Varicose veins are extremely prevalent; 10-25% of the adult population in the Western world. It was thought that the incidence of varicose veins was lower in males and outside the western world, but this has recently been disputed. However it appears that even if the prevalence of varicose veins, and perhaps venous insufficiency, is similar in developing countries, the number of symptoms and complications they cause is almost certainly lower. Classical teaching is that the incidence of varicose veins is higher in occupations involving prolonged periods of standing or sitting and in pregnancy. While this has been supported by some but by no means all studies, it is likely that their symptoms are worse.
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