The old-timers sometimes make weather predictions based on how their “bones felt.” A grandfather might hold his hand to his aching shoulder and announce, “It’s gonna turn cold tomorrow, I can feel it in my bones!” But what about veins? Can weather changes be felt in your veins? How does weather affect your varicose veins and your eventual need for varicose vein treatment? These are intriguing questions so let’s take a closer look.
With regards to changes in temperature, varicose veins are exactly the opposite of diseases like arthritis and fibromyalgia. With the latter, symptoms seem to ease as the temperature increases and or when one moves to a warmer climate. However, with varicose veins, a change to higher temperatures seems to make symptoms worse. Often, you sweat more and therefore lose salt and other electrolytes. This can in turn cause your varicose veins to retain more fluid, causing your legs to swell, and other symptoms, like leg heaviness and cramping, to worsen.
Warm weather can affect varicose veins in other ways too. Varicose veins close to the surface of the skin may dilate due to the heat hitting the skin and warming the veins up. This causes the varicose veins to expand and fluid to accumulate. You may also notice your ankles swelling more. This combined with the heat can make one not want to wear their compression stockings, understandably so. Thus, if you can afford a summer home in Alaska, you may be able to decrease weather related varicose vein symptoms and stave off varicose vein treatment at least a few years.
Cooler weather can also give your veins a much needed break, as long as it’s not too cold. Veins, including varicose veins, tend to constrict when it gets cooler, allowing your veins valves to close more easily and reducing the back flow of blood. This will reduce swelling in your legs and reduce other symptoms. So, if you live in a particularly hot place, you may want to take a trip up into the higher elevations where it is cooler to give your veins a break.
Changes in the atmospheric pressure can also affect your varicose veins. For example, just before the temperature drops significantly in the winter, the atmospheric pressure may take a dramatic drop, even before one can noticeably tell the temperature has dropped. This can make someone with varicose veins feel like their legs are extra heavy all of a sudden. So, it would not be out of the question for your elder aunt to say, “I feel a cold spell coming on in my legs!” and she would not be talking about her bones, but rather her varicose veins making her legs feel heavy!
Weather also has indirect effects on varicose veins. In the winter, we tend to become more sedentary as our body metabolism tends to slow down a bit. We also tend to eat more because the “feast” holidays tend to be concentrated in the winter. Our “famine or feast” ancestry has also hard wired our brains to yearn for more calories in the winter and eat whatever we can find to fatten up for the winter when there may not be as much food to forage in the wild or game to hunt. So, without the exercise to help move the circulation along and the extra weight gain, it makes sense that those people who live in climates with extended periods of extreme winter will be more likely to need varicose vein treatment by the time they hit their senior years.
People suffering with varicose veins also often have skin issues. It is not uncommon to have skin rashes, or more simply, dry flaky skin. Of course, advanced stages of varicose veins can include leg ulcers and heavily discolored skin due to “blood bruising” under the skin. These symptoms of varicose veins seem to get worse in colder weather, especially in cold dry weather, so common in the northern and northeastern portions of the United States. On the other hand, humidity can actually improve these particular symptoms somewhat, especially if it is not too hot.
If you see noticeable signs of varicose veins on your legs or other body areas, you can always get a free consultation at Metro Vein Centers, a comprehensive varicose vein treatment center, to determine the best form of varicose vein treatment for your condition. You should also pay close attention to your body to check for symptoms of varicose veins even if you don’t see them. For example, if your legs swell, itch, or burn, these are all signs of underlying varicose vein issues, even if you don’t see the characteristic blue bulgy veins on the surface. In this case, you can determine if you indeed have varicose veins by getting a duplex ultrasound performed at Metro Vein Centers.
Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that weather does not affect your body, including your varicose veins. The older folks who have lived on this planet for many years, and experienced first hand the changes in their bodies through many seasonal changes, will tell you all about how their varicose veins and varicose vein symptoms change season to season. Just ask them and you’ll likely get an ear full! In the meantime, you can help avoid varicose vein treatment by understanding the effects of seasonal changes and do something about it. For example, try to stay cooler in the summer and try to exercise more indoors in the winter! If your veins are really bad, you may want to consider moving to a cooler climate, no kidding!