At Champion Heart and Vascular Center, we see many patients who have complaints of health issues such as swollen feet, numbness in the limbs, and cramping. In some cases, these symptoms are the result of poor circulation, which can often be treated with lifestyle changes. But there are some symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore.
In this article, our vascular ultrasound tech is sharing how to know whether you’re suffering from a minor circulation issue or something more serious.
1. Persistent numbness or weakness in your legs
Sitting in one position for a long time without moving can cause your legs to “fall asleep,” which produces a pins-and-needles sensation. This is normal, as long as the feeling subsides once you change positions and start moving again. Our vascular ultrasound tech suggests that if you have persistent numbness in the legs, then you should consider speaking with a doctor.
Frequent numbness or weakness in your legs may be a sign of peripheral artery disease. This is a circulatory problem where blood flow to the legs is reduced due to a narrowing of the arteries. In many cases, early-stage peripheral artery disease can be treated by exercising more, eating a healthy diet, and quitting tobacco. But more advanced stages may require medication or surgery.
2. Unusual cramping in your extremities
The occasional leg cramp is nothing to be concerned about, but you should definitely speak with your doctor if you have frequent cramping in your extremities. With peripheral artery disease, your extremities essentially don’t get enough blood blow to keep up with the demands of your daily movements. This can result in claudication (cramping), which usually occurs in the legs.
How do you know if your leg cramps are normal? Those with a healthy vascular system usually only experience cramping during an intense workout, or if they didn’t stretch enough before going for a run or walk. People with claudication from vascular disease often have persistent leg cramps while walking, and they may even have cramping when at rest. It’s common for those with peripheral artery disease to have cramping in the calves, but it can occur elsewhere on the legs as well.
3. Painful swelling in the feet and legs
Everyone experiences bloating and swelling occasionally. This can be caused by minor vascular problems or even your diet. However, swelling can also be a sign of more serious vascular issues.
Here’s why: with vascular insufficiency, the veins can’t transport enough blood back to the heart. As a result, fluid builds up in the lower extremities. This forces fluid out from the blood vessels into the surrounding tissues.
People with vascular problems often have fullness or heaviness in the extremities and swelling. This can also cause discomfort when wearing certain types of clothing or jewelry. If you frequently experience swelling, along with pain and feelings of warmth, our vascular ultrasound tech suggests making a doctor's appointment. These symptoms can all be signs of peripheral vascular disease and other serious conditions.
Schedule an appointment with a vascular ultrasound tech
At Champion Heart and Vascular Center, our experts provide high-quality medical care that you can count on. We offer a wide range of minimally invasive, same-day services to meet your needs. Our specialized endovascular suite is equipped with a vein and vascular lab, and we can conduct on-site echocardiography tests.
If you’re worried that your symptoms are signs of a serious issue, our vascular ultrasound tech can take a closer look. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our North Carolina offices.