May 27, 2021

Should Swelling in Your Legs be a Cause for Concern?

Should worry and what course of action you should take to address it swelling in your ankles and legs? See what causes swelling legs here...

Are you experiencing swelling in your legs, and are becoming concerned?

If so, you are not alone…

Swelling in legs is much more common than you think. Although many people have it, it does not mean you should just shrug it aside. It could be a sign of a serious venous condition in your legs.

What Causes Swelling in the Legs And Feet?

Your legs can start swelling due to several different reasons. If the swelling is in both legs, you can expect this to be nothing more than general fluid retention in the body. It can be a result of heart, liver or kidney function.

Some of the top contributors to leg swelling include:

  • Menstruation
  • Medications for blood pressure
  • Weight
  • Steroids
  • Antidepressants
  • Chronic vein insufficiency
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Varicose vein disease

Pay Attention To Deep Vein Thrombosis

If you have DVT, it means there is a blood clot located in one of the veins inside your leg. This clot disrupts the blood flow and causes fluid retention, which often leads to severe leg swelling. There is always a risk of the blood clot breaking away and traveling to your lungs. When that happens, it may become a life-threatening situation.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Varicose Veins

Both these conditions occur when the valves within your leg’s veins aren’t able to keep the blood flowing up to your heart. The fluids then start to move back and collect into pools of bluish clusters that become varicose veins. This can potentially result in swollen legs.

Vein Disease May Cause Swelling Legs

Why you should take this seriously?

Vein disease, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and chronic venous insufficiency can be problematic. These conditions may lead to more serious and life-threatening health conditions such as leg ulcers, serious blood clots, or infection due to open wounds.

Therefore, you need to take the swelling in your legs seriously and seek an opinion by a qualified medical doctor.

What Are The Symptoms of Leg Swelling?

Because there are several reasons why swelling in legs can happen, you may experience several different symptoms.

Common Symptoms

  • Leg pain
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Numbness
  • Ulceration of skin
  • Shortness of breath

What Does it Look Like?

The tissues in your legs start to retain fluid, and it eventually leads to your legs beginning to swell up.

  • The tissue directly underneath your skin can start to become puffy
  • The skin begins to look visibly stretched and shiny
  • The skin can start to retain pits (that look like dimples) after they have been pressed for several seconds

Risk Factors

Let’s take a look at the issues that can cause swelling in your legs:

Less severe forms of swelling in legs

Here’s why they can occur:

  • Increased intake of sodium
  • Pregnancy
  • Hormonal changes because of menstruation
  • Staying in one position for very long

Edema due to medications

Several medications can result in swollen legs (as a side effect).

  • Calcium channel blocking medication
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
  • Particular diabetic medication
  • Estrogen-based medicine
  • Vasodilators

Swelling in legs due to underlying medical conditions

Certain risk factors may require special medical attention

  • Kidney disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Varicose veins

Moving Forward

If you feel worried, or you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, then it may be time to schedule a time to speak with your vascular doctor. Often, this condition is treatable, and all it takes is the right approach to your lifestyle and of course, a consultation with the right medical professional for treatment.

Here are some of the necessary steps you can start taking today to reduce the swelling in your legs:

  • Exercise your legs if you happen to sit or stand for a very long time every day. This helps to provide increased circulation through the body and limbs.
  • Lose the extra weight, to relieve pressure throughout your vascular system.
  • If you are traveling, take frequent breaks, get up and move around to get the blood pumping properly.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes around your thighs.
  • Decrease your salt intake to reduce the likelihood of swelling due to fluid retention.
  • Start wearing support stockings to help the blood flow.

If medications are the cause of your leg swelling, consult with your doctor to find an alternative solution, or perhaps switch to a different medication entirely.

Final Thoughts

If you are suffering from swollen legs, and have become concerned, then it is important to become proactive in seeking the cause of this condition.

Your safest and best option to treat leg swelling is to obtain the opinion of a qualified medical professional who can help identify the cause.

Dr. Ryan Jones is a board-certified vascular surgeon who can help diagnose common vein conditions that may cause swelling extremities. Scheduling a consultation is easy, quick, and may help reverse your swollen legs.

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