compared to males. Although, males are nearly twice as likely to have visible disease[6].

Race: The San Diego Population Study, a first of its kind multi-ethnic study of Chronic venous disease noted that the prevalence of visible varicose veins was significantly higher in Hispanics; while it was lowest in Asians[6].

Developed countries: The prevalence in developed countries tends to be more in developed countries when compared to developing countries.


  1. Callam MJ (1994). "Epidemiology of varicose veins". Br J Surg. 81 (2): 167–73. doi:10.1002/bjs.1800810204. PMID 8156326.
  2. Evans CJ, Fowkes FG, Ruckley CV, Lee AJ (1999). "Prevalence of varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency in men and women in the general population: Edinburgh Vein Study". J Epidemiol Community Health. 53 (3): 149–53. doi:10.1136/jech.53.3.149. PMC 1756838. PMID 10396491.
  5. Hamdan A (2012). "Management of varicose veins and venous insufficiency". JAMA. 308 (24): 2612–21. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.111352. PMID 23268520.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Beebe-Dimmer JL, Pfeifer JR, Engle JS, Schottenfeld D (2005). "The epidemiology of chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins". Ann Epidemiol. 15 (3): 175–84. doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2004.05.015. PMID 15723761.

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