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Causes of swollen legs

Leg swelling is a common ailment that affects many individuals and could lead to difficulties in walking. The swelling occurs in any part of the legs which includes the feet, ankles, calves and thighs. It can result from fluid buildup (fluid retention) or inflammation in injured or diseased tissues or joints. Have your legs been swelling of late and you have no idea why they are swollen. Below are some causes of leg swelling:

  • Retention of fluid in leg tissues- This is known as peripheral edema which can be caused by a problem within the circulatory system, the lymphatic system or the kidneys according to Mayo Clinic. An individual experiences this because there is a fluid buildup that comes from being: overweight, inactive, sitting or standing for too long or wearing tight stockings. The factors that are related to the fluid buildup include: The venous insufficiency whereby your arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body, Pregnancy, Heart Failure, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Hormonal Therapy, Pericarditis (which is the inflammation of the tissue around the heart), Prescribed medication that are used for diabetes and high blood pressure, Acute kidney failure, Lymphedema (the blockage of the lymph system) and Liver Cirrhosis.
  • Inflammation- According to Mayo Clinic, this is as a result of a normal response to an injury or disease. It may be due to rheumatoid arthritis or any inflammatory disorder. There is plenty of pain during the inflammation. The factors that are related to the inflammation include sprained ankle, rheumatoid arthritis, infection or a wound in the leg, gout (which is arthritis related to excess uric acid) and cellulitis (a bacterial skin infection that affects mostly the skin on the lower legs).

When it comes to treating your swollen legs:

  • Kindly restrict the amount of salt in your diet.
  • Put a pillow under your legs when lying down to lessen swelling related to the buildup of fluid.
  • Wear elastic compression stockings but avoid stockings that are tight around the top (if you can see the indentation from the elastic, they may be too tight).
  • If you need to stand or sit for long periods, give yourself frequent breaks and move around, unless the movement causes pain.
  •  Don't stop taking a prescription medication without talking to your doctor, even if you suspect it may be causing leg swelling.
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