Leg cramps: they're painful and annoying. But did you know they could be more than just a nuisance? Yes, that's right! These cramps are often a symptom of a more serious medical condition. Here are four health problems that could give you cramps. (Plus what you need to do about them.)
Anytime you have a new symptom, you want to know the cause. But something like leg cramps could seem unimportant. After all, they usually pass quickly. And they aren't crippling. Still, cramps in your leg may actually indicate bigger health problems that are brewing. Here are four possible reasons your legs cramp. (All of which are worth discussing with your Houston vein specialist!)
Certain vein diseases can trigger cramping. Two likely causes are varicose veins (incompetent veins that have started to swell) or chronic venous insufficiency. (Also called CVI, this is a condition in which your valves don’t work the way they're supposed to. And the walls of your veins weaken. For those reasons, some of your blood flows down into your legs instead of upwards to return to your heart). If CVI is the problem, the pain in your legs could also throb or ache. And you may experience other symptoms such as itchy skin on your feet and legs. Flaking skin, swelling (edema) and even ulcers or deep vein thrombosis (DVT.)
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) may also cause cramping in your legs. But unlike CVI cramps, the ones you notice with PAD usually appear when you're active. Then, as soon as you sit and rest, they resolve. Pad and other cardiac diseases cause leg cramps, as do degenerative disc conditions. All of which could trigger serious health complications. So you must discuss these symptoms with your doctor.
Dehydration can also cause leg cramps. And you get dehydrated for several different reasons: not enough water intake in warm weather; certain dehydrating beverages like coffee and black tea, or certain medications with diuretic effects. Kidney conditions may also affect your ability to remain hydrated.
When your thyroid is functioning too slowly (hypothyroidism), you may experience several symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, difficulties thinking clearly and cramps in your muscles, especially in your legs.
Leg cramps can also be the result of a magnesium, potassium or calcium deficiency in your body. You may notice the cramps in your toes, calves, the arches of your feet, and/or the backs of your legs. Many pregnant women will experience vitamin deficiencies, and pregnant women are also more vulnerable to vein conditions like varicose veins, so expectant mothers should pay extra close attention to symptoms like leg cramps.
When dealing with a relatively minor complication like leg cramps, it can be tempting to ignore your symptoms. You may simply hope they go away after a while. But, as you've seen, this minor annoyance could be a sign of a major issue. So ignoring the issue can be dangerous.
Since leg cramps can be symptoms of so many serious medical problems, it's important to see our vein specialists right away if you experience this symptom. Ready to get help? Reach out to our office today for an immediate appointmentReach out to our office today for an immediate appointmentReach out to our office today for an immediate appointment.
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