Not only in the summertime our legs run hot. Even winter has its venom traps: endless snakes at winter sale or when buying gifts, underfloor heating or weight gain are real strains for the veins. In addition: Rain, snow and sleet showers do not tempt everyone to take regular walks. Also, the "at least once a week sports discipline" gets in the cold and gloomy season wavering.
What is the function of our veins?
The veins take oxygenated blood from the tissues and carry it back to the heart against gravity. In the legs, the veins get help from the muscle pumps. As the leg muscles contract, they exert pressure on the deep veins, transporting the blood toward the heart. The leg muscles relax, preventing venous valves, that the blood flows back, so not to the heart.
How do you develop stressed veins?
Frequent standing, possibly in tight boots, damages the calf muscle pump, which transports the blood against gravity back to the heart. No wonder that then small niches form in the blood vessels in which the blood "allows short breaks". The venous valves will not close properly.
As a result, the blood does not flow into the deep venous system but sags in the superficial veins. Through this volume load, the superficial veins expand: the vein walls slacken, give up and lose their elasticity and strength.
Venous problems of couch potatoes
Especially when it's wet and cold outside, the sofa and armchairs attract more than just physical activity. But this cosiness brings problems for our veins: Active muscle work in the legs helps the veins in their task, the blood against gravity to the heart back.
However, the venous valves rely on a well-trained muscles. If this leaves something to be desired, there is also the danger of loosening veins here.
How do stressed veins express themselves?
Cosmetically ugly, but mostly harmless are small, superficial spider veins. But they can already be signs of damage to the lower lying veins. If larger, superficial vessels are affected, this is called varicose veins. These are often accompanied by tired legs, swelling, tension and tingling in the legs, sometimes itching and nocturnal leg cramps.
Frequent standing and sitting lead to overstretching due to the pressure of the blood on the vein walls. The signs of redness, swelling, heat and pain are already suggestive of phlebitis.
The role of overweight in venous problems
Being overweight not only affects our heart health, but also that of our veins. Cookies, marzipan, Christmas goose, New Year's fondue and then also carnival donuts - combined with a Couchpotatoe-existence, they lead in most cases to a gain in weight.
A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains helps to reduce obesity and ultimately benefits our veins.
Barefoot in the snow instead of heat build-up
Nice boots - best knee high - are indeed an eye-catcher. But that does not affect our veins. On the contrary: A high shaft edge laces the leg downright. In addition, if high heels are added, the natural rolling of the foot is hampered when walking. What is detrimental to the function of the veins.
High heels affect the return of the blood in the direction of the heart, as the foot and calf muscles are hampered by this footwear in their work. Vein experts also warn against overheated rooms, especially underfloor heating, in combination with long sitting or standing.
Support tights can at least be of help to people who need a lot, such as shop assistants in overheated department stores. If you suffer from swollen and aching legs more often in the winter, you should turn the heating down. This not only protects the environment, but also the veins!
10 tips for the care of the veins
- Water treading á la Kneipp in cold water, changing showers. The winter alternative: walking barefoot in the snow strengthens the body's defenses and pushes the venous function (after that it may be a warm foot bath).
- Obesity puts strain on the veins.
- Drinking a lot is important!
- Venous-friendly sport such as swimming or cycling promotes blood flow.
- Also applies to the shopping marathon: use stairs instead of lift.
- Put your legs up as often as possible.
- Avoid long sitting.
- When sitting, do not cross your legs as the veins are otherwise squeezed.
- Tight boots or shoes with high heels affect blood flow.
- Avoid too much heat, such as long sunbathing.