Over 35 percent of people in the United States are affected by varicose veins. These are enlarged veins that can be attributed to age-related changes, pregnancy, obesity, and prolonged sitting or standing.
Heat and Varicose Veins
You may notice that varicose veins appear worse after a long, hot bath and during hot summer days. At times, heat can also worsen the symptoms associated with varicose veins such as leg cramps and heavy, aching legs.
How Heat Can Worsen Varicose Veins
The body has its own way of maintaining balance. When it gets too warm, it cools itself down by dilating or expanding the veins. This allows more blood to flow on the surface of the skin. Coupled with the process of sweating, the vein dilation helps in cooling down the body. However, this process tends to affect those with varicose veins.
The increase in blood flow further stretches the enlarged veins which are found just beneath the surface of the skin. This cooling mechanism adds more pressure to the damaged veins, causing further swelling and pooling.
Heat may cause someone with varicose veins to experience the following symptoms:
- Aching legs
The legs may have an achy, heavy sensation and feel worse during hot days. This is because the veins tend to work harder to efficiently pump the increasing blood volume against gravity and back to the heart. This is tougher to do for already damaged veins.
- Swelling of ankle and feet
Some people with varicose veins experience swollen ankles and feet on warmer days. This has to do with poor circulation in the area, as a result of inefficient pumping activity by the damaged, enlarged veins.
- Leg cramps
While leg cramps are common among people with varicose veins, they tend to get worse as temperatures increase. This can be associated with overworked veins and the pooling of deoxygenated blood in the surrounding tissue.
What Can You Do About It?
If you have varicose veins, it is best to avoid activities that expose you to excessive heat. This can mean saying ‘no’ to saunas and hot tubs, and opting for ‘warm’ instead of ‘hot’ baths.
During hot, summer days try to keep your body cool by sitting in the shade, avoiding direct sun during the hottest hours of the day, drinking plenty of water (sufficient hydration can reduce or prevent leg cramps), elevating your feet, and trying not to stand or sit for long periods of time.
Varicose Veins Can Be Treated
If you are suffering from painful varicose veins, there are several treatment options available. The experts at Premier Vein Clinics of Knoxville can assess your specific condition and provide you with options to best treat your individual needs.
Contact us today at 865-588-8229 or request a free varicose vein screening online. Stop living in pain and let us help you get your legs back!