If you’re like most people, you’ve probably had swollen legs at one time or another. Maybe you were on a long flight, and they swelled up from sitting in the same position for hours. Or perhaps you were pregnant and experienced swollen ankles and feet. While swollen legs can be uncomfortable and unsightly, they usually don’t cause alarm. In most cases, swollen legs are simply a result of gravity and fluid retention. But there are times when swollen legs can signify something more serious. If you experience sudden swelling in your legs, accompanied by pain, redness, or fever, you should see a Weston swollen legs specialist right away. This article looks at some of the more severe conditions that could cause swollen legs.
- Blood Clots
One of the more severe causes of swollen legs is blood clots. Blood clots can form in the veins of the legs, often resulting from prolonged sitting or standing. If a blood clot breaks free and travels to the lungs, it can cause a pulmonary embolism, which is fatal. Blood clots can also lead to heart attacks, strokes, or gangrene if left untreated. If you suspect that you have a blood clot in your leg, seek medical treatment immediately.
- Heart Disease
Swelling in only one leg, particularly if accompanied by other symptoms such as pain or shortness of breath, could indicate a severe heart problem. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and it’s essential to seek medical help right away if you think you might be at risk. Usually, heart disease can be diagnosed with a simple EKG.
- Inflammatory Disease
‘Inflammatory disease’ is a broad term that can include any number of illnesses such as arthritis, lupus, and vasculitis. Swollen legs may be a symptom of inflammatory disease, and there could be other symptoms like fever or weight loss. Most of these conditions affect the entire body and require immediate medical attention. Treatments for these diseases vary, ranging from medications to dietary changes to surgery.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
Another cause of swollen legs is deep vein thrombosis when a blood clot forms in a vein deep within the body. One symptom of DVT is pain, usually accompanied by swelling in only one leg. Deep vein thrombosis is more common during air travel because of the prolonged periods spent in a seated position. If you’re on an airplane, be sure to get up and stretch your legs periodically.
- Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition that affects the veins in the legs. The veins become weak and unable to pump blood back to the heart. This can lead to swelling, pain, and a feeling of heaviness in the legs. Chronic venous insufficiency can be caused by genetics, pregnancy, age, or obesity. Treatment options are available, most of which involve lifestyle changes and compression stockings.
To summarize, leg swelling can be unsightly and uncomfortable and often come as a sign of an underlying condition. Some of the most common causes of leg swelling include chronic venous insufficiency, heart disease, deep vein thrombosis, and blood clots. Inflammatory disease can also cause leg swelling.