What Medical Conditions Cause Symptoms Of Swollen Feet And Ankles
Occasionally, specific medical problems will show additional or relatively unique symptoms, for example:
- Symptoms of gout include swelling of the big toe with redness, warmth, and pain, arthritis with swelling and joint pain, or electrolyte imbalance with low magnesium causing foot and leg cramps.
- The sudden appearance of bilateral feet and ankle swelling during pregnancy can be the first symptoms noticed in females with preeclampsia.
- Unilateral swelling of the foot or ankle usually has the same symptoms described above if the underlying cause is unilateral lymphedema, venous insufficiency, or blood clots. However, with blood clots, there is often pain generated when the swollen area has pressure applied to the area. Chronic venous insufficiency often has skin changes in color and texture as described above but may also develop skin ulcers or secondary infections.
Injury or infection of the ankle is usually unilateral but can be bilateral. Injury or infection is often, in the early stages, limited to either the foot or the ankle, but may spread to each other. Swelling due to trauma usually is localized to the injured area in some instances, the swollen skin area may be damaged by abrasion, laceration, or bruising.
You’re Dealing With Hormone Fluctuations
You know how bloated you can feel the week before your period? That waterlogged feeling is the normal result of hormone fluctuations after ovulation, when premenstrual syndrome sets in. PMS can also be to blame for swollen feet, if it happens at this point in your cycle. “You can feel a little puffier or swollen for sure,” said Dr. Marcussen. “It’s noticeable in the legs and feet, where it tends to pool because of gravity.”
Hormonal changes triggered by hormonal contraception or hormone replacement therapy can also contribute to swelling in various parts of the body, including your feet. To relieve the bloat, amp your water intake, cut down on salty foods, and don’t skip your workouts, which can help with circulation.
The Kidneys Role In Edema
When the heart starts to fail, the blood flow to the kidneys decreases. When this happens, it may prompt the kidneys to hold on to sodium and water, leading to edema.
The kidneys attempt to maintain a normal state when they sense the decrease in blood flow, says Columbus Batiste, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente in Riverside, California. As a result of attempting to maintain a normal fluid state , the kidneys trigger a cascade of chemical messengers in the form of the hormones renin, aldosterone, and vasopressin, which ultimately leads to increased sodium, water retention, and thirst.
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What To Do If You Have Edema
Find out about the causes and treatment of this condition, which causes the swelling of limbs.
Edema is the swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in the bodys tissue. It usually occurs in the feet, ankles, and legs, but it can happen in other parts of the body, too.
The condition often occurs as the result of congestive heart failure . It can also be the result of medication, pregnancy, or another underlying condition, like kidney disease or cirrhosis of the liver.
An array of conditions congestive heart failure and lung, liver, kidney, and thyroid diseases can lead to edema. It can also be caused by medications to control blood pressure or by an allergic reaction.
Signs that you have edema include these symptoms:
- Swelling or puffiness of the tissue directly under the skin, especially in the legs or arms
- Arms or legs that feel full or heavy
- Shiny or stretched skin
- Skin that retains pits, or a dimple, after being pressed for several seconds
- Not fitting into clothing or jewelry
- A tightening or warming of the skin near the swelling
- Difficulty moving joints
- An increased abdominal size
If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor. However, you should seek medical attention immediately if you experience these along with shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or chest pain.
How Often Should You Visit Your Doctor If You Have Congestive Heart Failure
How often you need to see your doctor depends on the severity of your heart failure. You may be under the care of both a general cardiologist in addition to a heart failure specialist.
People with mild to moderate symptoms can see their doctor two to three times a year. Those with more severe symptoms may need to see their doctor every month. Those who are very unstable may need the care of a nurse daily.
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What Are The Treatment Options For Congestive Heart Failure
According to the American Heart Association, main treatment options for congestive heart failure include lifestyle modification, monitored cardiac rehabilitation, prescription medications, electronic heart implants, and surgical procedures. This article will explain in detail the specific treatment options in these broad categories.
How Does Heart Failure Affect The Quality Of Life And Lifestyle
With the right care and treatment plan, many adults still enjoy life even though heart failure limits their activities. How well you feel depends on:
- How well your heart muscle is working.
- Your symptoms.
- How well you respond to your treatment plan.
- How well you follow your treatment plan.
This includes caring for yourself by:
- Taking your medications.
- Tracking and reporting new or worsening symptoms to your provider.
- Keeping regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider.
Because heart failure is a chronic, long-term illness, talk to your doctor and your family about your preferences for medical care. You can complete an advance directive or living will to let everyone involved in your care know what you want. A living will details the treatments you do or dont want to prolong your life. Its a good idea to prepare a living will while you are well in case you arent able to make these decisions at a later time.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you have heart failure, you can take steps to improve your heart health. Take your medications as instructed, follow a low-sodium diet, stay active or become physically active, take notice of sudden changes in your weight, live a healthy lifestyle, keep your follow-up appointments and track your symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider about questions or concerns you have about your medications, lifestyle changes or any other part of your treatment plan.
