Is One Leg Swelling a Sign of Vascular Disease?
You may suffer from a vascular disease if one of your legs is swollen or both. The biological term for leg swelling is edema, which arises when you experience blood circulation problems in the legs.
Vascular disease is an illness that affects how your blood vessels transport oxygen and other nutrients to various parts of the body. It implies that you may have some blockage in your veins or arteries, limiting blood flow to other parts.
This disease manifests differently, but the two primary symptoms are edema and discoloration.
The rest of the article will expound more on this issue.
What Causes Leg Swelling?
Your legs may be swollen due to various issues. Some of these issues are vein-related, others stem from a specific health problem, while others depend on your current lifestyle.
Let’s discuss these issues in detail.
Vein-Related Issues That Lead to Leg Swelling
Some common vein-related issues that lead to leg swelling include chronic venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis, and varicose veins.
Let’s explore these vein-related issues in detail.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Chronic venous insufficiency arises when your leg veins prevent blood from flowing back to the heart. Your body’s circulation system is designed to ensure every part of your body receives adequate blood.
Thus, if your leg veins do not transport blood back to the heart, your blood will flow backward, leading to a pool of blood in your legs.
Ultimately, it causes one of your legs or both to swell and can lead to cramps and pain.
You may suffer from chronic venous insufficiency if you:
- Do not do regular exercise.
- Have weight issues.
- Smoke regularly.
- Have high blood pressure.
- Have a vascular disease.
Thus, you should seek urgent medical care if you notice this issue.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis is a vein problem that can cause your legs to swell. It arises when blood clots in one of your legs, thus preventing blood from flowing to the legs or back to the heart.
This can be a severe problem if the blood clot breaks and travels to the lungs since it can lead to a pulmonary embolism.
Thus, you need to check for these symptoms if you suffer from deep vein thrombosis.
- Swelling in the leg where there is a blood clot.
- Chronic pain.
- Skin discoloration.
Ultimately, you need to see a doctor immediately to prevent the issue from escalating.
Varicose veins is a condition where you have swollen or damaged veins. It mainly occurs in the legs, which can lead to swelling.
Varicose veins occur when your leg veins wear out and cause them to twist since they cause the blood to flow backward.
Ultimately, it affects the blood flow in and out of your legs, causing them to swell.
Some of the signs you need to look out for include:
- Twisted and bulged veins.
- Muscle cramping on the legs.
- Itchy skin.
Varicose veins can lead to long-term issues if left untreated.
Health-Related Problems That lead To Leg Swelling
The health-related problems that can lead to leg swelling include kidney disease.
Kidney problems arise when your kidneys work differently than they should. Thus, instead of your kidneys filtering water and waste properly from your blood, some of the fluid is collected in your body, causing your arms and legs to swell.
Some of the symptoms you can expect if you have kidney disease include:
- Shortness of breath
- Bruising and bleeding
Lifestyle Choices That Can Cause Leg Swelling
After the doctor diagnoses you with leg swelling, their next step is determining the leading cause of the fluid buildup. In some instances, the doctor may conclude that some of your life choices may be causing one of your legs to swell.
Let’s look at possible causes:
- Gravity. Spending a lot of time sitting or standing in one place for a long time may cause water to pull down to your feet. Ultimately, it causes water to build up in the feet, thus leading to swelling.
- Medications. There are some medications with various side effects that can cause your legs to swell. Some of these medications include Aspirin, Ibuprofen, antidepressants, and Naproxen.
- Poor Nutrition. Poor nutrition may cause leg swelling. If you have been eating foods with high sodium content, such as salt can cause the fluid to build up in different parts of the body. Ultimately, it may lead to leg swelling.
- Pregnancy. Your legs may start swelling if you are pregnant. When you are in the third trimester, the baby’s weight may put pressure on your legs, especially the veins. This slows your body’s circulation, causing your legs or one of your legs to swell. However, you should see a doctor if you are pregnant and you notice that your legs are swelling.
Signs and Symptoms
Edema has various signs and symptoms. They include:
- One or both of your legs may start swelling.
- Your legs may be heavier than usual, especially when walking or standing. This is sometimes referred to as heavy legs.
- Your legs may be larger than expected due to inflammation.
- You may feel pain, especially when walking or standing.
- The swelling may worsen if you ignore it and continue doing various physical activities.
- One may experience a burning sensation on the limbs when walking or standing.
- Your skin will be thickened, specifically where the swelling has occurred.
If you experience either of these symptoms, you may have vascular disease, but you should see a doctor to ascertain your condition.
Doctors use various methods to diagnose edema. These include:
- Medical evaluation. The physician conducts a comprehensive medical evaluation to determine the main cause of fluid buildup. They will check your current symptoms, which in most cases is having a swollen leg.
- Venous doppler tests. The doctor conducts these tests to analyze venous insufficiency in your leg veins. The test illustrates the primary source of the blockage in your leg veins.
Thus, a doctor conducts these tests to help them formulate a suitable treatment.
Treatment for Leg Swelling
You can implement several at-home treatment options if one of your legs is swollen due to vascular disease.
These at-home treatment options include:
- Elevating your legs. You can elevate your legs and let gravity do the rest. It entails lifting your legs for a few minutes to allow the accumulated fluid to flow back to other body parts.
- Losing weight. Excess weight contributes to vascular strain, thus causing leg swelling. As such, you should start regular exercises to lose weight, which may help your swelling. Furthermore, regular exercises help pump blood easily to all body parts.
- Wearing compression stockings. The main benefit of wearing compression stockings is that it pushes blood and other fluids to other parts of the body, thus relieving the swelling and pain. Some doctors may even advise you to wear medical-grade garments.
However, if all these at-home treatments do not work, you should consider seeing a doctor. They may recommend surgery, primarily if your swelling stems from a serious issue, such as varicose disease.
One leg swelling is a sign of vascular disease. Vascular disease arises when some parts of your body do not receive adequate blood.
Thus, it causes your legs to swell because the leg veins do not transport sufficient blood to the heart, causing it to flow back to the legs.
The leg swelling may be caused by vein-related issues, lifestyle issues, and other diseases. The main treatment options are doing vigorous exercises and wearing compression stockings.
Ultimately, you should see a specialist if the condition persists to avoid long-term issues.
Schedule a consultation to find out if the Center for Vascular Medicine can help with your condition.