If you have a venous disease, your physician has probably advised you to stay away from hot water in spas and saunas, and even hot weather, because the heat causes your veins to dilate. This weakens the walls and causes pressure to build up, allowing blood to flow back and pool.

Cold Weather and Your Veins | Vein Specialist in Ventura and Los Angeles

Conversely, cold temperatures cause the veins to constrict, allowing them to function optimally and prevent pressure from increasing around the calves and ankles. This translates to minimal pain and reduced risk of swelling.

That said, extremely cold weather can be detrimental to the health of your veins in the following ways:

1. Changes in atmospheric pressure

Venous problems typically arise from increased pressure in the venous system due to a number of factors, including weight gain, prolonged standing or sitting, or even changes in atmospheric pressure. Severe cold weather can cause your body to feel heavier and inhibit proper blood flow in the veins, resulting in varicose or spider veins.

2. Slow down body functions

While cold weather increases metabolism to generate heat, it also slows down body functions to save energy. This includes lower blood circulation, which is made worse by physical inactivity. Without adequate pressure in the venous system to push blood against gravity, blood can begin to flow back and pool, creating varicose veins.

3. Lifestyle changes

From inactivity to dietary changes, cold weather causes you to change your normal routine to make life easier, but not necessarily healthier. Cold weather may cause you to sit or lay on your sofa or bed for extended periods as you watch TV or browse the internet, as you indulge in cookies, snacks, and other unhealthy foods. You may also change your diet to include fatty soups and stews to help you keep warm, resulting in weight gain and increased pressure in your venous system.

How to counter the cold for healthy veins

When indoors, consider relaxing with your legs elevated to make it easier for blood in your legs to return to the heart. Also walk around your home to stretch your legs, and massage your feet and ankles when possible. Lastly, take the opportunity to prepare healthy homemade foods rich in omega-3s and fiber to help improve blood circulation.