Our winter legs tend to stay hidden behind trousers and jeans, thick tights or boots. They are not the fun and flirty stars of summer. Out of sight, out of mind…
However, just because they are tucked away doesn’t mean that legs haven’t got their own little needs. Anyone with symptoms associated with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI*) in their legs will still need to provide their precious pins with support and loving kindness during the cold season so that they can enter summer with a spring in their step.
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. And the condition continues whether legs are on show or not. Symptoms of poor circulation in the legs are:
- Cold feet
- Pale looking feet
- Swelling and water retention
- Numbness or fatigue in the feet/legs
- Tingling sensation
Winter affects chronic venous insufficiency in a special way because of our exposure to both cold and heat. Cold usually causes the body’s topical capillaries to contract in an attempt to conserve heat and so surprisingly improves the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, possibly by preventing excess blood from entering the veins and pooling there. Heat however has the opposite effect. Capillaries dilate in an attempt to get rid of excess heat and allow more blood to enter the legs, resulting in more blood pooling and worsened symptoms. This affects us as we do tend to sit in front of heaters and stay immobile in heated rooms in winter.
Winter can also worsen dry and itchy skin, which is one of the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency. This is due to the effect of cold dry air or drying heated air. And winter wardrobes don’t help. Tight pants or leggings can reduce blood flow, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart from the veins.
Our legs usually get less muscle action in winter as we tend to exercise and move less to conserve heat. Since muscle contraction is needed to assist our veins to return blood to our hearts this reduced movement can increase the symptoms of CVI.
Seeking relief: The pain caused by venous insufficiency is often relieved by walking or by elevating the legs. Compression stockings can ameliorate or prevent the pain, and as discussed, warmth tends to aggravate symptoms, while cold tends to relieve them.
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 helped with the right supportive formula*.
A trio of quaintly named herbal extracts, Butcher’s Broom Extract, Horse Chestnut Herb and Red Vine Leaf Extract have been well researched and have been separately proven to have potential supportive efficacy against the symptoms associated with chronic venous insufficiency, strengthening the vein walls in the legs and improving blood circulation. Gaining access to these herbs is easy as they have been formulated into Nativa’s range of Venavine® Intensive Leg Vein Health capsules.
The active ingredient found in Venavine® Capsules can assist the body with pain and swelling from varicose veins, tired and heavy legs and night time muscle cramps. The action of rubbing and massaging Venavine® Intensive Cream onto legs can help to promote healthy blood flow, increase blood circulation and soothe pain in the legs which can be caused from poor blood circulation.
More about chronic venous insufficiency: It is common among adults, with an estimated prevalence of around 17% in men and 40% in women worldwide. It is higher in industrialized countries and is associated with occupations which require standing for long periods of time. Health risks are:
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Varicose veins or a family history of varicose veins
- Pregnancy and/or hormonal changes
Lifestyle risks are:
- Sedentary lifestyle and poor diet
- Extended periods of standing or sitting without frequent stretching, and/or breaks to sit down if standing for extended periods
- Being female. With pregnancy and hormonal fluctuations women are more likely to get CVI
- Being 50 years of age and older. As we get older we become more susceptible to chronic venous insufficiency
A note to self: during the long cold winter cover ups remember to pamper your legs so that they are ready for their big reveal in Spring…
*Efficacy of support may vary between users. Consult a medical practitioner for a diagnosis or if symptoms persist.