302017Jan

CDC Study Links Vein Disease to Increased Risk of Disability

Vein disease is a blanket term used to describe a variety of specific conditions including deep venous thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), chronic venous disease (CVD), and venous thromboembolism (VTE). According to the American Venous Forum, it is estimated that one in three Adults in the United States who are 45 years old or older has some type of vein disease. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), published in August 2016, found that people who had VTE had a higher incidence of permanent “work related disability.”

This alone is a compelling reason to see a vein doctor.

Conditions of the Study

The CDC study was a collaboration with two previous studies: The Nord-Trondelag Health Study (HUNT) and The Tromso Study. It followed up with the 66,005 individuals who had participated in those studies which were conducted from 1994 through 2008 and examined the risk of each participant to develop VTE. The CDC study surveyed those participants who had developed a VTE and as a result received a disability pension because of a work-related disability.

Venous thromboembolism, or VTE, describes several vein related conditions. For the purposes of the study, the participants had either PE alone, DVT alone, or both conditions PE and DVT.

  • PE – Pulmonary Embolism – blood clot located in a lung
  • DVT – blood clot located in a deep vein, typically found in the leg

The study was comprised of 66,005 individuals who ranged in age from 20 to 65 years old. Each participant with a vein disease was placed in one of three categories:

  • VTE – PE alone, DVT alone, or both conditions PE and DVT
  • PE – PE alone or both conditions PE and DVT
  • DVT – DVT alone

Over the course of the study, data was collected for the HUNT and Tromso studies which included data from several methods: blood samples, physical examinations, and questionnaires that the participants completed.

What is Work Related Disability?

For the purposes of the study, a work-related disability was defined as the inability for a person who meets all three of the following criteria:

  • Is younger than 64 years of age
  • Has a disability that has rendered them permanently unable to work
  • Receives benefits (disability pension)

Primary Findings of the CDC Study

Participants who had an unprovoked VTE had a 52% higher risk of developing a work-related disability than individuals who do not have a VTE. An unprovoked VTE is a blood clot that occurs when there is no condition present that would heighten the person’s risk of developing a blood clot, such as trauma, surgery, cancer, or an acute medical condition (stroke, heart attack, or serious infection).

Patients with DVT had an 80% higher risk of developing a work-related disability than individuals who do not have DVT. This draws a distinct line between DVT and disability.

It was also noted that participants who had PE did not have a higher risk of disability than those who did not have PE.

The results of the study were published on August 17, 2016, in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

Vein disease can be prevented and there are treatments available. Don’t leave your health and quality of life to chance. Call Dr. Richard Kimmel at The Kimmel Institute and schedule an appointment for an assessment or treatment. You don’t have to live with vein disease; we can help.