Chronic Venous Disease (CV) or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is one of the most frequent pathologies among the population. In fact, according to data from the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine up to 71% of the population over 16 years of age present some symptoms of CVD, and 30% of the Spanish population suffers from the disease chronically. This disease, which affects women to a greater degree, is hereditary, chronic and progressive and worsens with age. In women over 50, for example, varicose veins are present in up to half of them. What’s more, Although it is present all year round, the arrival of heat aggravates the symptoms and further reduces the quality of life of patients with CVD. For this reason, it is necessary that, as spring arrives, people affected by chronic venous insufficiency pay special attention to the disease and take extreme measures. Otherwise, the disease can worsen and cause such serious complications as thrombophlebitis or deep vein thrombosis.
What symptoms are aggravated by heat?
The symptoms caused by chronic venous disease are very varied, and depend on the degree of it, but, in general, the most common are the following:
• Pain, tingling and heaviness in the legs. These symptoms appear at any stage of CVD and worsen with rest.
•Hinchazón, especially in calves and ankles. They get worse standing up.
•Calambres, about at night.
• Redness, dryness and itchiness.
• Presence of telangiectasias (spider veins), dilations of the capillaries, which are translated into small reddish or violet lines with the appearance of a cobweb.
•Varices reticular or varicose veins. Dilations of the veins of small size first (reticular) and longer and more visible when the disease is more advanced (varicose veins). If we treat venous insufficiency too early and consistently, it may never appear.
• Skin signs, such as dermatitis, eczema, hyperpigmentations … and even ulcers, but this usually appears when the disease is very advanced.
• Very advanced cases can lead to clots in varicose veins (varicoflebitis) the bleeding by ruptured varicose veins (varicorrhagia).
Tips to relieve symptoms
If we suffer from CVI, it must be treated from the first moment and always, not only in summer or when the discomfort is aggravated. Otherwise, the disease can progress to more dangerous stages. With these tips, the symptoms will be much more bearable, especially in the summer, with the arrival of heat and the dilation of the veins.
• Avoid the hottest hours. If you can avoid it, do not go outside during the hottest hours.
• Don’t sunbathe. Sunbathing is doubly bad for CVD. On the one hand, because when we sunbathe, we tend to be quiet, and being sedentary makes it worse. In addition, sunbathing will cause the temperature to increase the dilation of the veins. If you go to the beach or the pool, better in the water and moving. Other sources of direct heat on the legs, such as hot waxing, hot baths, or saunas, should also be avoided.
•Much water… Moisturizing inside and out is essential both to promote circulation and to make the skin more elastic and avoid symptoms such as itching, dermatitis …
•… and little salt. Diet is essential, not only to avoid obesity – one of the main risk factors – but also to promote circulation. Thus, we must avoid salt at the coast – it favors edema – and opt for abundant fruits and vegetables, especially those that favor circulation, such as berries, grapes, melon, etc.
• Don’t stop playing sports. In the heat it is less desirable, but it is precisely when it is best advised to control CVI. Look for hours of less heat, opt for water sports, walk instead of running … but stop moving!
• Loose clothing and comfortable shoes. Very tight garments are not advisable, as they hinder venous return, just like heels.
• Do not stand or sit for long periods of time. In case you have to take long trips by plane or car, stop often and get up whenever you can. To compensate, whenever you get the chance, raise your legs above the level of your heart.
• Get massages. With cold water (or a cold gel from the pharmacy), give yourself a good upward massage every day, like the one recommended in the Association Take care of your Veins. Always visit a physical masseuse or beauty center where you can get a good lymphatic drainage or pressotherapy, very useful to improve edema.
• Do not leave the stockings. During the summer, nobody likes to wear compression stockings, but it is important that you do not stop wearing them, even if it is only a few hours a day.
Never stop treatment
The adherence to many medical treatments decreases with the summer holidays … It is important that it never occurs, but even less so if the disease, as is the case, worsens with the heat. Thus, in addition to following the lifestyle advice described above, you should continue with the medication that you take regularly. Moreover, in many cases the doctor may even choose to increase or complete the medication.
If you don’t take specific medication, there are supplements or dermatological treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms, such as oral gels or venotonic and phlebotonic medications herbal or non-prescription, such as horse chestnut, ascorbic acid, diosmin, oxerutin, ginkgo biloba, butcher’s broom …