Anyone can experience swollen feet from time to time. It's common — especially after walking or standing for long periods — and it's often remedied by resting and elevating those tired dogs. Sometimes, however, swelling also called edema is a red flag for a more serious underlying problem. When you are on your feet a lot, gravity pulls blood into the veins of your legs, and some of the water in the blood enters the tissues of your legs and feet, causing them to swell. But there are also some conditions that can cause similar swelling because they affect the movement of fluids within the body.
Drug side effects. Swelling of the foot, Heart disease swollen feet and leg Hert be severe enough to leave an indentation pit when you press on the area. This content does not have an English version. Several problems with the bones and tendons in your feet also can cause swelling, although in contrast to the vascular causes they also typically cause pain. But these symptoms can also signal a blood clot deep inside the leg known as deep-vein thrombosis. A more common cause of swollen legs is a condition known as venous insufficiency, which also becomes more prevalent with age.
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When the heart can't pump blood as well as it should, blood backs up in the veins that go from the lungs to the heart. These yellow, fat deposits can potentially be signs of heart disease because they may indicate high levels of fats in the blood. See a doctor. This is a problem with your heart rate or rhythm. Then he clutches his chest, staggers, and eventually falls over. Read this next. What can your doctor do What can your doctor Heart disease swollen feet nurse do? The warning signs of heart disease may not be obvious. Angina - heart disease warning signs; Chest pain - heart disease warning signs; Dyspnea - heart disease warning signs; Edema - heart disease warning signs; Palpitations - heart disease Nude thai men signs. Another term for heart failure is congestive heart failureor CHF. But unlike during a real heart attack, the arteries are not blocked. They are more likely to have symptoms other than chest pain, such as: Fatigue Shortness of breath General weakness Change in skin color or greyish pallor episodes of change in skin color associated with weakness Other Heart disease swollen feet of a heart attack can include: Extreme anxiety Fainting or loss of consciousness Lightheadedness or dizziness Nausea or vomiting Palpitations feeling like your heart is beating too fast or irregularly Shortness of breath Sweating, which may be very heavy. Some early warning signs may include:.
By themselves, any one sign of heart failure may not be cause for alarm.
- The classic red flags for a heart attack are familiar to anyone who has watched medical dramas on television.
- Some examples include atrioventricular septal defect, conotruncal malformations, transposition of great vessels and heart valve dysplasia.
- Swelling in the legs and ankles is caused by fluid accumulation in the body, which can be a sign of worsening heart failure.
- Swollen feet can be caused by factors such as overuse, surgery, or pregnancy.
- They take a beating every day, supporting your body weight and letting you walk, run, jump, stand, and tip-toe.
- Heart disease often develops over time.
I have noticed my legs are getting more swollen lately. Is this anything to worry about? My mother also had this problem and was diagnosed with heart failure. Leg swelling is very common, especially as people get older. Heart failure, which means the heart can't function well enough to meet the body's needs, is certainly on the list of serious causes. However, people usually experience other symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue by the time the heart failure becomes serious enough to cause leg swelling.
This symptom, called edema, occurs because the heart doesn't have enough pumping power to force blood back up from the lower extremities. Often, the swelling is most noticeable in the ankles. But it can spread up the legs and even to the lower abdomen. More serious cases can cause what's known as pitting edema: if you press a finger into the swollen area, it briefly leaves an indentation or pit.
Occasionally, leaky heart valves especially the tricuspid valve, located between the right upper and lower chambers of the heart can cause marked swelling of the legs. A more common cause of swollen legs is a condition known as venous insufficiency, which also becomes more prevalent with age. People who've had blood clots in their legs and women who've been pregnant are more prone to this problem.
It occurs when the walls of the veins deep inside the legs weaken, and the one-way valves that help propel blood back to the heart are damaged. As a result, some blood flows backward and the veins stay filled with blood, especially after long periods of standing. Elevating the legs when sitting and putting a pillow under the legs when sleeping can lessen swelling. So can wearing support stockings from a medical supply store, but avoid those that leave marks on your legs — they may be too tight.
