Your lower legs, ankles, and feet are the lowest points on your body, making them more vulnerable to swelling. Leg swelling can occur for a wide variety of reasons, and some are more serious than others, requiring expert care.
As cardiovascular experts, the team here at Louisiana Heart & Vascular Institute Vein Care Centers, led by triple board-certified interventional cardiologist Dr. Farhad Aduli, understands that leg swelling can be due to issues with the cardiovascular system.
In the following, we take a look at several cardiovascular-related issues that count leg swelling among their side effects.
Chronic venous insufficiency
It’s estimated that 6-7 million people in the United States have chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a condition in which valves in the veins in your legs weaken. These valves help keep blood moving forward, but if these valves malfunction, blood can spill backward and pool, which can lead to varicose veins as well as fluid buildup in your tissues, or edema.
If you have CVI, exercise can help strengthen the muscles in your lower legs to help push blood back up to your heart. You can also try compression stockings to help minimize the edema and leg swelling.
If you’ve developed varicose veins and related leg swelling because of CVI, we can remove the problematic veins through sclerotherapy, which will reduce the swelling.
Women who are pregnant also encounter swelling in their lower legs. This occurs because you have more fluids in your body and, in later pregnancy, your womb may hamper blood flow to and from your extremities.
Of course, this side effect of pregnancy should clear up after you give birth.
There are some medications that are associated with an increased risk for edema, including:
- Vasodilators, which open up blood vessels
- Calcium channel blockers
- Estrogen therapies
- Certain chemotherapy drugs
- Thiazolidinediones prescribed for diabetes
If we find that medications are behind your leg swelling, we can help you take steps to offset this side effect, as many of these medications are too important to stop taking.
Deep vein thrombosis
If you develop a clot in one of the deep veins in your legs, it can lead to discomfort as well as swelling in the area. In most cases, these symptoms occur in the thigh.
Deep vein thrombosis can be a serious condition, so if these symptoms sound familiar, we urge you to come see us, so we can prevent the clot from creating bigger health issues.
One of the most serious conditions that can lead to swelling in your legs is heart failure, which affects 6.2 million adults in the United States. Heart failure is a condition in which your heart isn’t able to pump blood efficiently, which can lead to fluid buildup in your legs. While heart failure is quite serious, millions of people are living well with heart problems thanks to expert management plans.
The bottom line is that if you notice a puffiness in your feet, ankles, and/or lower legs, it’s important that you come see us, so we can diagnose the underlying problem. Early intervention can not only help address the leg swelling, but it can also help us treat any potentially serious cardiovascular problems.
To get to the bottom of your leg swelling, call 985-308-5398 or book an appointment online with Louisiana Heart & Vascular Institute Vein Care Centers today.