Leg swelling is a common medical condition that affects many people. Swelling in the lower leg can be caused by fluid, injury, or chronic conditions like heart disease and venous insufficiency. While you may view it as a minor symptom, it may point towards a more severe condition that needs the attention of a Port Saint Lucie leg swelling expert. Swelling in the legs is usually due to the buildup of excess fluid.
There are two types of fluid present in the body, interstitial fluid and transudate. Interstitial fluid accumulates from leaks from small blood vessels throughout your body, while transudate leaking occurs when larger blood vessels are damaged. When the body detects a leak in the blood vessel, platelets will clog those areas to stop leaks from happening. During this process, fluids from your blood collect at the injury site and cause swelling.
If you want to learn more about the common causes of leg swelling, you have come to the right place.
- Peripheral Edema
The most common cause of leg swelling is peripheral edema. This condition occurs when the body’s interstitial fluid accumulates in the lower limbs, causing them to swell. When there is more blood flow to an area than usual, or if large amounts of water are consumed, this can accumulate excess fluids in your tissues and result in leg swelling.
- Heart Disease
Leg swelling can also be caused by heart disease and venous insufficiency. Heart-related conditions such as congestive heart failure or atrial fibrillation will often cause an increase in blood pressure, leading to leg edema. Congestive heart failure is not a common cause of leg edema, but atrial fibrillation is responsible for more than half of all cases of lower extremity swelling. This may be because it causes the blood to pool in the underarm and legs. Patients who suffer from congestive heart failure or valvular disease will often complain about leg swelling as a significant symptom.
Being overweight can also lead to leg swelling. When the body is too heavy, it puts extra stress on your legs and ankles. The excess weight can raise blood pressure in the portion, causing it to swell.
- Acute Kidney Failure
Another common cause of leg swelling is acute kidney failure, which typically occurs when the kidneys cannot filter waste materials properly. This can be caused by several factors such as infection, trauma to the kidney, or ingestion of toxins such as illegal drugs and certain antibiotics.
Leg swelling may also be caused by hypothyroidism, which is a condition in which your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. One of the first signs of this condition is leg swelling, which usually affects both legs and ankles. Swelling in one leg or ankle could have a different cause. See your doctor if you have swelling in only one leg.
To summarize, leg swelling occurs more frequently than you can imagine. In most cases, it is a symptom of a more severe condition, even though many people do not treat it as such. Common conditions that may cause leg swelling include hypothyroidism, acute kidney failure, obesity, heart disease, and peripheral edema.