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Dr. Brittany Cook on Cold Weather’s Effects on Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are never fun to deal with. Not only can they be unsightly, but they can be painful and cause swelling, aching, and redness. If you suffer from varicose veins, you may have noticed all of these symptoms are exacerbated by the cold weather. We’ll go into why that’s the case and offer a few of Dr. Britanny Cook’s recommendations for alleviating symptoms.do varicose vein symptoms get worse during winter?

Cold Weather and Varicose Veins

There are a handful of reasons why cold weather has a negative effect on varicose veins. Some of the explanations are scientific and others are based on changes in our behavior.

Let’s begin with the science. Cold weather naturally changes our body’s blood flow. Extremely low temperatures are not good for our organs, so our body protects itself by:

  • Contracting muscles
  • Constricting veins
  • Increasing blood flow to the heart

While this process does make us warmer, it can make varicose vein symptoms worse by putting extra pressure on our veins. 

Changes in our behavior in response to cold weather can also aggravate varicose veins. Dr. Britanny Cook recommends a healthy diet and regular exercise to help minimize symptoms, but unfortunately, these things can get overlooked during the winter months.

Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas cookies — nobody would blame you for indulging in these festive treats. However, sometimes these indulgences spread beyond the special holidays and our diets get put by the wayside. Extra weight puts more strain on our veins, potentially causing flare-ups.

Colder weather also adds a barrier to physical exercise. Taking a few leisurely weeks around the holidays can feel like a fun end-of-the-year break. It’s no longer convenient to take a jog around the neighborhood because you have to wear so many layers, so the jogs just stop happening. Unfortunately, this more sedentary season can cause varicose veins to feel worse.

Click here to learn more about what causes varicose veins.

Dr. Brittany Cook’s Recommendations for Relieving Symptoms During the Winter

Outside of medical treatment, one of the best ways to alleviate varicose vein symptoms is through a healthy lifestyle. This is why Dr. Brittany Cook recommends paying special attention to physical activity and clean eating habits during the colder months.

It doesn’t take much exercise to notice a difference. Set aside half an hour a few days a week to go on a brisk walk, ride your bike, or do something similar that uses your leg muscles. If it’s too cold to walk outside, try taking a few laps around your local mall or an indoor track. Actively using your legs will increase your blood flow and alleviate some symptoms of varicose veins.

Although it’s not fun, sticking to a diet or limiting the holiday treats will contribute to your overall health. A healthier weight will help prevent symptoms from flaring up or getting worse.

Why Winter is the Best Time for Treatment

Colder weather can make varicose vein symptoms worse. But the good news is winter is actually a great time to begin treatment!

Click here to learn more about why fall and winter are the best times for varicose vein treatment.

The extra clothing in the wintertime offers a chance to hide the symptoms of varicose vein treatment. Some of these symptoms include the following:

  • Insurance mandated compression stockings
  • Temporary blemishes from treatment
  • Bruising
  • Redness
  • Swelling

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of varicose veins, call the East Tennessee Vein Clinic office and schedule your free screening with Dr. Brittany Cook. You can reach us online or by phone at (865) 686-0507 or toll-free at (866) 281-VEIN.

“I am so thankful that I met such a wonderful and caring Doctor and staff who treated me wonderful and cared about me. May God bless each and everyone.”

- J.L., Knoxville, TN