I'll start off by giving my information. I'm a 31 year old male, 5'11" and around 240 lbs. Yes, I'm definitely overweight, which I suspect may be causing some of these problems. However, I was not always this heavy. I used to maintain around 205-210 5 years ago and would work out almost daily. I'm also single with no children. I generally work 40 hours a week, sometimes up to 50, depending on whether or not we're about to complete a project at work. I am also pretty much confined to a desk all day, working in front of a computer.
Anyway, I noticed years ago that I started developing a slight lump in my left calf. This lump was one of my veins bulging slightly. I'm guessing it's a varicose vein. At the time I was working out more regularly and didn't think much of it. I'll get back to this in a moment.
Starting in about Dec of 2008, I started developing strange symptoms. I remember waking up one night in a cold sweat and feeling nauseous. I thought maybe I was having a heart attack or something (seems to be a common feeling on these boards). After NUMEROUS tests and a complete physical, the doctors couldn't find anything wrong with me. To list the tests I've had done, they are: 2-3 EKGs, an echo stress test, upper GI, blood tests, etc.
Over the past year or so, I started also paying more attention to my blood pressure. I've NEVER had any problems with it until this year. I think at the very worst, my BP shot up to around 140/90. Not great, but not as bad as it could have been. The doc wasn't horribly concerned, but prescribed me some BP meds. I was hesitant about taking the meds, so after about a week of taking them, I backed off and stopped. I was also prescribed zoloft. After taking those for about 2 weeks, I dropped it as well. All of the side effects of medications always worry me! I'd rather find natural solutions to problems...
That leads me to today. In an attempt to do something about my BP, I thought that maybe my daily caffeine intake was affecting my heart rate. Whether or not that was the actual cause, I'm not sure. I quit drinking diet coke cold turkey (I was seriously drinking 5-6 cans a day...literally drinking it instead of water) and have been off of it for about a month or so now. The last few times I've gotten my BP checked, it's been around 117/75. Much, MUCH better! I'm still overweight, though, and haven't gotten myself into a solid workout routine, which I need to fix.
Over this same time period, I've noticed something very strange developing in the same left calf I mentioned earlier. What I believe to be are varicose veins have progressively gotten worse. That one small bulge has spread farther around my left calf. On top of that, it feels like something is crawling under my skin. I swear, it feels like there are worms squirming around in my veins and it often drives me mad. When I shake my calf, walk, or keep myself distracted, the crawling goes away. To add to that, I've noticed that my left ankle/lower calf has started retaining more water than my right calf.
I've never been a big salt guy. I don't go out of my way to eat a lot of it, but I'm not quite sure if the foods that I eat contain a lot of salt or not. I'm not sure if the whole edema/restless leg syndrome/varicose veins are related to my eating habits, my workout routine, my work conditions or all of them combined.
I have a few questions for all of you out there: Is edema uncommon for someone of my age? Should I be greatly concerned about this? The crawling in my skin is really getting old and annoying. I've been putting up with it for months now. Who would you recommend I see? A vascular specialist?
It feels like general practitioners are quick to write me off with anxiety meds... I need to find the root of this problem! Could getting into a regular workout routine reverse these symptoms? Are bulging varicose veins reversible without surgery? Are all of these symptoms related to one another (varicose veins, restless leg syndrome, edema)?
Some quick family history: My father has developed edema in his older age. He's a very healthy man though, working out every day. Though, he still travels a lot, which could contribute to that. My grandmother had a very mild heart attack maybe 10-15 years ago. Outside of her, I don't know of anyone else in my family tree who has had heart problems.
If anyone could help, I'd really appreciate it. I'm mostly interested in what steps I should take next to get my left leg back to normal condition. Thank you all in advance!