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Are swollen legs a sign of heart problems?

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Are swollen legs a sign of heart problems?

There are many types of heart failure. The most important issue is that your heart cannot transport oxygen and blood efficiently across the entire body in the event of overcompensation that causes the heart to expand. As a result, the heart’s muscle tissue gets thicker, and the heart attempts to be as quick as it can to meet its demands. Due to this, many patients experience swollen legs. 

Because blood vessels narrow to make up for the heart’s inability to provide oxygen, this narrowing can cause extreme swelling in the feet and legs. For extreme swelling, you can consult a doctor at Cytecare HospitalThe swelling of the legs isn’t necessarily an indication of a heart or circulation issue. Instead, it could be fluid buildup because you’re overweight, unmoving, standing or sitting for a long period, or even wearing tight stockings or jeans. The causes of fluid buildup include acute kidney failure. In some instances, overweight people have reported swelling in their legs and heart issues. So, in this article, we examine the real reasons and connections between them.

Swollen legs and heart problems

Heart failure is the condition that results from the heart’s inability to cope with the demands it faces and, specifically, the inability of the heart to circulate blood at regular effectiveness. In this case, the heart fails to supply sufficient blood circulation to the other organs, such as the liver, brain, and kidneys. Heart failure could result from either the left or right or even both ventricles malfunction. When the blood flow through the heart circulates less than the blood flowing through the veins, the blood can back up, creating congestion in the organs and tissues within the human body.

As a result, certain body areas, like the liver, legs, abdomen, can develop swelling or edema. Heart failures that trigger this condition are called congestive failure of the heart. Blockage or reduction in the function of the ventricular system is typical of heart failure with congestive symptoms.

When your body gets exhausted, that’s how swelling starts in your legs. 

Should we worry about swelling legs and heart problems?

It would help if you were concerned when the swelling didn’t stop. Inflammation around the ankles and legs results from fluid accumulation within the body. It could indicate the deterioration of heart failure. Also, it is possible that you feel your shoes are more tense than normal when swelling rises.

The accumulation of fluids decreases blood flow from the heart, which causes blood flow back to the heart through veins to re-enter. As a result, it causes fluid to build up in the abdomen, lower limbs, and congestion. It is more likely that you will feel swelling in your ankles and legs during the day due to gravity raising the amount and the pressure that flows through the veins of your lower legs. Resting comfortably and lying down for a while will typically decrease swelling.

If you observe an increase in swelling of your legs and ankles gradually becoming more severe, you should consult your physician or nurse. A change in your diuretic medication is typically enough to ease the problem. Heart problems and swollen legs are correlated.  It could cause serious problems even if you have had a heart condition. Also, it would help if you chose a cardiologist immediately.

What can be the other reasons for swollen legs?

An individual might feel the swelling in their legs or ankles for various reasons. Some of them are listed below.

  1. Heart failure: Heart failure is among the most commonly cited sources of swelling in the ankles and legs. If the heart fails to circulate blood around the body promptly, blood pressure can rise and cause swelling, also known as edema. For those suffering from heart failure, it is normal for edema to manifest in the ankles, lower legs, and feet.
  2. Liver disease: It is the liver that produces albumin. Albumin is a protein that stops fluid from flowing from blood vessels and into the surrounding tissues. The liver afflicted with the disease cannot create enough albumin. As a result, fluid could build up in the ankles, legs, and feet.
  3. Kidney Disease: Kidneys’ main job is to control the amount of water within the body and balance salt and other minerals present in the blood. Conditions can cause severe damage to the kidneys, stopping them from removing blood efficiently and removing the waste and fluids in the urine. It could lead to the accumulation of waste in the lower leg and ankles.
  4. Foot or ankle: A sprain to the ankle or foot can cause swelling of the lower leg and ankle. One of the most frequent injuries to this area is an ankle injury. It can be caused by an accidental slip while exercising, walking, or exercising. It occurs when the ligaments connect between the ankle and the leg and foot. 
  5. Blood Clot: The presence of a blood clot on the leg may cause the leg and ankle to expand. It can only occur on the opposite side of the leg. There are two types of blood clots. The blood clots with the most superficial appearance originate in veins near the skin’s surface.

