The swelling in the extremities such as the legs, ankles, and feet is often referred to as edema. And while edema has a number of different causes, mainly involving circulatory issues, vascular issues, and conditions of the lymph nodes.
Edema occurs when the small blood vessels of the body, leak fluid into the nearby tissue, in this case the legs. This causes the excess fluid to buildup until the point at which it swells up the legs and feet.
For those patients who suffer from heart disease, edema is an extremely common symptom causing the legs to weigh easily 5-15 lbs. more, as a result of backed up fluid.
Cardiovascular Causes of Edema
There are a few specific instances, that will cause edema to develop, including:
- Allergic Reactions: Often times, allergic reactions will cause our blood vessels to become inflamed, and leak fluid into the surrounding area.
- Obstruction of Flow: When an individual has drainage issues in a specific area of the body, a blood clot within the deep veins of the legs can develop. This clot will often cause massive inflammation and thus edema.
- Congestive Heart Failure: When the heart grows weaker and weaker over time, it will pump far less blood and far less effectively. As the blood begins to build up and pool within the legs, it will cause edema. Depending on the type of heart failure and where the heart has failed, edema can develop in other areas as well.
Depending on the source of your edema, treatment can require medication options like blood thinners. The use of a blood thinner will help to restore blood flow and return your fluid drainage back to normal.