Swelling in the feet and legs might be caused by something as simple as standing for too long, or by a serious health condition.
The medical term for swelling caused by fluid retention is edema. Other symptoms of edema include:
- Discomfort in the swollen area
- Reduced mobility of the swollen area
- Skin that appears shiny and stretched over the swollen area
- Skin that does not quickly return to normal after it has been pressed (see picture)
Edema can be a side effect of medications such as blood pressure medication, steroids, antidepressants, NSAIDs, and certain diabetes medications.
However, it may also be caused by one of the following 6 medical conditions:
1. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
are blood clots which occur deep in the legs. DVTs are serious since they can either cause a blockage in a vein, or a clot might break loose, leading to a blockage in the heart or lungs.
It may be a DVT if:
the swelling is only in one leg, and the person has pain, a low-grade fever, and a color change in the affected area. A DVT is a medical emergency.
2. Kidney Disease
prevents the flushing of fluid from the body.
It may be kidney disease if:
the following symptoms are also present: infrequent urination, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, nausea, or confusion. In severe cases, kidney disease may cause coma or seizures.
With the exception of frequent urination, these symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack, and necessitate immediate medical attention.
3. Venous Insufficiency
refers to the inability of valves in the veins of the legs to prevent blood from backing up.
It may be venous insufficiency if:
the swelling is accompanied by achy, flaking skin, varicose veins, or skin ulcers.
Venous insufficiency is serious, but it is not a medical emergency. If you think you or a loved one has venous insufficiency, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
4. Right-side Heart Failure
If the right side of the heart is damaged, it is unable to pump enough blood to the body. This can result in retention of salts and water.
It may be heart failure if:
the following symptoms are also present: shortness of breath, fatigue or weakness, rapid heartbeat, coughing or wheezing, abdominal swelling, general fluid retention, or difficulty concentrating.
Someone with suspected heart failure should seek immediate medical attention.
5. Liver Disease
causes edema by inhibiting production of albumin, a protein that prevents blood from leaking out of the blood vessels.
It may be liver disease if:
the following symptoms are also present: jaundice, dark urine, bruising, fatigue, or abdominal tenderness.
Liver disease is serious, but it is not a medical emergency. Someone with suspected liver disease should see their doctor as soon as possible.
Refers to the gathering of lymph fluid in the tissues.
It may be lymphedema if: the person has received treatment for cancer, including radiation therapy or the removal of a lymph node.
A person with lymphedema should see their doctor as soon as possible.
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Our family -owned and -operated 123-bed facility, is tucked away in the quiet beach town of Keansburg, NJ at the Jersey Shore, within sight of Sandy Hook and the New York City skyline.
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We pride ourselves on healing the entire patient through a holistic and individualized approach.
Our meticulous care planning helps us ensure that each and every resident receives the best in clinical care, support and unconditional love.
For over 25 years, we have been a staple of health and wellness, serving the members of our community and partnering with our local hospitals like Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, NJ and Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, NJ.
We provide a tailored program of physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as all types of specialized care under one roof.
Or better yet, come see for yourself. Contact us to schedule a tour by clicking here or by calling (372) 787-8100.