How to Help Your Varicose Veins through Winter
Too much sunlight and high temperatures can cause issues for those with varicose veins in the summertime, but what about the winter months? The fact is that the winter months can be a problem for your venous insufficiency as well. Here’s a closer look at why that happens and how you can avoid it.
Why Varicose Veins Get Worse in Winter Months
When it gets cold outside, atmospheric pressure usually drops along with the temperature. Unfortunately, that slows down the body as well, including your circulatory system.
Another effect of the winter months is that we tend to bundle up, stay indoors and become less active. It’s the lack of physical activity that causes most of the problems with varicose veins, especially if you become sedentary and start to put on a few extra pounds.
Symptoms to Expect
All of the usual symptoms associated with varicose veins can become worse in the winter months if you’re not staying active. This includes:
- Pain after sitting or standing for long periods
- Aches and pains in the legs
- Swelling or muscle cramps in the legs
- Itching on or around veins
- Skin color changes around varicose veins
Indoor Exercises That Help
One of the best self-treatment things you can do during the winter months is to get active and get more exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to get outdoors for cross country skiing. Any activity that increases your heart rate for 30 minutes a day should be sufficient to keep your circulation flowing well, which will ease the symptoms.
Exercises that strengthen your calves and thighs are especially good, because that will help with leg circulation. Here are a few examples:
- Walking: If it’s too cold for a walk outside, simply walk around the home for a half-hour per day. You can also think about purchasing a treadmill or exercise bike to mix it up.
- Leg Lifts: Lie down on your side with one leg on top of the other. Slowly raise the upper leg, hold it upright for a few moments, and lower it. Then, switch sides and work the other leg.
- Chair Exercises: Sit in a chair and then stand up, and sit back down. Repeat multiple times to work your thigh muscles. Another simple chair exercise is to hold onto the back of the chair and use it to raise yourself up on your toes. Repeat multiple times to stretch and exercise the calves.
Running and weightlifting are two types of exercise you should avoid when you have varicose veins, because they put too much strain on the veins. The goal is gentle exercise to increase the circulatory blood flow.
Vitamins & Foods for Varicose Veins
Here’s a list of vitamins, minerals and foods you should be taking in when you have varicose veins:
- Copper: Found in beef liver, lentils, asparagus, almonds
- Bioflavonoids: Found in dark chocolate, cherries, kidney beans, mangoes, papayas
- Fruits: Berries, oranges, grapefruit, lemons
- Onions: Filled with Vitamins B6 and C, zinc, potassium, calcium & fiber
- Water: Stay properly hydrated to keep your blood volume constant
Contact Us at Vein & Vascular
If your varicose veins are bothering you this winter, get in touch with us at the Vein & Vascular Institute to Schedule a Consult. Come and meet our vein physicians in Vineland, Voorhees, Sewell and Lumberton, New Jersey this winter for effective treatment and management of your varicose veins.