One of the most common complaints we hear as vein care specialists in Kauai is from patients complaining about chronically swollen legs and ankles. But one of the things we’ve noticed is that patients can suffer from such swelling for months or even years before they finally see a Maui vein treatment specialist about them. When we listen to these patients complain about how their swollen legs have become so painful that it’s difficult for them to walk or stand for more than a few minutes, we often ask, “Well, why didn’t you seek medical help earlier?”
More often than not, the reply is that they didn’t think the swelling was important enough to see a doctor about. They say, “It’s just a sign of aging, right?” or “It’s not really anything to worry about, right?”
Wrong. Chronic swelling in your legs and ankles – especially if you have other symptoms like spider veins or varicose veins – in many cases is a sign of a much more serious condition: vein disease. And vein disease is very much a real disease, one that can negatively impact your health and hold you back in life.
What Hawaii residents should know about swollen legs and ankles
Swelling in the legs and ankles is directly caused by edema – a buildup of fluids in the extremities. But one of the most common indirect causes of this fluid retention is a vein disease called chronic venous insufficiency. CVI occurs when the tiny valves that control the flow of blood back to your heart and lungs stop working properly and become “leaky.” This allows blood to flow “backwards” and pool in the veins, which can cause them to swell and become varicose. But CVI can be present even if you don’t have visible varicose veins, and if it is, then it is impairing your overall circulation and causing fluid retention in your extremities.
Even “just” swollen legs and ankles can disrupt your health
When swelling and the discomfort and pain that accompany it occurs in your legs and ankles, one of the first things that happens is that you start to become less mobile. You get less exercise, because it’s painful to move. Naturally, this can keep you from achieving your goals in life, especially if your job requires you to stand or walk much of the day. But inactivity also has a more dangerous effect on your overall health – it has been cited as a major cause of conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Recent reports from the CDC and noted medical journals such as The Lancet have suggested that inactivity now kills more people worldwide per year than cigarettes do.
What can you do about it?
The first thing you should do if you have swollen legs and ankles is find out what the cause is. And this can be as simple as scheduling a venous health screening at a top vein treatment center in Hawaii. These screenings are fast, painless, non-invasive, and above all, effective. Using modern diagnostic tools such as Doppler ultrasound, Dr. Randall S. Juleff looks beneath the surface of the skin to detect any problems with your circulation. If vein disease is found, treatment is equally fast, equally painless, and can be performed right in the Vein Clinics of Hawaii offices. So give Dr. Juleff a call today and let our Hawaii vein specialist help to improve your health.