What Your Legs Can Say About Your Health
The human body has strange yet ingenious ways of telling us that something is wrong. Nosebleeds that just won’t stop can be a sign of anemia, and a sweet-smelling odor from your urine can indicate you have diabetes. Acne can be a sign of a poor diet and asymmetrical swelling in your legs can be a sign of May-Thurner Syndrome. Sadly, some changes can occur in our legs that indicate whether we have a health problem. In this article, we’ll discuss some key symptoms and their corresponding ailments to help you determine what your legs can say about your health.
Bulging Twisted Veins
The appearance of bulging twisted veins in your legs can be a sign of varicose veins. Varicose veins can develop in the legs due to continuous pressure over time.
The job of veins in all parts of the body is to transport oxygen-poor blood back up to the heart and lungs where it can be re-oxygenated and supply all parts of the body with the essential element. However, when blood travels back up the legs, it is working against the force of gravity. Over time, weak muscles and a genetic predisposition for the disorder can cause varicose veins to appear.
Women, older individuals, and overweight individuals are more predisposed to get varicose veins than other members of the population. People who have at least one parent with varicose veins are also more likely to get them. In many cases, varicose veins do not cause discomfort and are merely a cosmetic malady. For those who do wish to seek treatment, there are many options including injections, laser therapy, and compression socks.
Networks of Blue Veins
Networks of blue veins that are not raised can be a sign of spider veins. This condition is closely related to varicose veins although it occurs in much smaller networks of veins. You can tell you have spider veins when you see little clusters of blue, red, or purple veins that have developed close to the skin.
As with varicose veins, people with spider veins mostly dislike them because of their appearance. However, those spider veins are a sign of poor circulation and weak veins. Treatments for spider veins are similar to varicose veins – compression stockings, lifestyle changes, and laser therapy.
Asymmetrical Swelling in Legs
If you develop uneven swelling in your legs, it could be a sign of May-Thurner Syndrome which often causes deep venous thrombosis (DVT). May-Thurner Syndrome is a rarely-diagnosed condition that is estimated to affect up to 20% of the population. This condition occurs when the left iliac vein near your pelvis begins to narrow due to pressure from the right iliac artery.
Iliac veins and arteries are the primary pathways through which blood travels to and from your legs. If too much pressure is put on the iliac vein, that means blood cannot flow up out of the leg, causing the asymmetrical swelling. Other symptoms include discolored skin that’s warm to the touch, leg throbbing, and a feeling of heaviness in the leg.
You can treat May-Thurner Syndrome with a number of procedures depending on the severity of your condition. Milder cases can be solved with a blood thinner while severe cases need surgery to install stents or bypasses. You can find more information about May-Thurner Syndrome and figure out what your next step is.
Foot numbness is usually due to a lack of proper blood flow in the area. It can be a sign of peripheral arterial disease. You can experience foot numbness if you sit for too long or fall asleep in an odd position which reduces blood flow to your feet. While this kind of insensitivity is ok as long as you get moving quickly, it can be a troublesome sign if you get numb feet while you’re active.
One of the most common causes of foot numbness is peripheral neuropathy as its related to type 2 diabetes, a disease that affects more than 30.3 million Americans. Diabetes causes complications in blood flow to your feet, making it more difficult for wounds or cuts to heal. If you’ve had foot numbness that doesn’t seem to be related to anything, talk to your doctor. To help promote healthy circulation in your feet and prevent diabetes, adopt a healthy diet and regular exercise routine.
Morning Foot Pain
If you experience burning or shooting foot pain during the first few steps out of bed, you might have on of several problems.
The first possibility is that you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a disease that causes your joints to become inflamed. It can affect all the joints in your body but most commonly your hands, knees, and feet. To control RA, you will need medication prescribed by your doctor and regular exercise.
Your morning foot pain could also be caused by plantar fasciitis. This is a condition that causes the thick band of tissue between your heel and toes to become inflamed. What happens is the band stays contracted while you sleep and when you take your first steps in the morning, the tissues stretch. You can combat this condition by doing foot stretches before getting out of bed and doing foot-strengthening exercises to battle plantar fasciitis.
As you can see, your body is excellent at letting you know what problems it’s having internally. From swelling to discolored veins, you can usually determine what’s going on with the help of your doctor.