October 12, 2021
If there’s one thing we can count on in the UK, it’s that the summer is never long enough. Cold weather is already on its way and so we return to our winter lifestyle. Staying indoors with a warm drink, taking hot baths and keeping warm under the covers are all on the cards for the next few months.
But on top of our other lifestyle changes, what should we keep in mind when it comes to our health during the winter months? More specifically, what is the effect on our vascular health and the chances of forming spider veins?
Think of spider veins as smaller, less aggressive varicose veins. They are sometimes also called ‘thread veins’, ‘broken veins’, ‘surface veins’ or ‘venous flares’. Spider veins are thin but prominent, visible under the surface of the skin. They’re basically small blood vessels in the outermost layer of the skin which have become dilated and visible. If they’re deeper in the layer then they may be harder to see, but if they’re closer to the surface they may be more prominent.
Unlike varicose veins, you’re unlikely to feel them and they won’t cause you any pain. However, many people who form spider veins choose to treat them for the sake of appearances; they’re unsightly and can affect your self-confidence. Spider veins are also often associated with underlying vein problems, so if you do find yourself with some new spider veins it’s worth getting them checked out.
Cold weather can affect spider veins in a number of ways, and unfortunately all of them are negative. This is the time of year that we need to be most careful with our vascular health.
This first effect to consider is vasodilation. This is just a fancy way of describing when your blood vessels widen for increased blood flow. Vasodilation is a completely natural process and is triggered by a number of things, one of which is increased body heat. So then why would this be an issue in winter-time? In summer we tend to keep our body temperature more even, while in the winter we go out, get cold and then come indoors and turn on the heat. It’s when we’re warming ourselves up that vasodilation occurs.
As mentioned, vasodilation is a normal process and not necessarily a problem for any healthy person. However, when it comes to our spider veins, the increased blood flow can make them appear much more prominent.
The second issue with winter is the amount of exercise we tend to get. With indoor gyms there’s no reason that we can’t work out in winter, but we all know how it is: it’s much harder to get yourself motivated to go out when it’s grey and drizzly outside. The lack of walks and other outdoor activities means that we’re also getting much less peripheral exercise. Unfortunately, this is a big factor in our overall vascular health, and can contribute to the formation of spider veins. So as hard as it is, we need to try to stay as active during the colder months as we do during the summer.
Lastly we have food and drink. Holiday food is just so tasty but also quite unhealthy. We all have a tendency to both over-eat and make poorer food choices during the winter holidays. And no one’s saying we shouldn’t enjoy ourselves, we deserve it! The important thing is to watch our regular diet and not to go too crazy during the holidays. A poor diet and overall weight gain are contributing factors to worsening vascular health.
We may also drink less water during winter, but it’s important to stay hydrated. Well-hydrated blood is thinner and can travel through the veins easier, resulting in increased blood flow that alleviates stress and reduces the risk of blood clots and spider veins.
There’s a good chance that even if you take good care of yourself during the winter, you may still find some spider veins. The good news is that you’re not alone; around 80% of adults will develop spider veins at some point during their lives. The better news is there are treatments available to take care of them.
The best treatments available are Veinwave for spider veins on the face, or Veinwave combined with Micro Sclerotherapy for the legs. Veinwave is a treatment where a precisely targeted source of heat is used to seal, collapse, and gently remove your spider veins. Micro Sclerotherapy involves injecting a saline solution into the targeted vein which makes the vein wall collapse. With no blood flowing through it, the vein is naturally absorbed back into the body. Both treatments are minimally invasive and only slightly uncomfortable.
Contact us at the UK Vein Clinic to arrange your initial 30 minute consultation.
Take our two-minute diagnostic test to see if you could benefit from varicose vein treatment.
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