Why do my legs swell?
, also called edema, may occur for many reasons. When it is related to vascular disease
it may be because of increased pressure in the veins from heart or lung disease or because the veins are not working properly because the valves are worn out or incompetent and there is reflux or backflow in the veins. Other causes of swelling may include liver disease, kidney disease, medications, problems with hormones and others. Your doctor can do laboratory testing and vascular testing to determine what conditions you may have.
What if my swelling is only in one leg?
Swelling that affects only one leg may be more likely to be a problem with outflow or obstruction of the vein. You need to seek medical attention to make sure there is not a venous thrombosis
or other important cause.
What causes the veins to not work well?
In many cases, veins may wear out because of an inherited (related to the family) or genetic (your own gene make up) predisposition. If you have a family history of varicose veins
, this may not be avoidable. Trauma or injury to the vein is another cause for the veins to not work well this is the case after a venous thrombosis
. Increased pressure in the veins from obesity may also contribute to the veins not working well.
What can I do about my swelling?
Once your doctors determine the cause, they can provide therapy to help with this problem. In most cases, elevating the foot of the bed to provide drainage of the leg at night and using compression stockings may be very helpful. Of course, if there are varicose veins
, venous thrombosis
, problems with your heart or other organs your physician will need to address these concerns also.