Do You Have Swollen Legs? 4 Cardiovascular Conditions That Can Cause Edema

Do You Have Swollen Legs? 4 Cardiovascular Conditions That Can Cause Edema

You’ve been on an airplane for a while or you’re pregnant — these are common and temporary situations that can cause swelling in your lower legs and feet. If you’re experiencing swelling without any identifiable cause or precipitating event, the problem may lie in your cardiovascular system.

Although swelling in your legs can develop for a host of reasons, the team of heart health experts here at Advanced Cardiology Specialists wants to focus on those related to your cardiovascular health. 

In the following, we review four heart disease and blood vessel conditions that can lead to swelling in your legs and feet.

Chronic venous insufficiency

The veins in your legs work harder than most blood vessels in your body as they need to fight distance and gravity to return deoxygenated to your heart and lungs. To help push the blood up, your veins feature one-way valves that shut as blood passes through, preventing it from spilling backward.

When you have chronic venous insufficiency, these valves weaken and don’t close properly, which allows blood to pool in your legs. The outward signs of CVI, which affects between six and seven million people in the United States, include varicose veins and swelling in your lower extremities.

Edema and heart failure

More than six million people in the US have heart failure, a condition in which the lower chambers of your heart aren’t functioning well and your heart struggles to deliver blood.

One of the telltale signs of heart failure is edema, or swelling in your lower legs and feet. This symptom occurs when fluid (namely, blood) backs up in your tissues.

Deep vein thrombosis

If the swelling in your lower extremities only affects one leg, you may have developed a clot. With deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot develops in one of the deep veins in your lower leg or thigh, which can lead to localized swelling, as well as pain and tenderness.


This condition isn’t one disease, but a group of conditions that affects your heart muscle, leaving it stiffer, thicker, or thinner than it should be. As a result of the cardiomyopathy, your heart isn’t able to pump blood efficiently, which can lead to swelling in your lower legs and feet.

Cardiomyopathy can lead to the aforementioned heart failure, which makes investigating your swollen legs an excellent idea.

In fact, any time you have swollen legs for no obvious reason, we recommend that you come see us sooner rather than later so that we can determine whether the problem is cardiovascular-related.

For expert diagnosis and treatment of your swollen legs, please contact our office in Mountain View, California.

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