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About 70% of Canadian women between ages 35-60 have had at least one sign or symptom associated with chronic venous disease, such as varicose veins or swollen and aching legs, as per a recent study. As a 40-year-old Canadian woman, I was shocked by this statistic, given I’d never even heard of this vein disease that can be the underlying cause of why your legs hurt in summer heat or why you feel like you need to elevate them at the end of the day. So, is this something you and I need to worry about?
Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Venixxa to raise awareness about the chronic venous disease in women in Canada.
Leg aches aren’t just a cosmetic concern or part of aging
While many women associate leg aches or heaviness with simply being a part of getting older, the reality is that it can indicate an underlying abnormality of the venous system. Furthermore, if leg discomfort intensifies in the humid summer weather, I urge you not to simply wave away concerns about it because you attribute it to being a natural part of aging. Because it’s not.
And neither are spider veins and varicose veins.
Indeed, these signs can be a part of the seven main stages of chronic venous disease, as per the CEAP (Clinical, Etiology, Anatomy, Pathophysiology) Classification System. Now I’ve got your attention.
Is chronic venous disease why your legs hurt in summer?
That’s the next logical question. The reality is that the achy, heavy feeling in your legs could be indicative of chronic venous disease.
And there are other symptoms too, but keep in mind having just one of these could be a sign you’re living with chronic venous disease.
Common symptoms of chronic venous disease include:
- Varicose veins – twisted, enlarged veins
- Spider veins – tiny blood vessels close to the skin’s surface
- Pain and heaviness in the leg (for example, do you feel like you need to elevate your legs at the end of the day?)
- Edema – Excess fluid in the skin, which can create pressure
- Swelling of ankle, in response to edema
And at the later stages are venous ulcers. As for why chronic venous disease occurs, this condition is due to poor blood circulation in the veins.
Do only women get chronic venous disease?
No, but research shows that women are more likely than men to get the chronic venous disease. You’re also at more risk of getting the venous disorder if you are overweight, pregnant, or have a family history of chronic venous disease. Other causes of chronic venous disease are:
- Prior damage to your leg through surgery, injury, or blood clots
- Not exercising
- Excess pressure on the vein from standing or sitting for long periods
- A blood clot in a deep vein
What to do when your legs hurt in summer?
Firstly, I urge you not to write the pain off as part of aging or only to take action by cursing those varicose and spider veins for looking unsightly. There are more effective solutions to alleviate your discomfort in the summer heat.
“Treatment should begin at the first signs and symptoms of CVD, and consists of a spectrum of therapies ranging from the use of medications such as MPFF/Venixxa, to compression stockings to surgery,” said Dr. David Liu, an Interventional Radiologist and Clinical Professor at UBC, and Founder of EVA Vein Care, a dedicated outpatient venous disease clinic. “Proper diagnosis and staging of CVD is essential.”
The main treatment options for treating chronic venous disease are lifestyle changes, over-the-counter products, procedures, and surgery. Each one focuses on improving long-term health rather than simply thinking short-term for pain management.
Modify everyday choices
Regarding changes to how you’re living, whether it’s summertime or not, the pain might ease through consistent exercise to boost blood flow, wearing compression socks, and keeping legs elevated to lower swelling and improve blood circulation.
Over-the-counter options are designed to reduce the signs and symptoms of chronic venous disease. One example is Venixxa, a natural health product in Canada. Specifically designed for mild to moderate chronic venous disease symptoms, Venixxa has been used in over 100 countries for more than 3 decades.
With medicinal ingredients that include citrus bioflavonoids, it is conveniently available in oral form. Perhaps most importantly, Venixxa has been shown to help reduce pain, feeling of heaviness and swelling in the legs associated with mild-to-moderate chronic venous disease, which could be central to your leg discomfort in summer.
As for procedures, options include endovenous laser ablation or RFA, which stands for radiofrequency ablation. RFA intends to reduce pain and improve blood flow through a process the application of a heated tube to the affected vein to close it to reduce blood pooling in the leg.
Alternatively, sclerotherapy involves injecting a chemical into the diseased vein, which scars it so that it cannot carry blood anymore. Blood then flows back to the heart via other veins, and the body absorbs those that are scarred.
This option is reserved for the most advanced cases. Vein stripping intends to tie off the vein of interest entirely to stop blood flowing through it. If said vein has significant damage, surgery can remove it altogether.
Final words on when your legs hurt in summer
If you are experiencing leg aches in the heat of summer, I urge you not to wave off the pain as simply part of the aging process. Instead, I urge you to see a medical professional to explore the source of the issue, whether it is chronic venous disease or otherwise.
Then this medical professional can suggest the best treatments for you, whether it is over-the-counter products, lifestyle changes, something else, or a combination of them.
Please share this post on social media and by email with friends to help raise awareness about chronic venous disease.
Do your legs hurt in summer? Have you ever considered varicose veins to be a symptom of chronic venous disease?
This post is also available in: French