Cool Your Jets

Summer is a beast in the South.  The heat can be oppressive.  You always think that you will be used to it this year--it’s always humid and usually hot below the Mason-Dixon, regardless of the month.  Then June rolls around, and the heat index starts to climb higher and higher.  By mid-August, it can be difficult to walk outside, the air is so thick with humidity.  Every movement starts to feel like a trudge.

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Did you know that all that heat can have serious effects on your vascular health?  Particularly for older individuals or those already suffering from other health problems such as obesity or reduced mobility, the added strain of the hottest part of the year can exacerbate venous issues. 

The circulatory system’s natural cooling techniques involve pushing more blood to the surface of the skin.  This is what causes you to look “flushed” when you get too hot--the tell-tale reddish sheen is blood literally flushing up to your skin to get cooler.  To manage this, the blood vessels expand.  More blood is pumping through them, and more strain is thus placed upon the veins.  Previously damaged spider veins or varicose veins can be further aggravated by the commotion. 

So, what can you do?  Well, for starters, try to keep cool!  No one is suggesting here that you retreat inside until winter, like a bizarre reverse hibernation technique.  But you can take steps to keep your body’s temperature in check.  Carry cold compresses to help keep you cool throughout the day.  Keep your legs elevated in warm conditions to help relieve undue tension and strain being placed on your blood vessels.  Stay well hydrated. 

Exercise is also vitally important, even in the sweltering weather of summer.  The temptation may be to sit on the couch all season waiting for the thick wall of air outside to dissipate sometime around mid-November, but that would actually be worse for your vascular health (and, really, your general health as well).  A good suggestion is to work out during a cooler point in the day.  If your schedule will allow, early mornings, before the sun is fully up, may be ideal. 

Some people use compression stockings soaked in water to keep the wearers cool during workouts.  This can be great for your blood vessels.  If you can, try exercising in water.  Swimming is a great exercise technique.  Walking pools are becoming very popular, and the pressure of the water actually operates in a manner very similar to compression stockings, but covering a much larger portion of the body.

At the Vein & Vascular Center in Jackson, TN, we specialize in providing the most up-to-date, professional vascular care. Our office is located at 395 Hospital Blvd, Jackson , TN.  Call us at 731-664-7395, or find us on the web at www.vvcjackson.com where you can learn more about our team and services.