Leg discomfort not caused by musculoskeletal conditions, like strains and arthritis, could be due to cardiovascular disease. If you have unexplained leg discomfort, visit board-certified Shahnaz Begum, MD, FACC, at Heart Care in Frisco, Texas. Dr. Begum provides prompt diagnosis and treatment for conditions that can cause leg discomfort, such as peripheral vascular disease and deep vein thrombosis. Call Heart Care to seek help for leg discomfort or request an appointment using the online booking feature today.
You can have leg discomfort for many reasons, including strained muscles, tendon and ligament injuries, or arthritis. However, common causes of leg discomfort include several cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) diseases and poor circulation.
Symptoms you might experience alongside leg discomfort include:
In most cases involving the cardiovascular system, leg discomfort results from a problem with blood circulation.
Cardiovascular conditions that are most likely to cause leg discomfort include:
PAD, or peripheral vascular disease (PVD), results from atherosclerosis in the leg arteries. This condition, which also causes coronary artery disease (CAD) and carotid artery disease (the primary causes of heart attacks and strokes), develops when plaque narrows the arteries.
Plaque forms from excess cholesterol and calcium. The sticky residue attaches to your artery walls, gradually building up and stopping blood from flowing freely. Untreated PAD can lead to arterial ulcers (open and non-healing sores) and blockages that may result in amputation.
CVI causes varicose veins — swollen and twisted veins that develop on the legs. CVI is caused by a problem with the valves that keep blood flowing from the legs to your heart. Weakened valves allow blood to trickle down and pool, creating varicose veins. Untreated CVI can cause venous ulcers, which, like arterial ulcers, could lead to amputation.
A DVT is a blood clot in a deep leg vein. The clot blocks blood flow, damaging the tissues and veins, and there’s a risk it could break off and travel to the lungs. That could cause a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal.
The sooner you receive treatment for these disorders, the less likely you are to experience complications.
The treatment Dr. Begum recommends for leg discomfort depends on its cause. These conditions often develop because of an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, so losing weight, cutting out cholesterol and other harmful fats, and exercising regularly are vital. You should also quit smoking and avoid standing or sitting for long periods.
Medications can help improve blood flow by widening the arteries, making your blood less sticky, and removing excess fluids. If you have a DVT, you might require treatments to dissolve the blood clot before it travels to your lungs.
If you develop leg pain with no identifiable cause, call Heart Care or use the online booking form to receive an expert diagnosis.