What causes swollen legs? 31 possible conditions

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.


Foot, Leg, and Ankle Swelling

Foot, leg, and ankle swelling-also known as peripheral edema-refers to an accumulation of fluid in these parts of the body. The buildup of fluid is not usually painful, unless it is due to injury. Older peopl...

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Cirrhosis is severe scarring and poor function of the liver caused by long-term exposure to toxins such as alcohol or viral infections. Certain medications and disorder can also cause cirrhosis.

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Lymphatic obstruction (lymphedema) is a blockage in the lymphatic system. The primary symptom is swelling in the arms or legs. Common causes are cancer treatment or surgery. A person may also be born with the condition.

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Cor Pulmonare

Cor pulmonale causes the right ventricle to enlarge and pump blood less effectively than it should. Shortness of breath, chronic cough, and a blue tint to the mouth and fingernails are all symptoms.

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Diabetic Nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy is a type of progressive kidney disease that occurs in people who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The University of Washington estimates that 20 to 40 percent of people with diabetes will ge...

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Glomerulonephritis occurs when blood filtering vessels in the kidneys are damaged. This may contribute to kidney failure, which causes fatigue, insomnia, itchy skin, and other symptoms.

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Stasis Dermatitis And Ulcers

Stasis dermatitis is skin inflammation caused by blood pooling in the veins in the legs. Pooling causes pressure inside the veins to rise. This elevated pressure causes damage to the capillaries, resulting in cell death.

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Kidney Failure

Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys lose the ability to sufficiently filter waste from the blood. Many factors can interfere with kidney health and function, such as toxic exposure to environmental pollutants an...

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Beriberi is caused by a vitamin B-1 (thiamine) deficiency. It's rare in areas that have access to nutritious food sources, but some diseases (ex. liver disease) and conditions (ex. prolonged diarrhea) can lead to it.

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Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a form of heart disease caused by alcohol abuse. Long-term alcohol abuse weakens and thins the heart muscle. The damaged muscle cannot pump blood as it should, which deprives the bod...

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Emphysema is a lung disease that, along with chronic bronchitis, represents a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Lack of oxygen may give skin and lips a bluish hue.

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Pulmonary Embolism

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that affects blood flow to the lungs. It can damage part of the lung due to restricted blood flow, decrease blood oxygen. The most common symptom is shortness of breath.

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Thrombophlebitis is an inflammation of a vein, usually in the leg, that can cause swelling or redness. If left untreated, it can lead to a pulmonary embolism.

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Pericarditis is the inflammation of the sac that surrounds your heart. The sac is a double-layered membrane called the pericardium. The pericardium protects your heart and helps it function properly.Pericarditis can b...

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Lupus Nephritis

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or, more commonly "lupus") is a condition in which your immune system begins attacking different areas of your body. Lupus nephritis is one of the most serious complications of lupus...

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Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital heart disease is a heart defect present at birth. Each year, one in 125 babies in the U.S. is born with this disease. Learn about symptoms and treatment.

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Venous insufficiency

Venous insufficiency (VI) occurs when veins have trouble sending blood from limbs back to the heart. In this condition, blood does not flow back properly to the heart, causing blood to pool in legs. It is commonl...

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Congestive (Dilated) Cardiomyopathy

Congestive cardiomyopathy, also known as dilated cardiomyopathy, is characterized by a weak primary pumping chamber in the heart. Your heart automatically attempts to correct for this inefficiency. In turn, thi...

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Endocarditis is inflammation of the inner lining of the heart. Possible symptoms of this condition include pale skin, chills, and night sweats.

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Hereditary Angioedema

Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is an inherited disease that causes repeated episodes of swelling. Angioedema means swelling beneath the surface of the skin. In HAE, the swelling and associated inflammation can be confine...

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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