Taking care of your veins, whether the weather is warm or cold, is a year-round effort. When you suffer from varicose veins, you probably notice how the change in seasons affects your condition.
When temperatures rise, varicose veins expand, allowing blood to pool in the bulging vein. As a result, the veins swell and tend to become more uncomfortable. So, when the weather cools down, we generally expect the symptoms of varicose veins to diminish, but it does not happen exactly that way.
By the last week of December, the beginning of winter, most of the country has already been experiencing teeth-chattering temperatures. If you reside in an area of the country where the cold weather is up to your knees, and you have varicose veins, spider veins, or other forms of venous disease, you may have spotted some changes in your condition.
Cold temperatures can also negatively affect the varicose veins due to atmospheric changes and decreased activity. Therefore, whatever the time of year, you should take action to care for your veins.
Cold can relieve varicose veins; vasoconstriction of the veins usually improves when temperatures are lower. Blood circulation is usually the primary beneficiary of cold exposure. Cold can be environmental from climate change or applied topically. After a long day of work, exertion, exercise, and non-stop, who does not like a leg massage with a cold gel?
The skin vessels’ vasoconstriction and the subcutaneous venous network due to the cold can enhance the decrease in the size of the veins and therefore improve the symptoms.
In addition, when the temperatures go down, our body endures more the practice of sport, thus rejecting the sedentary lifestyle that affects varicose veins. Therefore, whether it is ambient cold or cold that we apply to the parts affected by venous insufficiency, the dropping in temperature can help us to relieve the heaviness of the legs and the feeling of swelling in them.
We are starting with the good news about this cold weather. Cold temperatures can cause veins to shrink, which makes it easier for the valves inside the veins to function correctly and avoid pressure from building up around the ankles and calves.
So, colder weather is not always bad for varicose veins. When temperatures drop, veins tighten, allowing for better blood flow and circulation. Consequently, you may experience a decrease in swelling and cramping during the winter; it should mean fewer cramps and swollen ankles.
Still, winter weather presents some specific challenges for managing varicose veins. Next, we will mention some factors that may arise during winter that can counteract the positive effect on veins.
These factors we should be aware of and keep in mind include:
In general, atmospheric pressure decreases during the winter season.
When the temperature falls low to a point for it to snow, the atmospheric pressure temporarily changes; this may lead your circulatory system to slow down and become less efficient, and blood does not pump as it should, which can aggravate vein issues.
Consequently, when this situation happens, blood pools inside the veins.
More than just putting a break on your outdoor training, cold weather slows down corporal processes, for example, the circulatory system, making them less performant.
Nevertheless, the cold weather is not bad for your veins. On the contrary, winter weather can bring the advantage of some specific benefits to venous health. For example, hot weather can block circulation and cause blood to collect in veins by dilating blood, while cold weather has the opposite effect.
As a result, as we mentioned before, lower temperatures usually constrict veins, improve blood flow, and relieve common symptoms of varicose veins, such as cramping and swelling.
Understandably, when it is cold, you would instead huddle indoors than go outside and exercise. But unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle and inactivity can increase your risk of developing varicose veins or worsen your symptoms.
Also, cold weather usually has low atmospheric pressure and can interfere with circulation in the body. Exercise supports correct blood flow through the veins in your legs. Instead of exercising outdoors, join a gym or walk briskly in warm clothing.
Less activity usually translates into weight gain, which means those extra pounds put more stress on already overburdened veins, and your legs are under more pressure. Not to mention that the vacation season falls during the winter months, so it is hard to avoid foods full of salt and calories.
While it is acceptable to indulge occasionally, it is essential to maintain a balanced diet rich in fiber-rich foods that promote circulation. Also, despite the cold weather, try to stay active indoors; this will keep the valves actively pumping blood through the veins.
Some ways to control the symptoms of varicose veins during cold weather may include:
For these reasons, protecting your veins from the adverse effects of hot or cold weather is essential. Be sure to be alert to symptoms of vein disease, such as discoloration, swelling, heaviness, oozing, eczema, itching, protrusion, restless legs, or soreness.
If someone you know or you have one or more of these symptoms, schedule a vein consultation with one of our vein specialists. Our skilled cardiologists treat the root of the problem and bring you relief through in-clinic vein treatments.
Summer means shorts, outdoor activities, and showing off your veins, having them on display, so check here for some hints on how to turn the winter season to your favor and treat your veins with a healthy vacation.
–Don’t get caught up in seasonal foods during the winter holidays when weight gain is a problem we face; You can enjoy the season but make a conscious effort to swap sugary treats for healthier options.
–Get your blood pumping; with the heat behind you, you can choose the amount of clothing needed to keep you comfortable while walking or running. You can do light cardio outdoors or a more intense workout indoors; make sure you do it!
–Enjoy the cold weather that brings your veins, meaning that cold weather has some redeeming qualities for the health of your veins. As we mentioned before, cold shrinks veins, so pain such as swelling and cramping may dissipate.
–You will be able to hide your vein treatment with comfortable clothing in winter because, depending on your vein treatment, you may have scarring, soreness, or bruising. You will also require special compression stockings to encourage healing, and winter makes a recovery easier for various reasons.
Cold temperatures are soothing to the veins and help reduce swelling; you will usually do less physical activity, so you will have time to rest and recover. Compression stockings will be easier to conceal and will also help keep you warm during the winter cold.
–It is better if you drink water instead of festive beverages; it is essential to ensure you get enough water. Getting enough water year-round is good advice.
Well-hydrated blood is more fluid and can travel through the veins more easily. This increased blood flow will relieve pressure, reduce the risk of blood clots, and reduce varicose veins or DVT problems.
During the winter, you are familiar with the challenges of cold weather and if you suffer from veins issues, this cold weather can aggravate your discomfort. So why not make this season, for example, the last season you endure the pain of varicose veins?
At Modern Heart and Vascular, comprehensive, non-surgical treatments for varicose veins and vein disorders are just around the corner. Our specialists lead a team of caring, highly trained experts at our clinics.
Using ultrasound diagnostics, our experts identify the source of your vein problem, so physicians can more effectively treat varicose and spider veins. As a result, our experts have helped patients return to the activities they love through minimally invasive treatments that can remove their varicose veins once and for all.
You no longer need to suffer if you are suffering from the symptoms of vein disorders. But, significantly, once a vein is damaged, you cannot repair it without medical attention.
Seeking help now, regardless of the weather, will restore your legs to the youthful appearance and performance they were designed for by foreseeing and preventing future complications in a time-honored way. So now, schedule an appointment today to ensure you are free from discomfort for the coming winter months and more!
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At the Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, we offer state-of-the-art cardiovascular care with innovative diagnostic tools and compassionate patient care. Our priority at Modern Heart and Vascular Institute is prevention. We help patients lead healthier lives by avoiding unnecessary procedures and surgeries.
This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.
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