Heart failure can cause leg swelling. Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle is weak or damaged. In this condition, it can’t pump blood to and from the body efficiently. This can cause blood and fluid to build up. The fluid collects and causes swelling in many parts of the body. This is called edema. Swelling is most common in both of the feet, ankles, or legs. But it can also collect in the thighs, abdomen, lower back or hip area, and in the lungs. In some types of heart failure, fluid may also collect in the lungs. This can make it hard to breathe.
If you have swelling in just your legs or feet, you can usually receive treatment at home. Edema in other areas plus the legs is a sign of more serious heart failure. This is especially true if they have a lot of weight gain along with the swelling. These people are more likely to need treatment in a hospital.
There is no cure for heart failure, but there are ways to manage your symptoms and keep it from getting worse. Your doctor may have you take a medication called a diuretic or “water pill”. It can help your body remove the excess fluid which can reduce the stress on your heart. Lowering your salt intake can help, too. You also need to track your weight every day. Some weight loss may show that your treatment is working. But, a lot of weight gain along with edema may mean your heart failure is getting worse.
If you develop swelling in your legs or another area or your swelling is getting worse, talk to your doctor right away. Your doctor can help you decide what steps are right for you to take next.
Swelling in your legs or feet, don’t let heart failure get you beat!