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Pictures Of Swollen Ankles Due To Congestive Heart Failure

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Are Swollen Feet A Sign Of Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Pathophysiology, Nursing, Treatment, Symptoms | Heart Failure Part 1

Your heart is the hardest-working muscle, pumping an average of 2,000 gallons of blood a day. So when something goes wrong with it, your body will quickly let you know.

Heart failure happens when it cant pump enough blood to keep your organs working normally. One major sign of heart failure is swollen feet, or edema. The swelling comes from fluid trapped inside the tissues of your body.

Heart failure causes swelling in your feet because the kidneys arent getting enough oxygen to properly filter your blood. When that happens, your body keeps the extra fluid and waste products inside your body.

Heart failure also causes a backup of blood, which causes the body to hold on to extra fluid outside of the arteries or veins. This results in swelling in the feet.

What Do Symptoms Of End Stage Congestive Heart Failure Look Like


Dyspnea or shortness of breath can occur both during activity and rest. This is the symptom that often sends patients racing to the hospital late at night. Work with your hospice or palliative care team to manage symptoms at home and avoid these stressful hospital trips.

Chronic Cough

When the heart cannot keep up with the supply of blood moving between it and the lungs, fluid can build up in the lungs. This results in a chronic cough or wheezing that can produce white or pink mucus.


As the hearts ability to pump slows down, fluid can build up in the body. This creates swelling in the extremities particularly the feet, ankles, legs, or abdomen.

Lack of Appetite

As the digestive system receives less blood, patients may feel full or nauseous. Not wanting to eat is a natural part of the body shutting down, but families often find this distressing. Learn more about why it is okay for your loved one to stop eating and drinking at end of life.

High Heart Rate

In response to a loss in pumping capacity, the heart begins to beat faster. The patient experiences this as a racing or throbbing heartbeat.


When the heart stops working effectively, it can change sodium levels in the blood. This leads to memory loss, confusion, and a general feeling of disorientation.

What Are The Stages Of Congestive Heart Failure

Once a diagnosis of heart failure is established, evaluation of heart failure is important. Providing a complete and accurate history of symptoms is essential. Two major groups have established various stages of congestive heart failure.

The American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association stages patients according to the progression of their heart failure. The stages are as follows:

  • Stage A: High risk for developing heart failure
  • Patient has one or more risk factors for developing heart failure.
  • Stage B: Asymptomatic heart failure
  • This stage includes patients who have an enlarged or dysfunctional left ventricle from any cause, but are asymptomatic.
  • Stage C: Symptomatic heart failure
  • Patient experiences heart failure symptoms — shortness of breath, fatigue, inability to exercise, etc.
  • Stage D: Refractory end-stage heart failure
  • Patient has heart failure symptoms at rest in spite of medical treatment.
  • Cardiac transplantation, mechanical devices, more aggressive medical therapy, or end-of-life care may be necessary.
  • The New York Heart Association classifies patients based on their physical limitations. Classifications are as follows:

    • Class I: No limitations of physical activity, no symptoms with ordinary activities
    • Class II: Slight limitation, symptoms with ordinary activities
    • Class III: Marked limitation, symptoms with less than ordinary activities
    • Class IV: Severe limitation, symptoms of heart failure at rest

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    What Is Rheumatic Heart Disease

    Rheumatic heart disease is a condition in which the heart valves have been permanently damaged by rheumatic fever. The heart valve damage may start shortly after untreated or under-treated streptococcal infection such as strep throat or scarlet fever. An immune response causes an inflammatory condition in the body which can result in on-going valve damage.

    What Causes Heart Failure

    Ankle oedema in heart failure

    Although the risk of heart failure doesnt change as you get older, youre more likely to have heart failure when youre older.

    Many medical conditions that damage the heart muscle can cause heart failure. Common conditions include:

    • Tobacco and recreational drug use.
    • Medications. Some drugs used to fight cancer can lead to heart failure.

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    When To Call The Doctor

    If you have any signs of heart disease, call your health care provider right away. Don’t wait to see if the symptoms go away or dismiss them as nothing.

    • You have chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack
    • You know you have angina and have chest pain that doesn’t go away after 5 minutes of rest or after taking nitroglycerine
    • You think you may be having a heart attack
    • You become extremely short of breath
    • You think you may have lost consciousness

    Symptom: Shortness Of Breath

    It’s one of the first red flags you may notice, especially after youâre active. It can also happen when youâre at rest once heart failure gets worse. Sometimes you may feel short of breath when youâre lying down or sleeping. Thatâs because the heart canât keep up with the blood flow back to it from the lungs. When that happens, fluid leaks into the lungs. That will make it harder to breathe.

