How Summer Heat Affects Varicose Veins
It is summertime in Florida, and brutal heat waves can bring danger and discomfort to the elderly and those with medical conditions.
If you suffer from varicose veins, you may dread the warmer months and the added symptoms they bring. While everyone else is enjoying the long, sunny days and hanging out at the beach, you wonder how to cope with uncomfortable and painful legs.
Various treatments and tips can make this warm time of year more bearable.
Keep reading to understand how the summer heat exacerbates your varicose veins and what you can do about it.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
The role of veins is to take blood that needs oxygen back to the heart. For the veins in our legs, this means working against gravity to pump blood upward. Our leg muscles help with this when they move.
All veins have tiny valves that keep blood flowing in the right direction. When the walls and valves weaken in the superficial veins that lie just under the skin, you get varicose veins.
This is because the blood starts to move in the wrong direction and pools in the vein. This leads to bulging, thick, twisted veins. These can be unsightly, leading to confidence issues, but they can also hurt.
An estimated 20 percent of all people will get varicose veins at some point. However, they are more common in women.
People who sit or stand for long periods, the elderly, and obese are also at risk.
Some of the symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Heavy, swollen legs
- Tight, itchy skin around bulging veins
- Pain or cramps in calf muscles
The discomfort will usually increase at the end of the day or after sitting or standing for a long time.
It is important to note that in some cases, even varicose veins that are not very visible can cause a lot of discomfort.
How Does Heat Hurt Varicose Veins?
The above symptoms will also get worse when it is hot. To understand this, we need to know how our veins function in the heat.
When our body senses higher temperatures, it will try and cool down. To do this, it will dilate the veins and send more blood rushing to the skin’s surface. This mechanism allows heat to leave your body and results in sweating.
Unfortunately, if you have varicose veins, this puts more pressure on weak walls and valves and leads to more blood pooling. This increases the aching and swelling that you suffer from.
Treatment for Varicose Veins
There are several ways to reduce the discomfort of varicose veins in summer. You can ensure you drink a lot of water and try to stay indoors at the hottest times of the day.
Be sure to exercise and eat as healthily as possible, which is good for your circulation and all-around health. Avoiding sitting and standing for long periods is also a good idea. If you do need to sit or lie down, elevating your legs can ease your symptoms.
You can also seek one of the following treatments for varicose veins.
- Compression stockings
- Ultrasound therapy
- Radiofrequency vein ablation
Your vein specialist will advise you on the best treatment for your case.
Get Rid of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are not only painful but also bad for confidence and might prevent you from going outdoors and enjoying the summer. If you are dreading the next heat wave because of worsening varicose vein pain, it might be time to see a cardiologist specializing in vascular treatment.
Contact us for an appointment to reduce varicose veins.