What causes swollen legs?
Edema (leg swelling) is caused by the buildup of extra fluid in the veins. It can be caused by a problem with the circulatory system, the lymphatic system or the kidneys. Edema typically is caused by more than one factor such as venous insufficiency, varicose veins, obesity, or pregnancy.
Varicose veins are one of the most common causes of leg swelling. Most varicose vein problems arise when the valves in the leg veins aren’t working properly to keep the blood moving.
Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins close to the surface of the skin. When these valves become damaged, they hold more blood at a higher pressure than normal. Fluid is forced into the surrounding tissue and causes the leg to swell and feel heavy. Other common symptoms of varicose veins include aches and pains, and even burning sensations.
Be aware that doctors can often misdiagnose swollen legs as a symptom of heart or kidney failure, or even pregnancy.
Venous insufficiency is a condition that occurs when blood does not flow properly from the leg veins up to the heart. Instead, the blood remains in the legs and pools in weaker veins. If chronic venous insufficiency is left untreated, pain, swelling, and leg ulcers may occur. Additionally, when blood begins to pool rather than circulate, the risk of developing a blood clot increases.
How we can help
Seek emergency medical care if you have chest pain, difficulty breathing, dizziness, or are coughing up blood. These symptoms may indicate a blood clot in your lungs or a serious heart condition. If you’re experiencing nonemergency problems such as swollen, tired, or heavy legs or ankles, it may be time to seek help from an experienced doctor.
Meet with one of our experienced vein surgeons, and let’s figure out what’s causing your symptoms. Contact The Vein Center today at 615-269-9007 to get back your healthier legs!