Could My Leg Pain Be Cardiovascular in Nature?

Could My Leg Pain Be Cardiovascular in Nature?

You’re experiencing pain in your legs and you can’t think of any obvious reason for the discomfort. You weren’t out pounding the pavement on a run and you didn’t overdo it on the tennis courts, but they feel achy and cramped, or they throb, all the same.

To get right to the question we pose in the title of this blog about whether leg pain may be cardiovascular-related, the short answer is, “Yes.” To help you figure out whether your leg pain may signal a problem in your vascular system, Dr. Madaiah Revana and our team of heart health experts present the following.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

One of the most common cardiovascular-related causes of leg pain is PAD, which affects 6.5 million people aged 40 and older in the United States. With PAD, fatty deposits form plaques in the vessels that deliver blood to your legs. This results in atherosclerosis, causing blockages in your arteries that prevent blood from flowing freely down into your legs.

One of the primary symptoms of PAD is claudication — leg pain that develops when you move around.This pain is often described as an ache or a cramp that develops in your calves, thighs, hips, and/or buttocks. The pain often subsides once you rest a bit.

It’s important to note that while leg pain is one of the more common symptoms of PAD, approximately 4 out of 10 people with PAD don’t experience any discomfort in their lower extremities.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Another issue that can lead to leg pain is DVT, which occurs when a clot forms in one of the veins deep inside your legs, usually in your thigh. Along with pain, you can also experience leg swelling, as well as color and temperature changes in your skin.

It’s important to know if you have DVT as this clot can break free and travel to your lungs, leading to a pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening.

Varicose veins

While few people are happy about the development of varicose veins in their legs because they’re unsightly, it’s important to understand that these veins are often a sign of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).

With CVI, the one-way valves in the leg veins malfunction. Instead of pushing blood back up to your heart, they don’t close all the way, which allows blood to spill backward. When this happens, the pooling blood can engorge a vein and send it toward the surface of your skin.

The good news is that, in most cases, varicose veins don’t pose any immediate concerns. For some people, however, these veins can be problematic and lead to leg pain (burning or aching) or a feeling of heaviness in the legs. 

As you can see, there are several possibilities when it comes to cardiovascular-related leg pain, which makes coming to see us a very good idea. If you want to get to the bottom of your leg pain, contact one of our offices in Houston or Humble, Texas, to schedule an appointment.

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