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Varicose veins in the lower extremities in relation to occupational mechanical exposures: a longitudinal study

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  • Sorosh Tabatabaeifar
  • Poul Frost
  • Johan Hviid Andersen
  • Lone Donbæk Jensen
  • Jane Frølund Thomsen
  • Susanne Wulff Svendsen
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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate if occupational mechanical exposures are associated with an increased risk of surgery for varicose veins (VV) in the lower extremities.

METHODS: We conducted a longitudinal study of persons from the Musculoskeletal Research Database at the Danish Ramazzini Centre who were 18-65 years old when they provided baseline questionnaire data during 1993-2004. Exposure estimates were obtained from a job exposure matrix based on expert ratings. The register information on first-time surgery for VV was retrieved. We used Cox regression analyses.

RESULTS: During 416,317 person-years of follow-up among 38,036 persons, 851 first-time operations for VV occurred. Using standing/walking <4 h/day and uncommon lifting as references, exposure-response relationships with risk of surgery were found for men. For women, the risk increased too, but without clear exposure-response patterns. The adjusted HRs for ≥6 h/day spent standing/walking were 3.17 (95% CI 2.06 to 4.89) and 2.34 (95% CI 1.72 to 3.19) for men and women, respectively. For high lifting exposures (≥1000 kg/day), the adjusted HRs were 3.95 (95% CI 2.32 to 6.73) for men and 2.54 (95% CI 1.95 to 3.31) for women. Other risk factors were increasing age for men and parity for women. Minimal leisure-time physical activity, a high body mass index and smoking were not associated with increased risk.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggested an increased risk of surgery for VV in relation to prolonged standing/walking and heavy lifting and a preventive potential of more than 60% of all cases in exposed occupations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
Volume72
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)330-7
Number of pages8
ISSN1351-0711
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

    Research areas

  • Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Female, Humans, Lifting, Longitudinal Studies, Lower Extremity, Male, Middle Aged, Occupational Diseases, Occupational Exposure, Posture, Proportional Hazards Models, Questionnaires, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Varicose Veins, Walking, Young Adult

ID: 45882773