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You Consume Too Much Salt
The sodium in salt is the biggest dietary culprit when it comes to retaining water in general. So it only makes sense that it can lead to swollen feet as well, said Dr. Johanning. The American Heart Association recommends that adults take in no more than 2,300 mg of sodium every day, or about a teaspoon of salt per day.
Thing is, most of the sodium people consume comes not from the salt shaker but from processed and restaurant food, where it’s hidden among a list of ingredients and used as a preservative. Prime sources include cold cuts, processed snacks, frozen meals, canned soups, bread, and salad dressing. Go easy on all of these, and instead focus on sodium-free items such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains while avoiding processed foods.
Heart Replacement Surgery Is A Last Resort When All Other Treatment Options Have Failed
Surgery to replace the heart is a consideration when all other treatment options have failed. It may take months to years to find a compatible heart donor and there is also the risk that your body may reject the transplanted heart.
Dr. Robert Higgins at Johns Hopkins Hospital is leading a team to develop an artificial heart. The newest technology will require many clinical trials before it becomes accepted as a treatment.
People who are interested may elect to participate in clinical research studies to test the effectiveness and safety of new medical advances.
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What Are The Clinical Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure
CHF affects many organs in the body due to poor blood perfusion, including the lungs, kidneys, and liver. Trouble breathing and exercise intolerance can occur.
In severe cases, one is unable to perform activities of daily living such as getting out of bed, dressing, walking, and bathing.
In left-sided heart failure, swelling of the feet and legs can occur. Kidney failure can also contribute to swelling.
Unexplained weight loss despite adequate caloric intake is common, also known as cachexia. This Youtube video explains the science behind congestive heart failure and provides an animated model detailing the anatomy of the heart.
Symptoms Of Heart Failure
In the early stages of heart failure, people might not experience any symptoms. But as heart failure progresses, symptoms may occur one by one or all togetherand yes, swollen feet is one of them.
- Shortness of breath while doing simple, everyday activities like climbing the stairs or walking to the mailbox
- Trouble breathing while reclining in a chair or lying down at night
- Waking up and catching your breath
- Tiring easily
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What Is The Prognosis For Swollen Feet And Swollen Ankles
The majority of people with swollen feet and ankles have a good to excellent outcome because the swelling is usually reversible and has no lasting complications. However, a significant number of patients who have underlying causes that are chronic and refractory to treatment have a wider range of prognosis depending on how well the patient responds to both lifestyle changes and medications.
How Is Heart Failure Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask about your medical history, symptoms and examine you. You may then be sent for tests such as:
- an echocardiogram
- breathing tests to see if a lung problem is causing your breathlessness
- a chest x-ray to check if theres fluid in your lungs or if a lung condition is causing the symptoms.
Your doctor may talk about the ejection fraction of your heart. This refers to the amount of blood that is squeezed out of your left ventricle every time your heart beats. Its usually measured as a percentage over 50% is considered normal. Your ejection fraction is measured from an echocardiogram.Some people with heart failure can have a normal ejection fraction, so ejection fraction is used alongside other tests to diagnose heart failure.
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Prevention/control Of Heart Failure
The best way to prevent or halt the progression of heart failure is to control conditions that cause heart failure, such as:
- Coronary artery disease, also called atherosclerosis
- High blood pressure
- Excess weight
Thats where heart-health programs like Pritikin come in. For four decades, scientists at UCLA and other research universities have documented the success of the diet-and-exercise lifestyle taught at the Pritikin Longevity Center to:
- Lower virtually all modifiable risk factors2 for coronary artery disease, including cholesterol, triglycerides, and inflammatory factors like C-reactive protein3
- Reduce blood pressure to normal or near-normal levels, and without the need for medications4
- Lower blood sugar in people with diabetes5 and reverse conditions like pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome6
- Shed excess weight7
Heart Failure And Edema
Edema develops when water gets trapped in your body tissues. This results in swelling, usually in your feet or ankles, but it can also affect your entire body.
As blood flow out of the heart slows, blood returning to the heart through the veins backs up, causing fluid to build up in tissues. The kidneys are less able to get rid of sodium and water in the body, which also causes fluid retention in tissues.
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Beebe Interventional Cardiologists Perform Life
Structrual heart disease in a new and up-and-coming field of cardiology where certain procedures on the heart, that required open heart surgery before, can now be performed via minimally invasive femoral artery access in an interventional cardiology lab. Beebe has a talented and enthusiastic group of very well-trained interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons that are performing some of these procedures with great success.
