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01 May 2016

How winter affects blood circulation in your legs

The colder weather is on it's way and it may affect your circulation. Here are some of the symptoms to watch out for during winter.

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People who have symptoms associated with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI*) in the veins of their legs need a little extra support during the cold season so that they can enter summer with a spring in their step,says Maameya Dankwa, brand manager at Nativa, marketers of the Venavine® range. 

She explains that chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the walls of the veins, or the valves, in the lower leg veins do not work effectively.

The resulting impaired circulation of blood flow from the leg back towards the heart can manifest in unattractive varicose or bulging veins, swollen legs, changes in skin colour and texture, or non-healing wounds.

The condition is common among adults, with an estimated prevalence of around 17% worldwide. It is higher in industrialized countries and is associated with occupations which require standing for long periods of time.

Symptoms of poor circulation in the legs:

• Cold feet

• Pale looking feet

• Pain

• Cramps

• Swelling and water retention

• Aching

• Numbness or fatigue in the feet/legs

• Tingling sensation

The effects of winter:

Generally cold exposure causes the body’s topical capillaries to contract in an attempt to conserve heat. This action improves the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, possibly by preventing excess blood from entering the veins and pooling there. Heat has the opposite effect. Capillaries dilate in an attempt to get rid of excess heat allowing more blood to enter the legs, with more blood pooling and worsened symptoms.

Winter affects chronic venous insufficiency in the following ways:

• Not only do we tend to exercise less in winter, but we also move less to try and conserve heat, less movement results in less muscle action, and as muscle contraction is needed to assist our veins to return blood to our hearts, reduced movement can aggravate symptoms.

• We tend to sit in front of heaters in winter. Heat aggravates the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency.

• One of the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency is dry, itchy skin. Winter can worsen this due to the effect of cold dry air, or the drying effects of heated air.

• People often wear tight leggings or pants during winter. Unlike compression stockings that only compress the lower leg (calf) in order to assist blood flow back to the heart, leggings compress the whole leg including the thigh, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart from the veins. 

Seeking relief:

The pain caused by venous insufficiency is often relieved by walking or by elevating the legs. Warmth tends to aggravate the symptoms, while cold tends to relieve them. Compression stockings can ameliorate or prevent the pain associated with venous insufficiency.

While no oral medication is known to help varicose veins disappear, some of the common symptoms such as pain, discomfort, fatigue and heavy leg feeling associated with chronic venous insufficiency can be alleviated with the right supportive formula*.

The Venavine range has a triple action benefit as it strengthens the leg vein walls, protects the veins and relieves tired, achy or swollen legs whilst also improving circulation in the legs.

For more information visit www.venavine.co.za or call the customer care centre on 0860 628482 (NATIVA). The product is available for online purchase at Venavine.

 
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