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Leg Cramps and Swelling May Signal a Vascular Problem

First things first: your blood is carried through your body via a system of blood vessels called arteries and veins (arteries carry blood away from the heart and veins carry it back toward the heart). Vascular problems include any condition that affects this circulatory system, including diseases of the arteries, veins, and lymph system, along with blood disorders that can affect your circulation.

If you are experiencing leg cramps along with swelling in your legs, these symptoms may indicate your body has a vascular problem.

At Alate Health in Houston, we offer specialized treatments to take care of vascular problems. Here’s what to watch out for if you think you’re having leg issues.

Leg cramping and swelling

If you experience swelling in your legs, it can often be caused by fluid trapped in your legs. This fluid can build up as a result of several conditions, including infection, injury, or weakened valves in the veins in your leg (this is called venous insufficiency). 

If you only occasionally experience a leg cramp, you likely do not have any serious underlying condition. But if you have frequent muscle cramping in your calves and thighs while walking or exercising, your doctor may want to investigate more deeply. 

A venous or arterial disorder could be responsible for your leg cramping. Venous disorders affect about 80 million Americans and are about 20 times more common than arterial disorders. They include everything from spider veins to leg ulcers to deep vein thrombosis. 

What is Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Peripheral Arterial Disease is one of the most common arterial problems. It occurs when fatty deposits (plaque) build up in the arteries that carry blood to your legs, which restricts the flow of blood. The result can be discomfort and aching in your leg, and if left untreated, the problem could lead to gangrene and even amputation of the leg.

At Alate Health, our interventional radiologists use state-of-the-art diagnostic testing to determine if you have PAD, and if so, it’s severity. If you do have PAD, your treatment will depend on the level of advancement of your particular condition. You may be able to control it simply with medication and lifestyle changes (such as quitting smoking and controlling your diabetes and blood pressure).

If you require further treatment, our team may do a balloon angioplasty, which uses a small balloon to flatten the plague against the artery wall, improving your blood flow. Another potential treatment is an atherectomy, where a small device actually cuts out the plaque in your blood vessels to remove the source of the blockage.

Problems with your vascular system can lead to much greater problems down the road, so it’s important to take care of them as soon as you notice the issue. Call Alate Health today, or make an appointment with our easy online scheduler to get started! 

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