Why do our legs swell?
Swelling legs are usually the result of excessive fluid accumulation in leg tissue. Oedema is often accompanied by a feeling of fatigue, heavy legs, color change or itching of the skin. Swollen legs can be associated with health problems such as cardiovascular or kidney disease. Excessive accumulation of fluid in the lower limbs can also be caused by an inappropriate diet containing too much salt, overweight or a poor lifestyle. Below we present the most common causes of swollen legs.
In women swollen legs are often associated with the menstrual cycle.
During the menstrual cycle the hormone concentration in the female body changes depending on its phase. In the second phase, increasing estrogen concentration influences, among other things, water management, leading to fluid retention in the body. As a result, women may gain weight, have problems with swollen limbs or abdomen during this period. To reduce swelling before the period you can wear compression tights to facilitate the outflow of fluid from the lower extremities, you should also remember about physical activity that improves circulation.
swollen legs may be the first sign of venous disease in the lower extremities
After a day of leg swelling accompanied by a feeling of heaviness and fatigue may indicate problems with the superficial veins of the lower extremities. These veins carry away blood from superficial tissues such as skin or connective tissue. Factors such as genetic conditions, overweight or sitting or standing mode of work can cause blood transport disorders through these vessels, leading to their failure. In this case, the way to improve venous circulation through regular physical activity or wearing compression tights. Additionally, in order to alleviate the symptoms accompanying surface vein failure, we can reach for heparin gel, which is applied locally to support microcirculation and have anti-inflammatory and anti-edematous effects.
Leg swelling is a side-effect of some medicines
Swollen legs are on the list of side effects associated with taking some medicines. For example, calcium channel blockers used in the case of hypertension or coronary arterial disease. Oral steroid drugs such as prednisone can also contribute to leg swelling, which retain sodium in the body, thus disturbing the water balance. More commonly used drugs that may contribute to oedema include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs for short, e.g. ibuprofen) and hormonal contraceptives. In the case of the NSAID, swelling is usually mild and passes quickly after weaning. If swelling is observed after taking contraceptives, it is necessary to consult a gynaecologist quickly.
congestive heart failure - when leg swelling indicates a serious problem
In people who have been struggling for a long time with diseases of the circulatory system, such as ischemic heart disease, hypertension or cardiomyopathy, swelling of the legs may indicate heart failure. In such cases there is also a general tiredness, shortness of breath or lack of appetite. When you suffer from chronic cardiovascular diseases, swelling your legs should make you visit your doctor quickly.
Swollen legs and kidney problems
The kidneys are responsible for filtering blood and removing excess water from the body. When the kidney function is disturbed in the body, fluids are retained, depositing in tissues, e.g. in the legs and hands, and causing them to swell. If you do not find a specific cause for swollen legs, and they are accompanied by fatigue, shortness of breath, excessive thirst or vomiting, consult your doctor immediately.