It can be scary when your ankles and legs feel puffy and swollen, especially if you wake up that way. Even though swollen legs are sometimes from having a long day on your feet, other times it can be a sign of something much more severe.
Dr. David D. Shin, MD, RVT, RPVI, FACS, and the experienced team at Houston Vein Specialists in Houston, Texas, identify the following as common causes of swollen legs.
Many ailments and health problems can cause swollen legs, but the following are the five most common.
When the fluid builds up in your legs and ankles, it’s called edema and is caused by sitting in a car or plane for hours or being on your feet all day. It is more common in people who are pregnant or overweight, but anyone can suffer from this form of leg swelling.
When the veins in your legs become weakened, it makes it difficult for the blood to return to your heart. When this happens, it can cause fluid buildup in your legs, which causes swelling, and varicose veins.
Deep vein thrombosis is when a blood clot occurs in a leg vein, typically in the lower leg, pelvis, or thigh. However, they can develop elsewhere. On its own, this is not a dangerous condition, but there is the risk of the clot breaking free and traveling into the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism.
When your lymph nodes are not properly filtering lymph fluids in your body, it can cause one or more of your limbs to begin swelling. People who have damaged lymph nodes or who have had them removed because of cancer commonly experience lymphedema.
If organs like the heart, kidney, or liver are not functioning as they should, it can cause fluid buildup in your legs. Kidney disease, liver disease, and congestive heart failure can all cause swollen legs.
Not all leg swelling needs to be seen by a doctor, as many conditions can cause it, including injuries, sprains, arthritis, and infections. If the swelling is mild and goes away in a day or two, it is unlikely to be serious.
You should see a doctor when other symptoms accompany it or if it lasts longer than several days or happens regularly.
If your legs are swelling, Dr. Shin offers treatment plans to help treat the underlying issues. Contact us today or schedule an appointment online at the Houston Vein Specialists in Houston, Texas.