Q:

What are some medical reasons for having a feeling of heaviness in the legs?

A:

Quick Answer

Heaviness, numbness, pain and weak pulses in the legs or feet are common symptoms of peripheral vascular disease, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Peripheral vascular disease causes poor blood flow to the heart, brain, arms and legs.

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Full Answer

Several chronic conditions are linked to PVD, including varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis and chronic venous insufficiency, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of PDV. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaque buildup forms on the interior artery walls, causing them to thicken and lose flexibility. Over time, as the plaque buildup increases, the arteries carrying blood to the heart, brain and lungs may become blocked, which leads to heart attack or stroke.

Heaviness in the legs can also be caused by a nerve disorder known as peripheral neuropathy, according to the Neuropathy Association. Peripheral neuropathy impacts the motor and sensory nerves that connect organs, skin and muscles to the spinal cord. A common symptom is a tingling sensation in the hands or feet, difficulty walking or running, as well as tiring, stumbling, and cramping easily. As of 2015, diabetes causes approximately 30 percent of neuropathy cases. Other conditions linked to neuropathies include tumors, nutritional imbalances, infections, toxins and autoimmune disorders. The cause is unknown in a large percent of diagnosed neuropathies.

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