Scientists Explain 6 Things That Cause Swollen Legs (And How to Fix It)

<SUNBIGHT>~Health~Eke~2nd March 2022,@ 18:01 WAT

SWOLLEN legs – otherwise known as edema or water retention – can be a cause for concern for many people. If you’re not sure what’s causing it, you have every reason to be concerned about what the underlying cause may be.

The good news is that modern research has shown us exactly what causes this to happen. Armed with this information, you can ease the problem. Here is how science explains what causes swollen legs, and how to get rid of it!

Here Are 6 Underlying Causes of Swollen Legs and How to Fix Them

1. Lack of activity

Most swelling issues are caused by minor circulation problems that occur when you don’t move around enough, causing the lower extremities to retain water and experience fluid buildup. If you spend most of your day sitting in a chair in an office or tend to use most of your free time to sit in front of a TV, then your swelling legs could be your body’s way of saying, “We need to get moving!”

What’s the best way to fight this problem? It’s pretty simple – just get some more exercise! You don’t have to go all out at the gym or join a yoga or CrossFit class, though, unless you want to. Just set aside at least 30 minutes every day to do some light walking. You’d be surprised the wonders that just a little bit of physical activity can do for the body! Really exhausted and can’t stomach the idea of exercise right now? Try elevating your feet and legs above your heart level while you lie down to reduce swelling.

2. Blood clots

Blood clots in the legs are less serious than they sound in most cases – though they can be dangerous if left untreated – and are medically referred to as venous insufficiency. The chances of developing blood clots increase with age and often occur in women who have been pregnant.

What happens is that the vein walls inside the legs begin to lose their strength, causing one-way valves leading to the heart to face damage. This causes the veins in the legs to fill with blood, even more so if you’ve been standing for a long time.

Regularly keeping the legs elevated while you sit, lie down, and sleep can bring down swelling caused by this problem, and it can stop the situation from becoming exacerbated. You can also purchase support stockings, but make sure they aren’t tight enough to cause marks. If you really need them, you can also opt for prescription compression stockings; speak to a doctor or physician for options.

3. A bad diet

Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of seemingly random leg swelling, causing unwanted fluid retention in the extremities in severe cases. This can also happen if you are consuming too much salt with your food, especially since too much sodium causes the body to retain water.

The best way to solve edema caused by an unhealthy diet is to start eating a healthier one! If you think your diet is fine and aren’t sure what is causing the issue, try keeping a food diary. Also note the occurrence of your swelling so you can compare it to what you’re eating. You might find a surprising link between your swollen legs and a particular meal!

4. PMS or pregnancy

Many people who have periods may experience swelling and bloating around the week before their period, which is known as the PMS (or premenstrual syndrome) phase of the cycle. It’s not uncommon at all for those who are experiencing PMS to have swollen legs. This problem also occurs in those who are pregnant. Of course, PMS and pregnancy are two very different things, but we’re lumping them together here because they have a similar remedy!

A little-known positive remedy is the consumption of warm parsley tea. To make this refreshing beverage, chop the leaves and roots of parsley finely, then place about ¼ cup of these chopped components into an infusion basket. Submerge this inside a teapot with boiled water or pour hot, boiled water over the parsley. Allow to infuse for between five and seven minutes, then take out the infusion basket and strain the drink. You can add lemon, ginger, or even honey to taste.

5. Kidney or liver issues

Pitting edema is a kind of water retention that affects not just the legs, but the face and hands as well. This sort of edema is a result of either liver or kidney troubles. Symptoms are often worst when you wake up first thing in the morning. This is quite a serious and potentially dangerous issue. It can cause protein from the blood to leak into the urine and reduce the overall protein in your body, which then causes fluid buildup. If you suspect that your edema and swollen legs are caused by kidney or liver issues, you’ll want to see a doctor as soon as possible. This can cause further complications in the future if not properly looked at.

6. Heart issues

If you have been facing heart troubles or have experienced similar concerns, this can be the cause behind your swelling legs. This is because the heart might lack the strength necessary to pump the blood needed around your entire system, and your legs – being extremities – will suffer the most from this. The condition is called generalized edema and means your legs are experiencing water retention.

If you are experiencing shortness of breath when you’re lying down flat or after even minimal exercise, your heart may be suffering. In this case, once again, your best option will be to head to the doctor’s and have some tests done. Your doctor can suggest plenty of very effective and simple treatments to help.

Final thoughts

Swollen legs can seem scary, but not all cases of them represent a serious medical concern. In fact, most of the causes behind swollen legs can be easily treated on your own at home. That said, swollen legs can cause pain and discomfort that disrupts focus, positive thinking, and can even lead to other minor medical problems. Try to follow the advice above, and you should be able to get rid of your swelling issues quickly.■

[Courtesy: Power of Positivity]

Health workers to begin strike two months after doctors’ industrial action

SERVICES may be entirely unavailable in public hospitals across Nigeria effective this weekend as the Joint Health Sector Unions’ (JOHESU) strike notice expires on October 2.

