Venous insufficiency is what happens when the veins are no longer regulating and directing the flow of blood appropriately, sometimes leaking or becoming backed up and swollen like in varicose veins.
While not all vein diseases are affected by the heat, the symptoms of venous insufficiency in particular are prone to flare up around this time of year.
Here are the early signs of venous insufficiency you should watch out for this summer:
Early Sign #1: Edema or Swelling
Even if you don’t typically experience edema, you might notice your legs swelling during the hot summer months. Swollen legs can be caused by a few things so this isn’t a sure-fire sign of venous insufficiency, but it is one of the most common symptoms.
When our veins heat up from high temperatures or high activity, they dilate or expand, making room for more blood to flow and allowing heat to be released through sweat.
If your veins were already having trouble regulating the flow of blood, this extra blood flow could make existing swelling worse.
The extra blood flow also raises your blood pressure, which along with the loss of essential salts that comes with heavy sweating, can cause surrounding fluid to accumulate in the legs even if swelling wasn’t a problem before.
Early Sign #2: More Fatigue & Heaviness
The summer heat also makes that dull, heavy feeling in the legs worse. This is in large part due to the extra blood flow we talked about in #1. Many patients complain of increased fatigue in one or both legs as well.
Early Sign #3: Bulging Veins
When the valves in the blood vessels of the legs are no longer able to adequately regulate the flow of blood back upward toward the heart, it begins to pool in the vein.
This is what causes the bulging, swollen veins known as “varicose veins,” which can be made worse in the summer, also due to the extra blood flow. Varicose veins can sometimes be accompanied by the swelling, fatigue, and heaviness in #1 and #2.
Early Sign #4: Cramping or Aching
It’s not very comfortable for your legs to be holding all of that extra fluid. Another early sign of venous insufficiency is a cramping or aching feeling in the leg, which often comes from the backed up fluid and increased pressure on the veins.
The pain associated with venous insufficiency can range from mild to very intense, so do not wait to seek treatment even if you’re only experiencing a little bit of pain.
Don’t Take Off Your Compression Stockings
One of the easiest ways to relieve some of these symptoms right away and until you can seek treatment is to wear medical-grade compression stockings. The heat can make wearing them uncomfortable at times, but unless you really need to don’t take them off.
Many patients stop wearing their compression stockings when it gets really hot, which can often add to their symptoms getting worse.
If you’re experiencing any of the above or think that you may be at risk of developing venous insufficiency, find out for sure and start feeling better with a free consultation. Call us at (512) 726-0599 or contact us online to schedule.