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Is The Cold Weather Making Your Varicose Veins Worse?

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There are a number of reasons that winter is not typically everyone’s favorite season, and the biggest reason of all is the cold.

Many people loathe being cold, and we don’t blame you. It makes doing anything and everything more difficult and less enjoyable. Why would you want to brave the cold and darkness to hit the gym when you’re perfectly comfortable on the couch bundled-up with a blanket and a good movie?  It can be a real struggle.

But did you know that winter is also a struggle for your veins? Yes, it is true – because you move less, winter can make your varicose veins worse.

Knowing that, you should prepare yourself to better handle winter in order to keep your varicose vein issues at bay.

Today we share how the cold weather affects your varicose veins, and what you can do about it.

forest covered in snow

How Cold Weather Affects Varicose Veins

1. Air temperature changes

Exposure to cold temperatures can cause blood vessels and muscles to constrict, causing blood to return to your heart faster. This is how your circulatory system helps keep you warm. For some, this can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase, making your heart work harder. As a result, more pressure is put on your veins which can make symptoms of vein disease feel worse.

2. Less physical activity

The warmer the weather, the more likely people are to take advantage of some fun in the sun and physical activities. However, as temperatures drop and the weather gets colder outside, people are less and less likely to head to the gym or even do a convenient workout at home; staying wrapped up in a blanket is far too easy and comfortable.

And, as we’ve mentioned in the past, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the worst things for your veins and one of the leading causes of vein issues. Unfortunately, winter is the season where people are more sedentary than usual, meaning the chances of vein issues flaring up are higher than any other time of the year. 

3. Weight gain

Less exercise and eating all those holiday treats can lead to winter weight gain.

Weight gain isn’t only something that is unwanted when it comes to your vein health, it is something that can have negative consequences. Weight gain puts additional stress and pressure on your veins, which opens up a whole slew of problems.

Explore these healthy recipes to keep your veins healthy all winter.

How to Keep Your Veins Healthy in the Winter

Even though the weather outside is frightful, there are ways you can keep your veins healthy. 

The key to keeping veins healthy in the winter lies in exercise. It doesn’t need to be a marathon or a two-hour workout at the gym seven days a week. Rather thirty minutes a day of something that you can realistically participate in every day is exactly what you should be doing. That may be walking, it may be yoga, it may be Pilates.

women in teal winter jacket walking on street

Whatever it is, get moving every day and try not to overindulge during this time of year. It is easier to eat more when you spend more time indoors. Try to find a healthy balance between what you eat and physical activity and you will improve your overall health and vein health this winter.

Though cold weather isn’t the sole reason you may be struggling with symptoms of vein disease, it can exacerbate the situation, and that’s something you want to steer clear of.

Do you feel your varicose veins are getting worse this winter?

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Satish Vayuvegula
Dr. Satish Vayuvegula is the National Medical Director at Vein Clinics of America. Certified by the American Board of Venous & Lymphatic Medicine, Dr. Satish Vayuvegula is recognized as a physician who has met rigorous standards of knowledge and extensive training in phlebology, the diagnosis and treatment of varicose vein disease and related disorders. Dr. Satish also shares his passion and expertise by serving as a board member of the American Vein and Lymphatic Society, the predominant national organization for venous and lymphatic disease.

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