Why varicose veins can get worse in the winter

6th February 2018 by Daryll Baker0
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While the winter offers some respite for many suffering from varicose veins as it allows them to cover the unsightly veins up, the condition can be aggravated during the colder months. The winter can also lead to vein issues occurring, such as spider veins.

So, why exactly does the cold weather of winter negatively affect our vein health, causing or aggravating varicose veins and other vein conditions?

Less inclined to exercise in the winter

As the cold weather bites, it can be tempting to curl back under the duvet during the winter rather than going for a run! A decreased level of activity during the winter can mean varicose veins can get worse.

Walking is regarded as being one of the best forms of exercise there is to help prevent varicose veins. So, even if you don’t feel like putting on your trainers and pounding the streets on a five-mile run, practising brisk walking regularly throughout the winter can help prevent the onset of varicose veins or stop the condition getting worse.

Comfort eating

As easy it is to refrain from exercising in the winter, it is to reach for stodgy comfort food, for a quick ‘energy’ fix. Our diet can have a direct affect on the condition of our veins. Instead of reaching for sugary or fatty snacks, try to maintain a diet that is rich in fibre and has plenty of fruits and vegetables.

A high-fibre diet can help you keep to a healthy weight and prevent varicose veins from occurring or the condition worsening. Similarly, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables boosts the antioxidants in the body, and by doing so, makes the veins stronger.

An alteration in atmospheric pressure

Extremely cold weather leads to temporary changes in the atmosphere, which can have a negative impact on the body. The alteration in the atmospheric pressure can make the body feel heavier and, as a result, reduce the efficiency of the blood circulation. Poor blood circulation is implicated with the occurring of varicose veins.

To maintain good vein health and, by doing so, help prevent varicose veins and other vascular conditions occur on the skin or worsen, it is important to exercise regularly and have a good diet all year round, particularly during the winter.

If you are concerned about varicose veins or other conditions affecting the veins and would like to speak to an expert in vascular health, get in contact with Daryll Baker at the Vascular Consultancy, a leading UK specialist in providing advice, diagnosis and treatment options for conditions affecting the veins.


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Daryll Baker is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital London and Clinical Lead for North Central Region Vascular Services.

He read Medicine at Oxford University and trained in Vascular Surgery in Nottingham, London and Edinburgh. He obtained his research PhD from the University of Wales.

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