If your quality of life has changed due to high blood pressure, swelling, or inflammation possibly caused by a heart condition, Beebes structural heart team may be able to help.
Talk to your cardiologist about your heart condition and if a procedure may improve your quality of life.
Beebe offers advanced procedures for heart conditions:
If you experience ongoing fatigue, shortness of breath, or trouble walking distances that you used to be able to accomplish you could have aortic stenosis. Learn more.
If you have issues with blood flow through your ventricles, aorta, or mitral valve, Beebe can help. Learn more about Cardiovascular Services.
Can You Prevent Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure can be the ultimate result of a number of diseases, or lifestyle choices, that damage the heart. Some of these can be prevented. Others cannot be prevented but can be treated successfully.
Some examples of illnesses or lifestyle choices that can lead to congestive heart failure are as follows:
- Coronary heart disease , including heart attack
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Congenital heart disease
- Damage to the heart valves
In some cases, a family history of heart failure can be present. Many cases are a combination of factors, and in other cases, the cause is unknown.
If a person has congestive heart failure, they are at increased risk of developing pneumonia. They probably should receive both the pneumonia vaccination and annual flu shots. Patients should ask their doctor or other health care professional to be sure.
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How Does Congestive Heart Failure Affect Your Sex Life And What Changes Do You Need To Make
When you are first diagnosed with heart disease, it is important to discuss with your doctor what types of physical activity are safe for you to engage in, including sexual intercourse.
The American Heart Association states that it is safe to have sex once your heart condition is stabilized. It is important to take your prescribed medications even if side effects have a negative impact on your sexual function because the health of your heart should be a priority.
You’re In Kidney Failure
Your kidneys are responsible for balancing fluids in your body and moving fluid you don’t need out of your system. When one or both aren’t functioning properly, you might end up with swollen feet.
“Normally people go home and put their feet up, and the body reabsorbs that little bit of extra fluid, and the kidneys just get rid of it,” explained Dr. Marcussen. ” kidney problems, your body has trouble getting rid of that fluid, then that swelling is more marked and more dramatic. A lot of people have swelling other places too, like their hands and face.”
You would think that treatment for kidney disease would help the problem, but not so with dialysis, which is often required for advanced cases of kidney failure. Dialysis machines are like artificial kidneys, performing the same tasks that your kidneys no longer can. Even on dialysis, though, your body can’t get rid of enough fluid.
This is when medications can help. “People who have heart failure or kidney problems are often put on diuretics,” said Dr. Marcussen, of medications that increase the amount of water and salt you excrete in your urine. “Basically they help the kidneys dump fluid.”
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General Puffiness Or Swelling Caused By Water Retention
Signs of this kind of edema include puffiness of the hands, feet and / or face. This kind of edema is temporary and goes away without treatment. It can happen because you have been standing or sitting for too long. Edema is common after a long flight, for example, or in people who have to stand for long periods at work. Many women experience edema during their monthly period or during pregnancy. Edema in pregnancy is usually harmless, although it can be a sign of other problems if blood pressure is also high.
Swollen Feet And Heart Failure
Her swollen feet had gotten so bad that she couldnt put her shoes on.
Gloria W, a 70-year-old retired media buyer, knew she had to do something, fast. She’d just found out why her feet were so swollen. She had heart failure. Her doctor advised that a heart-healthy lifestyle would be beneficial, and the Pritikin Longevity Center in Florida is the 5-star way to start. She wasted no time boarding a plane to Pritikin.
Swollen feet may be a symptom of life-threatening heart failure. Learn about lifestyle solutions that can put the breaks on heart failure, and maybe even get you up dancing again.
Within two weeks at Pritikin, the swelling in Glorias feet had subsided substantially.
Even more importantly, I felt young again, she says, awed.
In Pritikins gym, under the watchful eyes of physicians and exercise physiologists, she started walking one mile, then two, then three miles a day, and with no pain.
Today, one year later and back home in Pasadena, California, shes still exercising and eating Pritikin-style. And the rewards are, well, priceless.
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Leg Pain And Weakness
If you’re experiencing pain or weakness in your legs and have difficulty walking, you may have peripheral vascular disease. Other PVD symptoms include:
- Numbness in your legs
- A sense of cold in the calf or foot, especially compared to the other side
- A change in the color of your legs
- Sores that won’t heal on your feet or legs
- If you’re experiencing these signs of PVD, see your doctor
Leg swelling as a single symptom that lasts more than a few days requires an office visit with a primary care physician or cardiologist, Dr. Bhakta emphasized. There’s about an 85% chance that leg swelling is related to chronic venous insufficiency or side effects from medications, such as calcium channel blockers or corticosteroids . But youll need a healthcare provider’s direction to determine the cause.
If leg swelling is accompanied by shortness of breath or chest pain, go to the ER.