If it seems like your varicose veins symptoms seem to worsen in the summer heat—especially for those of you who live in hot climates like Arizona—you are not imagining it. Talk to a qualified vein specialist and they will tell you that heat does have an effect on your blood circulation.
To understand how, it is probably helpful to know a little bit about how the circulatory system operates.
Amazing Perforator Veins
There are, in some senses, two separate venous circuits in your body. One serves the deeper part of your body—deep muscles and bones—the other the more superficial areas, like the skin and more superficial muscles. The two systems are interconnected by perforator veins that allow blood to travel between the two, as the heart pumps blood to the rest of your body and back again. When the temperature is cold, the body will concentrate blood flow in the deeper venous system. This helps the body to retain essential heat. When the outside temperature rises, more blood is sent to the peripheral venous system, which lies much closer to the skin surface. By doing this, the body is able to vent more heat to the outside to help cool your inner body.
There is no denying that this system is amazing!
However, if you have developed varicose veins in your superficial venous system, you might find that summer is a particularly tough time. It is more common than you think. Research has shown that 30% - 50% of patients with symptomatic chronic venous insufficiency have a combination of superficial and perforator insufficiency without deep venous disease.
As the body shunts blood towards the outer circulatory system to help cool you, increased blood volume puts more pressure on already distended veins and the valves within the leg veins. These leg veins bulge more, and likely burn, itch and hurt more as well.
Additionally, heat dilates blood vessels, which can further exacerbate the problem. This increased pressure on the valves that are intended to prevent the backflow of blood makes them more vulnerable to further damage.
It can help to keep your legs cool, and elevate them periodically. But people with varicose veins who live in hot climates like Arizona have two great reasons to have their circulatory health checked by a qualified vein specialist. If you are experiencing the discomfort and other symptoms of varicose veins, or if you are concerned that you might be suffering from chronic venous insufficiency, book an appointment for a consultation today. Your vein specialist can tailor a treatment plan just for you, and you can be back out and comfortably enjoying the warm weather in very little time!