Quick Answer: What Do Swollen Ankles Mean In The Elderly?

Legs, ankles, and feet swell when excess fluid is pulled down by gravity and builds up in the lower body. This is called edema and it’s common in older adults and usually happens on both sides of the body. It can be caused by a variety of health conditions including heart failure, kidney disease, gout, and arthritis.

When should I be concerned about swollen ankles?

If your swelling is accompanied by other symptoms, including fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight gain, see your doctor right away. If you feel short of breath or have chest pain, pressure, or tightness, call 911.

Are swollen ankles life threatening?

Swollen ankles can also indicate a potentially serious disorder, such as congestive heart failure, deep vein thrombosis, and liver failure. Because ankle swelling can indicate a potentially life-threatening illness, you should seek prompt medical care and talk with your medical professional about your symptoms.

What can you do for swollen ankles in the elderly?

The ideal management of this chronic condition includes “lifestyle” measures such as elevating the legs regularly, using compression stockings, reducing salt intake, and doing exercises which improve fluid movement in the legs.

Is edema in the legs life threatening?

Most of the time, the edema is not a serious illness, but it may be a sign for one. Here are some examples: Venous insufficiency can cause edema in the feet and ankles, because the veins are having trouble transporting enough blood all the way to the feet and back to the heart.

Does swollen ankles mean heart failure?

Swelling of the feet is a common sign of heart failure. You may also notice swelling in your legs, ankles, and stomach. Many things can cause swelling, so it’s important to see your doctor to diagnose the cause.

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Should I go to the doctor for swollen ankles?

When the cause is minor or temporary, swollen ankles are often treatable at home, but there are some cases when they need to be treated by a doctor. In these situations, swollen ankles could be a sign of a serious illness. If your swollen ankles occur along with shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911.

How can you tell if your ankle is swollen and your heart is related?

Swelling in the Legs, Ankles, or Feet Swelling (edema) in your lower legs is another sign of a heart problem. When your heart doesn’t work as well, blood flow slows and backs up in the veins in your legs. This causes fluid to build up in your tissues.

What illness causes swollen ankles?

Possible causes of swollen ankles include:

  • Foot or ankle injury. Share on Pinterest A person may experience inflammation due to an injury on the ankle or foot.
  • Cellulitis. Bacterial infections in the skin are called cellulitis.
  • Chronic venous insufficiency.
  • Blood clots.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Preeclampsia.
  • Lymphedema.
  • Heart failure.

What happens if edema is left untreated?

If left untreated, edema can lead to increasingly painful swelling, stiffness, difficulty walking, stretched or itchy skin, skin ulcers, scarring, and decreased blood circulation.

Can dehydration cause swollen ankles?

Stay Hydrated – dehydration causes the constriction of blood vessels leading to the forcing of fluids into the extracellular spaces between cells leading to retention particularly in the lower limbs.

How is edema treated in elderly?

Mild edema usually goes away on its own, particularly if you help things along by raising the affected limb higher than your heart. More-severe edema may be treated with drugs that help your body expel excess fluid in the form of urine (diuretics). One of the most common diuretics is furosemide (Lasix).

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Does walking help with swollen ankles?

Tips to reduce ankle and foot swelling Simple lifestyle changes — such as exercise and weight loss — also can help reduce or prevent swelling while also improving your overall health, says Dr. Botek. She suggested activities such as walking and swimming.

Will drinking more water help with edema?

Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day Though it might seem counterintuitive, getting enough fluids actually helps reduce swelling. When your body isn’t hydrated enough, it holds onto the fluid it does have. This contributes to swelling.

When should you go to the hospital for swollen feet and legs?

You should seek emergency care if you have sudden, unexplained swelling in just one limb or if it occurs along with chest pain, trouble breathing, coughing up blood, fever, or skin that is red and warm to the touch.

What medications cause edema?

Many medicines can cause edema, including:

  • NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen and naproxen)
  • Calcium channel blockers.
  • Corticosteroids (like prednisone and methylprednisolone)
  • Pioglitazone and rosiglitazone.
  • Pramipexole.

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