Understanding Vascular Causes of Leg Swelling and Pain

Leg swelling and pain affect millions of Americans, and peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is one of the primary causes. This progressive circulation disorder tends to worsen over time.

With the appropriate care, people living with PVD can lead full, healthy lives. If you have symptoms of PVD, such as leg pain or cramps, discoloration, and swelling, it’s wise to visit a vascular specialist.

Here at CA Heart and Vein Specialists, cardiovascular physician Dr. Majed Chane provides comprehensive cardiovascular care. Patients who visit us receive a thorough evaluation to diagnose a full range of cardiovascular conditions.

If you have PVD, or any other vascular condition, you’re in good hands. Dr. Chane can recommend treatment to manage your symptoms, prevent the disease from worsening, and reduce your risk of complications.

What is peripheral vascular disease?

Peripheral vascular disease is the result of narrowing of the blood vessels. A buildup of plaque that accumulates and sticks to vessel walls, causing them to harden, is the most common culprit.

By age 40, most people have some plaque buildup in their arteries or veins. That’s why you’re most likely to develop PVD as you age. It’s most prevalent in adults over age 50.

Some people with PVD have no symptoms. Those who do have symptoms most commonly experience:

Early detection is key to preventing serious health consequences.

Who’s at risk for peripheral vascular disease?

Certain factors boost your risk of developing PVD. These are:

The more risk factors you have, the higher your likelihood of developing PVD. Those who have diabetes have the highest risk of complications.

What causes leg swelling and pain?

Problems with the circulation in your legs can cause a number of symptoms, most typically leg swelling (edema) and pain or cramping. These are the most prominent signs of PVD, and they mean that the blood vessels supplying blood to your legs aren’t circulating enough blood.

The veins in your legs and lymphatic system get blood back to the heart. The lymphatic system filters fluid outside of the veins from tissues back to the heart.

In people with leg swelling, vascular disease causes fluid to pool in the legs. This increases the pressure in your veins, resulting in swelling. Not only does this cause swelling and discomfort, it can lead to serious complications. 

Understanding PVD vs. PAD

Your peripheral arteries and veins transport blood to and from your extremities (arms and legs). These veins and arteries are distant from the heart. PVD can also affect other arteries, such as those that transport blood to your brain. The same plaque buildup that causes PVD raises your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a type of PVD that occurs only in the arteries and not the veins, while PVD affects arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels.

Managing your health with a vascular condition

Understanding your condition is key to taking a proactive role in managing your health. The expert cardiovascular team at CA Heart and Vein Specialists is here to help you manage your condition and stay healthy. Dr. Chane offers the latest treatment modalities to address the underlying cause.

Patients with vascular diseases that cause leg swelling require close monitoring and care to prevent serious complications such as leg ulcers. To initiate vascular care with Dr. Chane at CA Heart and Vein Specialists, call 657-206-8491 to schedule an appointment or request a booking online.

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