You know you have a greater risk for sunburn in the summer, when you spend more time outdoors, and a greater risk for the cold and flu in the winter. But do the seasons have any effect on varicose veins? It might be the case that winter, with its cold weather, holiday parties and increased stress, can make your vein problems worse. If you’re among the 35% of Americans who has varicose veins, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery, here’s what you need to know about winter an its effect on your veins.
From over indulging at holiday parties to eating heavier, higher calorie foods in response to the cold, many people put on a few extra pounds over the winter. Those extra pounds can make an existing vein problem worse or be enough to trigger a new problem. The more weight you carry, the more pressure there is on the veins and the harder they need to work to pump blood up to the heart.
Exercise levels tend to drop in the winter. It’s difficult to convince yourself to go for a run when it’s 35 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Even going to the gym can be challenging during the winter, since you still have to drive in the cold or in rainy or icy conditions to get there. But exercise and activity are a must if you want to keep your veins healthy. A lack of movement can interfere with the flow of blood and lead to pooling in your veins. Fortunately, there are ways to make sure you get enough exercise in the winter, without having to go for a run in the cold or drive over to the gym. Keep a jump rope by your couch. When you’re watching TV, jump rope for about a minute during each commercial break. You can also invest in an exercise bike or treadmill for your home so that you have some way to get moving without going outdoors.
According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, excessive heat can make vein problems worse, as the warmth can make your veins swell. That means that taking long, hot showers or baths during the winter time or cranking up your heating system can actually make your varicose veins worse. Resist the urge to soak in a hot tub and limit your showers to just a few minutes.
Here’s some good news about winter: it’s a great time for scheduling an appointment with a vein doctor. Treating varicose or spider veins during the winter means you’ll be able to show off your new, great looking legs once spring comes around. To learn more about your vein treatment options in Cincinnati, call 859-286-7333 to schedule an appointment at Vascular & Interventional Associates today.