The group, which comprises all professionals working in hospitals, except doctors, said it was not a strike monger but only wanted the government to meet its demands.

JOHESU has issued a strike warning notice to the Nigerian government three times this month, and the third expires by midnight on Saturday.

Coincidentally, the strike may come two months after the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) began an industrial action and have since refused to return to work over unmet demands by the government.

Several meetings and threats, including court orders directing NARD to return to work, have fallen on deaf ears.

JOHESU members have supported consultant doctors who have been providing skeletal services to patients since NARD, whose members constitute the majority of hospital doctors, embarked on strike.

Meanwhile, the strike crisis has continued as the country battles COVID-19 and other infectious and non-infectious ailments.

In its latest notice to the government, signed by the National Chairman of the association Biobelemoye Josiah, JOHESU urged the government to respect the agreements it reached with its members earlier this month.

“We also wish to inform the general public that our NEC noted the appeal from President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to show understanding with his administration and the President’s pledge to pay any debt owed health workers,” part of the statement read.

The workers called on the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure speedy circularisation of all establishment and welfare matters as agreed during negotiation meetings with the government.

They also demanded that the Federal Government complete the new data for the computation of the adjusted Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for their members and submit same to the ‘High-Level Body’ (HLB) of the government, not later than September 22, ‘as agreed.’

They appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that the ‘High-Level Body’ completed and submitted the computation of the adjusted CONHESS for inclusion in the 2022 budget on or before September 30.

“We charged the Federal Government to reciprocate the patriotic humanitarian gesture of JOHESU in the interest of the larger Nigerian masses to resolve all the demands within the fifteen days window expeditiously.”

The group had stepped down its first notice of strike, which expired on September 17 and issued a new 15-day warning notice.

Author: Marcus FATUNMOLE

[Courtesy: International Centre for Investigative Reporting]


Conjoined twins, photographed before they were separated at Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba. (Courtesy of Soroka University Medical Center)

‘Unbelievable joy’: In Israeli 1st, doctors separate heads of conjoined twins

Conjoined twins, newly separated at Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba, look at each other for the first time, on September 5, 2021. (courtesy of Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba)

■ Doctors in Israel have successfully separated twins conjoined at the head for the first time — and say that after the 12-hour “life or death” operation, both babies are likely to live completely normal lives.

Dr. Isaac Lazar told The Times of Israel of the remarkable moment on Sunday when the girls looked at each other for the first time, after a year connected at their heads but unable to see one another, and of the “unbelievable joy” that the parents felt.

“When the nurses brought the babies together, newly separated, they looked at each other, made noises, and gently touched each other — it was beautiful,” Lazar said. “You could see the communication between them, and it was just so special.”

Every member of the huge medical team, which had been planning the operation since before the babies were born last August, was aware that a single slip could have disastrous consequences. “Any wrong decision could have been the difference between life and death,” said Lazar, director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba.

“It was so delicate, as the surgery was performed between major blood vessels in the babies’ heads. We all knew that any bleed could have catastrophic consequences.”

But the sophisticated Israeli technology that created 3D models for doctors to practice on, and hundreds of hours of preparation, helped everything go smoothly.

“Because the babies couldn’t move their heads for the first 12 months of their lives, there’s a physical handicap, but with the right rehabilitation for their physical and cognitive development, we expect them to catch up with their milestones,” said Lazar, adding there was a “high chance” that they will live normal lives.

Every step on the road to the separation was “massively complex,” he added, even hospitalizing the pair, as intensive care rooms are designed to treat and monitor a single patient but two needed to be hospitalized together here. “We had to double the whole setup, which was very, very hard.”

But this was nothing compared to the operation, which took place at the end of last week. “It was complicated beyond anything one could imagine,” said Lazar. “The babies were connected by the back of their heads in an area where there was no skin and no skull. We had to take action to make them grow more skin.”

Conjoined twins are extremely rare, and every pair is different, so there was limited research that could help. Lazar and his team decided to insert inflatable silicone bags into adjacent parts of their heads, between the scalp and the skull, and start growing skin on top of them.

“Every few days, sterile water was injected into the bags, increasing their volume,” he explained. “This stretched the skin slowly. After five to six months, these water-filled bags and the skin covering them became as big as the babies’ heads, and it looked like each baby had two heads.

“When these ‘balloons’ were ready, the babies could be admitted for surgery. The separation surgery took 12 hours, and ended with doctors dividing into two teams working in two separate operating rooms, performing a reconstruction of the skull of each of the girls and closing the skin.

“After the operation the twins were moved to the ICU, ventilated and sedated. The next day they started breathing on their own and today [Sunday] they met each other for the first time, which was simply amazing.”

Lazar commented: “One of the reasons for doing this now, as early as possible, is to allow normal development, and our hope is that this is now very likely.”●