What causes leg swelling? 

Let’s begin by discussing the scientific basis behind any leg puffiness. Fluids move from your blood vessels and into the tissues surrounding them to a lesser extent constantly. The lymphatic system, responsible for transporting immune cells into your bloodstream, removes the leaks.

But if the lymphatics don’t maintain the changes — particularly if a fluid change is substantial or sudden, your legs might swell. So if you experience swollen legs, make sure to consult a doctor.  For example, let’s say your lymphatic and blood vessels are damaged. Since blood vessels work continuously to transport blood for your heart, any damage to these vessels could cause them not to return blood circulation the same way as they did before.

It’s the reason you’ll find that the ankle that you broke a while ago remains constricted. Besides, it isn’t the sole reason for leg swelling, however. Understanding the cause of the fluid shift is crucial in resolving the swelling of your legs.

Treatment options for leg swelling:

  1. Drink plenty of water: It might appear unlogical to drink more water, but it can help rid your body of excess water, which causes swelling in your body. However, if you’re not drinking enough daily water, the body will try to hold on to more water to compensate.
  2. Have the time to take a Salt Bath: Soak your legs for about 15 to 20 minutes in warm water containing Epsom salts. They help to relax muscles and reduce swelling. If you don’t have a tub, you can locate a bucket large enough to hold at minimum just one foot at a stretch and then cover your legs the knees.
  3. You can try massage: If you cannot go to a massage therapist or do not have any equipment that allows you to massage at your home. Massage or stroke your legs upwards towards your heart. Be sure that the pressure is not too firm and not painful. It will help to move the extra fluid out of the area.

What should I do if I notice swelling in my legs?

There are many methods to manage leg swelling. The first option your doctor might look into is diuretics, such as pills to drink water. However, it’s not the most effective treatment, especially when the swelling happens due to excessive volume.

Therefore, make sure to do the following things when you notice the swelling:

  • Consult a doctor
  • Over the counter medicines as per pharmacist prescription
  • Immediate salt bath
  • Massage in hot water

Numerous things occur daily within our bodies that we might not even be conscious of. For instance, swelling often happens in various places, most commonly on our feet. Swollen legs can cause serious complications if not treated on time. 

If you spend a significant portion of time sitting down during the day, you’ll notice that fluid builds up on your feet. It is why your footwear will fit better in the evenings and afternoons. While this is not unusual, there are instances where swelling can become more severe.

Apart from swelling of the legs, what are the signs of a heart condition?

  1. Swelling of your legs and feet: Many heart ailments can cause fluid to build up in your lower and upper legs and your feet. As the fluid increases, you might notice swelling going into the upper legs and the groin.
  2. It’s difficult to take A Breath: The shortness of breath is an important symptom of heart failure because it affects how this delicate mechanism functions. The sufferers will feel “air hunger,” a feeling of not getting sufficient oxygen-breathing deeply.
  3. You feel exhausted every day: In the process of compensating for the decrease in circulation to limbs and muscles, the body directs blood flow to important organs, like the brain. The possibility of fatigue and weakness are the results of this.
  4. Heartbeat irregularity: Rapid or irregular heartbeats aren’t something you should ignore. Your heart will naturally be faster when you’re feeling excited or anxious; however, If the symptoms persist and are sudden, it could indicate something more serious.
  5. Nausea and lack of appetite: A feeling of nausea and vomiting in your stomach or feeling nauseated might sound like a stomach issue, but both are typical early indicators of heart failure.
  6. Congestion: Alongside fluid accumulating in the ankles, legs, or feet, fluid buildup in the lungs can indicate that a heart is failing. Patients might experience severe and frequent wheezing, coughing, and breathing difficulties if this occurs. 


It’s frightening to observe a significant change within your body, for instance, swelling feet. Heart failure is the primary reason for swelling; however, other less severe conditions could also cause swelling. If the reason is a heart issue or changes in medications or diet, you can control the swelling. Your healthcare professional needs to identify the reason for the swelling to receive treatment as quickly as possible.

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Bhanu Garg

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