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    Because The Heart Is Too Weak And

    Because the heart is too weak and Congestive heart failure can cause both peripheral edema and abdominal edema . 8 rows · congestive heart failure is a type of heart failure which requires seeking timely medical Pictures of swollen ankles due to congestive heart failure. This is known as heart failure edema and often involves swollen feet and ankles. Pin on foot and ankle swelling. It can also cause swelling of your hands. Jan 29, 2021 · when symptoms grow worse , heart failure can cause swelling in the ankles and legs, as well as swollen feet. Jun 09, 2020 · causes of swelling in legs and ankles in congestive heart failure. Aug 06, 2020 · unfortunately, the heart can become weakened and gradually fail to pump as well as it should. Oct 25, 2021 · 12 causes of swollen ankles feet why are my ankles swollen. 13 reasons you have swollen feet according to doctors health com. When this happens, doctors call it “heart failure.” one of the more noticeable features of heart failure is swelling.

    13 reasons you have swollen feet according to doctors health com. Find this pin and more on health by marla flanagan. It can also cause swelling of your hands. Swelling in the legs and ankles is caused by fluid accumulation in the body, which can be a sign of worsening heart failure. Pictures of swollen ankles due to congestive heart failure.

    What Should The Caregiver Remember When The Patient Is At The End

    Edema – Fluid Retention due to Congestive Heart Failure

    Various important decisions of the patients life have to be taken by the caregivers surrounding the patient. Great responsibilities come up on the caregiver as the patient gradually becomes completely dependent. The caregiver should always be on his toes because there can arise an emergency at any point of time. The patient may have to be admitted to the hospital frequently during the last stage. Symptoms can worsen overnight and the caregivers should be prepared for it.

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    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 there’s 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.

    How Is Congestive Heart Failure Diagnosed

    Patients will typically have an intake visit with a heart specialist and nurse or physicians assistant. During this visit, a review of the patients prior records and his or her current health status is incorporated to establish a picture of where the patient is along the spectrum, and then a plan is established for prognosis and treatment.

    The process often takes more than one meeting and involves both the patients local cardiologist or referring physician.

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    Nitrates Apresoline Beta Blockers And Inotropes Drugs For Congestive Heart Failure

    Nitrates are venous vasodilators that include isosorbide mononitrate and isosorbide dinitrate . They are commonly used in combination with an arterial vasodilator, such as hydralazine .

    • Nitroglycerin is a nitrate preparation that is administered to treat acute chest pain, or angina.

    Hydralazine is a smooth muscle arterial vasodilator that may be used for congestive heart failure. Clinical trial data has shown hydralazine plus nitrates to be especially effective in African-Americans with heart failure, when used in addition to ACE inhibitors or ARBs.

    • Isosorbide dinitrate and hydralazine is a fixed dose combination of isosorbide dinitrate and hydralazine . This drug is indicated for heart failure in African-Americans based in part on results of the African American Heart Failure Trial .
    • Hydralazine is also especially valuable in patients who have poor kidney function and/or are intolerant to ACE inhibitors and ARBs.

    Beta-blockers: These drugs slow down the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and have a direct effect on the heart muscle to lessen the workload of the heart. Specific beta-blockers, such as carvedilol and long-acting metoprolol , have been shown to decrease symptoms, hospitalization due to congestive heart failure, and deaths. Other beta-blockers include bispropolol , atenolol , propranolol , and , but they are generally not used with significant congestive heart failure.

    Getting the most out of congestive heart failure medications involves the following:

    Heart Failure Edema Treatment Starts By Throwing Away Your Salt Shaker


    Sodium is possibly the biggest dietary culprit in causing fluid retention. The first thing anyone with heart failure should do to improve their overall health is throw away their salt shaker.

    In general, you should consume less than 2,000 mg of sodium a day if you have heart failure. Because sodium lurks in most pre-packaged foods, you should read food labels carefully to get a real understanding of how much salt youre taking in.

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    Surprising Physical Signs Of Heart Disease

    Many people associate heart disease with obvious symptoms, like chest pain. But there are some not-so-obvious connections, like swollen feet or bleeding gums, that should also merit a heart check from your doctor.

    The classic red flags for a heart attack are familiar to anyone who has watched medical dramas on television. The patient, usually an older man, starts wheezing and gasping for breath. Then he clutches his chest, staggers, and eventually falls over. In real life, the signs and symptoms of heart disease are much more varied and subtle.

    Cardiac Mortality In Placebo Controlled Heart Failure Trials

    33 1.2

    EF ejection fraction. SOLVD-P, SOLVD-T=studies of left ventricular dysfunction prevention arm and treatment arm .

    H-ISDN=hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate.

    *Treatment with H-ISDN.

    Treatment with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors prevents or delays the onset of symptomatic heart failure in patients with asymptomatic, or minimally symptomatic, left ventricular systolic dysfunction. The increase in mortality with the development of symptoms suggests that the optimal time for intervention with these agents is well before the onset of substantial left ventricular dysfunction, even in the absence of overt clinical symptoms of heart failure. This benefit has been confirmed in several large, well conducted, postmyocardial infarction studies.