Prescription-strength compression stockings are also available and may be useful. Check with your primary care physician or a specialist in venous disorders to be fitted properly for these. If just one leg suddenly becomes swollen, red, and warm to the touch for no apparent cause, keep a close eye on it and call your doctor for advice. One possibility is a skin infection known as cellulitis.
But these symptoms can also signal a blood clot deep inside the leg known as deep-vein thrombosis. If the clot breaks loose and travels to the lung, it can cause a pulmonary embolism, which is very serious and can be fatal.
If you cannot reach your physician's office, go to your nearest emergency department. Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Harvard Heart Letter. Ask the doctor Published: February, Heart Health Heart Failure. E-mail Address. First Name Optional.
The warning signs of heart disease may not be obvious. Adapting your lifestyle Managing your medicines Taking your own blood pressure and pulse Support groups. Is this cause for concern? Our guide below covers every cause, then takes you through the next steps. Blood clot. By Mandy Gardner August 14,
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Warning Signs of Heart Failure | American Heart Association
Anyone can experience swollen feet from time to time. It's common — especially after walking or standing for long periods — and it's often remedied by resting and elevating those tired dogs. Sometimes, however, swelling also called edema is a red flag for a more serious underlying problem. When you are on your feet a lot, gravity pulls blood into the veins of your legs, and some of the water in the blood enters the tissues of your legs and feet, causing them to swell.
But there are also some conditions that can cause similar swelling because they affect the movement of fluids within the body. Venous insufficiency. Valves in the veins of our legs keep blood from being pulled down by gravity and pooling in the leg veins.
As we age, those valves age, too, and may function less efficiently. This is a common cause of swollen feet. This painful inflammation of the veins can cause swollen feet and also leg pain. Deep-vein thrombosis. In this condition, blood clots form in the deep veins of the legs. The clots block the return of blood from the legs to the heart, causing swelling of the legs and feet.
This can be very serious if it is not diagnosed and treated promptly: the blood clots can break loose and travel in the blood to the lungs, causing a condition called pulmonary embolism. This can cause breathlessness, pain with breathing, and even death. Usually, the clots occur in only one leg, and so just one leg is unusually swollen. While a new swelling of both legs and feet often is not serious, new swelling of just one leg is always something to bring to your doctor.
Heart failure. A failing heart does not pump as effectively as it should. As a result, blood in the leg veins that should be pumped back to the heart instead pools in the veins. Liver disease. Some liver diseases can lead to low blood levels of a protein called albumin, which is made in the liver. Low albumin levels cause fluid in the blood to pass into the tissues, producing swelling not only of the legs and feet but also other parts of the body, such as the hands and face. Kidney disease.
Fluid can build up in the tissues if disease makes it hard for the kidneys to get rid of excess fluid in the body one of the main functions of the kidneys. Sometimes, swelling in the feet is the first clue that you have heart failure or liver or kidney disease, and your doctor needs to consider those possibilities.
Your doctor will take a medical history and do a thorough physical examination that includes your heart and lungs. The doctor may order blood and urine tests, a chest x-ray, an electrocardiogram, or other tests. Sometimes swollen feet have causes that are not directly related to the flow of body fluids. For example:. Bone and tendon conditions.
Several problems with the bones and tendons in your feet also can cause swelling, although in contrast to the vascular causes they also typically cause pain. Examples include fractures, arthritis, and tendinitis. Problems with the skin and toenails. As we age, our skin thins. That makes skin more vulnerable to cuts, which then can become infected, causing swelling of the area near the wound.
A cut on the foot can cause the whole foot to swell. Ingrown toenails that dig into the skin also can lead to sores and swelling. Drug side effects. Some medications, such as calcium-channel blockers to treat high blood pressure, can also be the culprit.
A little foot swelling is probably nothing to worry about. If you get off your feet and prop them up on a footstool, the swelling should disappear over several hours. When should you call the doctor? Ioli advises. Finally, don't make your own diagnosis. With so many potential reasons for swelling, it's important to let your doctor drill down to the cause, prescribe the treatment you need, and help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Harvard Health Letter. Perhaps you're just on your feet a lot, but the swelling also could signal a potentially serious condition. Published: November, E-mail Address. First Name Optional.