Keeping Your Veins Healthy in the Winter
The chilly temperatures of an Iowa winter bring a variety of health drawbacks, mostly due to the fact that we are shut up indoors without much physical activity. The season can be particularly cumbersome for varicose vein sufferers that may see an increase in their uncomfortable symptoms due to lack of activity and other factors. If you are feeling the effects of the cold weather, the staff at PCI Vein Center has a few tips to up your vein health this time of year.
Winter Health Benefits
Those frigid temperatures actually benefit our bodies in some ways. Colder weather constricts blood vessels, which makes it easier for them to function properly. Reduced pressure inside the vein can lead to less blood pooling, particularly in the lower leg veins that are the most vulnerable to varicosity. That effect may lead to a reduction in painful varicose vein symptoms for some sufferers that welcome relief from the usual cramping and aching they typically experience at the end of a busy day.
Winter Health Drawbacks
Winter also brings a few extra health risks, highlighted by the fact that the majority of heart attacks and strokes occur during the cold weather season. The sedentary nature of winter, primarily due to the majority of us hiding indoors from the cold and snow, can take its toll on our health in many ways. Food choices are not always as good this time of year either, as many of us turn to sugar and fat-laden comfort foods to get us through the dreary months until spring.
Getting in the Exercise
The good news is we can combat the health risks associated with winter with some good old-fashioned exercise and other lifestyle changes. While you may not feel like going for your morning run in sub-zero temperatures, you can shift your workouts indoors until temperatures start to rise. Some of the best indoor exercise options for varicose vein sufferers include:
- Swimming in an indoor pool
- Laps on a recumbent bike
- Yoga or Pilates classes
For those brave enough to face the cold head-on, winter sports like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can increase circulation in the legs and improve the symptoms of varicose veins.
Other Healthy Choices
In addition to changing up your exercise routine, consider these healthy choices during the winter season:
- Maintain a healthy diet by limiting fat and sugar and stocking up on fresh produce
- Consider a vitamin D supplement or vitamin D rich food when you can’t get sufficient amounts of the nutrient from the sun
- Elevate your legs while you are sitting to give your hard-working leg veins a break
- Wear compression stockings to increase circulation and minimize varicose vein symptoms
Is Now the Time for Vein Treatment?
Winter is often the best time to consider varicose vein treatment. This season gives you time indoors to protect treated skin from sun exposure. It is also a more comfortable time of year to wear compression stockings, a frequent accompaniment to many vein treatments. If you schedule your procedure now, your legs will likely be completely healed in time for your summer vacation plans.
At PCI Vein Center, we offer the latest in minimally-invasive vein treatments. All of our procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and patients are often able to return to their daily schedules as soon as their treatment is over. To find out which vein treatment is right for you, contact PCI Vein Center today at 319-774-8432.