Objectives Chronic venous disorders of the lower limbs are a frequent condition in the general population. In the working population, prolonged standing at work is associated with the development of diseases of varicose veins. The aim is to identify high risk occupations based on data on sick-leave due to varicose veins of the lower extremities.
Methods The analysis was based on a secondary data analysis of sick-leave of almost all German statutory health insurances in 2008. The database contains aggregated data of approximately 26.2 million insured employees. The occurrence of sick-leave events due to the diagnosis varicose veins of the lower extremities (ICD-10 I83) is defined as outcome variable. The assignment of employees to occupational groups (according to Blossfeld 1985 based on the German Classification of Occupations) is considered as exposure variable. Morbidity ratios (SMR) stratified by sex and age group with 99.9% confidence intervals were estimated (reference: qualified mercantile and administrative occupations).
Results Compared to the reference group the expected number of sick-leave was particularly increased for manual workers with low skill level (men: SMR 1.61 [1.55–1.68], women: SMR 1.51 [1.43–1.58]) and high skill level (men: SMR 1.61 [1.55–1.68], women SMR 1.73 [1.61–1.84]). In both genders, sick-leave was also higher than expected for low-skilled mercantile and administrative occupations as well as low-skilled service workers. An example of a high skilled manual occupation with an increased risk is confectioner (men: SMR 3.08 [1.92–4.63], women: SMR 2.74 [1.78–4.00]). Among women, the risk of semi-professions, qualified service workers, and agricultural workers was also higher than the reference group.
Conclusions An ageing workforce is expected in the future. Thus, interventions focussed on the reduction of prolonged standing particularly among manual occupations in production and service should be initiated and evaluated for the primary and secondary prevention of varicose veins.
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