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    Early Signs Of Edema And Swelling

    Swelling or edema comes about when there is excess water in the tissues. Edema most commonly occurs in the arms and legs. Although it can occur in the abdomen. There are some early signs of edema that you should be aware of.

    • Arms or legs that suddenly start to feel heavy
    • When pressing on an arm or leg leaves a dent
    • When clothes and jewelry start to feel tight
    • Pain in surrounding joints

    Edema related to circulation heart, or liver problems are serious, and these conditions need emergency treatment.

    When To See A Doctor

    Congestive Heart Failure: Left-sided vs Right-sided, Systolic vs Diastolic, Animation.

    Because there are different causes of swollen feet, that symptom alone may not be reason enough to seek medical attention. Swelling can also be temporary or permanent. Consider the following factors when making the decision on whether to call your doctor:

    • Medical history:Patients with chronic heart failure or lung disease may have exacerbations, periods when symptoms are worse, that cause edema. If youre on medications for any chronic illness, one of them could be causing edema as well. Always talk to your doctor before stopping any medication.
    • Sudden onset of symptoms: No matter what your medical history is, if you experience sudden pain, redness, or swelling on any area of your body or shortness of breath, call your doctor immediately.

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    When To Get Medical Advice

    See your GP if you experience persistent or gradually worsening symptoms of heart failure.

    The symptoms can be caused by other, less serious conditions, so it’s a good idea to get them checked out.

    Call 999 for an ambulance or go to your nearest accident and emergency department as soon as possible if you have sudden or very severe symptoms.

    This is a medical emergency that may require immediate treatment in hospital.

    Page last reviewed: 19 May 2022 Next review due: 19 May 2025

    Whats The Connection With Congestive Heart Failure

    When someone experiences heart failure, one or both of the hearts lower chambers lose the ability to pump blood effectively. The blood can then back up in the legs, ankles, and feet, which leads to swelling, or edema.

    If the person spends a lot of time on their back, the swelling can end up in the back.

    Heart failure can also cause swelling in the abdomen and sometimes can lead to fluid buildup in the lungs, called pulmonary edema. Pulmonary edema can lead to shortness of breath. While uncommon, pulmonary edema can be life-threatening. A person experiencing edema with shortness of breath should see a doctor right away.

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    Fluid Overload Indicates Heart Issue

    “When symptoms appear to be more systemic, when the entire body is affected by an overload of fluid volume, those are the kinds of things that may be heart-related,” he said.

    A condition that’s often underdiagnosed even in the face of these symptoms is pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in the lung.

    “Essentially the right side of the heart fails because that side isn’t built to withstand high blood pressures,” said Dr. Bhakta. “The pressures in the lung can climb so high that the right side of the heart can no longer push blood through the lungs’ circulatory system.”

    Other heart problems that can be related to leg swelling include:

    • Atrial and ventricular septal defects holes in the heart that are typically diagnosed at birth
    • Certain abnormal heart rhythms
    • Left heart failure: Swollen ankles and legs can be a symptom

    How Is The Degree Of Pitting Edema Measured

    Pictures Of Swollen Ankles Due To Congestive Heart Failure

    Some doctors may use a scale to determine the severity of the pitting edema. These scales are subjective based on either how deep the pitting is, or how long the pitting persists.

    Following are two examples of edema measurement using 4-point scales, with 1 point being minor edema, to 4 points being severe edema.

    Pitting Edema Measurement Scales

    > 30 seconds to rebound. 8mm: very deep pit. > 20 seconds to rebound.

    In non-pitting edema, which usually affects the legs or arms, pressure applied to the skin does not result in a persistent indentation. Non-pitting edema can occur in certain disorders of the lymphatic system such as lymphedema, which is a disturbance of the lymphatic circulation that may occur after a mastectomy, lymph node surgery, radiation therapy, morbid obesity, venous insufficiency, or be present from birth .

    Another cause of non-pitting let edema is called pretibial myxedema, which is a swelling over the shin that occurs in some people with hypothyroidism. Non-pitting leg edema is difficult to treat. Diuretic medications are generally not effective, although elevation of the legs periodically during the day and compressive devices may reduce the swelling.

    The focus of the rest of this article is on pitting edema, as it is the most common form of edema.

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    What Causes A Swollen Ankle

    Swelling in the body is usually a sign of an underlying problem. Sometimes swelling in a sign of inflammation in the affected area, after an injury, for instance. Inflammation is more likely to affect one area or one side of the body. Swelling can also be caused by problems with fluid balance. When the body holds on to too much fluid, it collects in the legs and ankles due to gravity. This is more likely to affect both sides of the body equally. Some common causes of swollen ankles, divided by category, are outlined below:

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