Heat swollen legs are a common summer condition, especially in women. In this article, we tell you five steps you can take to alleviate this condition and avoid it.
It is estimated that more than two-thirds of women who are over thirty-five suffer from heat-swollen legs. This happens especially in the summer because of the high ambient temperatures.
While heat-swollen legs can manifest at any time of the year, summer is the season par excellence. The heat of the season, along with some practices that favour swelling, are the ideal combination for the symptom to appear.
The warm environment causes changes in the body that try to counteract the heat. These changes, expected and physiological, often cause discomfort. Among these changes are sweating, thirst sensation and vasodilation.
This last mechanism is the culprit of swollen legs. The body dilates the blood vessels to remove heat outside and not store it inside the body. Dilated veins are less elastic and cause blood to circulate more slowly and accumulate in the lower limbs, due to gravity.
Veins are responsible for returning blood from the members to the heart. When the changes we describe occur because of the heat, the slowed blood permeabilizes into the tissues instead of circulating. As a result, the legs swell.
It is not a serious problem, generally. In any case, if the symptom is prolonged over time, it loses a relationship with the hot season, or cardiac and renal signs are associated, a medical consultation is required to rule out chronic underlying diseases. Heart disease and kidney disease are dangerous.
For the normal swelling of the legs of the summer, here are five keys that can be relieved:
1. Physical exercises for heat-swollen legs
Although heat is a factor that causes fatigue and removes the desire to exercise, you have to face it and try. The practice of proper exercises for the lower limbs can help compensate for the accumulation of fluid.
Specific repetitive movements for the legs favour lymphatic and venous drainage. In this way, they help the blood to return through the circulatory system to the heart. Exercise also increases the heart rate, which drives blood with more rhythm and speed.
For heat-swollen legs, you can:
- Perform squats.
- Jump: the movement of body fluids is stimulated with the jumps. They can be from the ground or with the help of trampolines or trampolines.
- Water movements: simulating running in water is an exciting exercise. It also helps to refresh the lower limbs.
- Climb stairs: for those who live in buildings, this modality offers the possibility of performing in everyday life, avoiding the elevator.
The legs swollen by heat respond to the accumulation of fluid in the tissues of the lower limbs, but this does not prevent hydration. Many people mistakenly believe that drinking less water prevents this waterlogging or edema.
On the contrary, proper fluid intake during the day stimulates urine production. When the kidney works at the rate it should, the blood also mobilises better. The fluids then leave their state of stagnation to return to the heart or to be eliminated abroad.
The main recommendation is always to ingest pure water without aggregates. Ionic drinks can be used in the practice of some sports, but in no way hydrate usually with sugary drinks, which can be counterproductive for swelling of the legs.
3. Raise your legs
A simple but effective measure is to raise the lower limbs. Acting against the gravity that carries the liquids to the legs, the elevation forces the blood to return to the heart to continue circulating.
The legs can be raised at different times of the day, using a bench or chair to place them. They can also be borrowed against a wall, stretching the back on the floor in a position that does not generate pain in the lumbar spine.
If for work reasons, it is necessary to be in the same position for a long time without being able to change, small movements that stimulate circulation are recommended, such as making toes.
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4. Massages and cold baths for hot swollen legs
Heat-swollen legs can benefit from massages and cold water baths. Some recommend combining aromatherapy massages, to promote relaxation and soothe possible pain caused by fluid accumulation.
Coldwater baths also relieve the pain. Remember that the origin of the problem is in the heat. In the same line as aromatherapy, apple cider vinegar compresses are recommended to wrap the lower limbs.
5. Reduce salt from the diet
Food salt reduction is not just a measure for cardiological patients. Salt is a substance related to liquids and able to favour their retention. For this reason, its lower consumption results in less accumulation of fluids.
Here you don’t just have to think about the table salt that is added to the food we prepare. Many processed foods we buy come with a high sodium load, due to their manufacturing process. It is essential to read the labels well to be informed about it.