Your body contains, on average, an incredible 60,000 miles of blood vessels. While all of these vessels work hard to circulate your entire blood volume about three times each minute, one could argue that the blood vessels in your legs have the toughest jobs. Thanks to distance and gravity, these blood vessels work harder, which is why symptoms of venous disease often show up in your lower extremities.
If you’re experiencing issues in your legs and you’re wondering whether they’re related to your vascular health, Dr. Satjit Bhusri and the team here at Upper East Side Cardiology explore six symptoms that could be linked.
1. Varicose veins
Your veins need to pump blood back up to your heart for oxygen and rely on small valves to help push the blood upward. If these valves fail, blood can pool and engorge superficial veins in your legs, forcing them toward the surface of your skin and creating varicose veins, which affect 35% of people in the United States.
This type of valve failure could be the result of chronic venous insufficiency, which affects between six and seven million people in the United States.
2. Spider veins
Spider veins are, obviously, related to your vascular system, but their appearance doesn’t necessarily signal venous disease. Instead, spider veins often develop due to hormonal issues, trauma, and exposure to the sun.
3. Leg pain
If you’re experiencing pain in your legs when you’re active, this may be a symptom of peripheral artery disease, which affects about 6.5 million people in the US.
One of the most common symptoms of PAD is claudication, which describes leg pain with activity. This pain occurs because your legs aren’t getting enough blood.
4. Leg ulcers
Another sign of a potential venous issue is ulcers or sores on your legs that are slow to heal. When this happens, it usually means that blood isn’t flowing well to the wound which means the wound isn’t receiving enough healing resources.
Slow-healing leg ulcers are serious, and you should come see us at the first signs of trouble.
5. Leg swelling
If your calves and feet are swollen, this could be edema, which is fluid buildup in your tissues. Edema is often associated with heart failure, a condition in which your heart isn’t able to pump blood efficiently. As a result, blood pools in your legs and creates puffiness around your feet, ankles, and lower legs.
6. Leg cramping
If you experience frequent leg cramps, there are many potential causes, such as:
- Muscle fatigue
- Nerve damage
- Kidney failure
- Varicose veins
While it’s not always the case, sometimes varicose veins can become painful and cause cramping in your legs.
If you're concerned that symptoms in your legs may be caused by a venous issue, please call our New York City office on the Upper East Side at (212) 752-3464 to schedule a consultation.