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Clinically recognized varicose veins and physical function in older individuals: the ARIC study.

TitleClinically recognized varicose veins and physical function in older individuals: the ARIC study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsMok Y, Ishigami J, Sang Y, Kucharska-Newton AM, Salameh M, Schrack JA, Palta P, Coresh J, B Windham G, Lutsey PL, Folsom AR, Matsushita K
JournalJ Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci
Date Published2021 Oct 04

BACKGROUND: Although a few studies reported an association between varicose veins and physical function, this potentially bi-directional association has not been systematically evaluated in the general population.

METHODS: In 5,580 participants (aged 71-90 years) from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, varicose veins were identified in outpatient and inpatient administrative data prior to (prevalent cases) and after (incident cases) visit 5 (2011-2013). Physical function was evaluated by the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB, score ranging from 0-12). We evaluated 1) cross-sectional association between prevalent varicose veins and physical function, 2) association of prevalent varicose veins with subsequent changes in physical function from visit 5 to visits 6 (2016-2017) and 7 (2018-2019), 3) association of physical function at visit 5 with incident varicose veins during a median follow-up of 3.6 years (105 incident varicose veins among 5,350 participants without prevalent cases at baseline).

RESULTS: At baseline, varicose veins were recognized in 230 (4.1%) participants and cross-sectionally associated with reduced physical function. Longitudinally, prevalent varicose veins were not significantly associated with a decline in SPPB over time. In contrast, a low SPPB ≤6 was associated with a greater incidence of varicose veins compared to SPPB ≥10 (adjusted hazard ratio 2.13 [95% CI 1.19, 3.81]) .

CONCLUSION: In community-dwelling older adults, varicose veins and low physical function were associated cross-sectionally. Longitudinally, low physical function was a risk factor for incident varicose veins, but not vice versa. Our findings suggest an etiological contribution of low physical function to incident varicose veins.

Alternate JournalJ Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci
PubMed ID34606610