Are you looking at your swollen legs and wondering what could be going on? Swollen legs result from various issues, ranging from acute to severe conditions. Weston swollen legs expert Ariel Soffer, MD, FACC, notes that though injuries and standing or sitting for extended hours are common causes of leg puffiness, sometimes the swelling may result from a severe disorder like a blood clot. Edema is likely to strike when you experience fluid retention in your legs and sometimes resting might not be the only remedy you need.
What Are the Symptoms You Should Look Out for With Swollen Legs?
Contact your healthcare provider instantly when the swelling happens suddenly, especially when you cannot explain the pain’s source. You should also alert your doctor when you experience the following signs:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Coughing blood.
- Chest pain.
- Shortness of breath.
Also, watch out when the swelling:
- Happens suddenly.
- Is painful.
- Occurs in one leg.
When Should You Seek Medical Treatment When You Have Swollen Legs?
Several conditions can cause leg swelling. The factors include diseases, injuries, and infections. You might not need medical intervention when the puffiness is not adverse and resolves independently within a day. However, you should instantly consult an expert if the swelling happens every time, mostly on one leg, lasts longer, and has other debilitating symptoms.
When Do Swollen Legs Indicate a Severe Condition?
Your leg swelling may be a sign of severe problems like:
- Kidney, heart, and liver diseases
When your heart, kidneys, and liver malfunction or fail to work effectively, you are likely to experience fluid retention in your legs. Do not forget to alert your healthcare provider when you have any of these conditions and notice a new swelling or if the existing swelling is persistent.
You will most likely suffer from the condition when your lymph nodes fail to filter lymph fluid as they should. A malfunction of your lymph nodes may cause swelling in one or more of your limbs and the pain may range from mild to severe and disabling. Though lymphedema mainly occurs if your doctor removes your lymph nodes while treating a chronic illness like cancer, you can also have the condition when your lymph nodes are damaged or poorly function because of other factors.
- Venous insufficiency
When the veins in your legs weaken, getting blood back to the heart becomes a problem. When the vessels weaken, you might have varicose veins and fluid retention in your legs. However, you can also have venous insufficiency if you had DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in the past.
- Deep vein thrombosis
Your doctor will diagnose you with DVT when you have a blood clot forming in any of your veins, mostly (not always) in your pelvic area and your legs. For instance, you are at a higher risk of developing DVT if you suffer from May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS). MTS causes an artery in your leg to press on a close-by vein, forcing clots to form, most likely in your left leg.
Swollen legs sometimes signify serious problems, especially if it happens suddenly without reason. Contact your doctor right away when the swelling is persistent or you notice any new swelling you cannot explain or its cause to figure out the issue.