Tag Archives: Circulatory System

THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS & CONDITIONS #61: EDEMA (SWELLING)

Swelling of the ankles becomes increasingly common as you get older. This swelling can be caused by thrombophlebitis, or skin infections which have been discussed in previous articles. Otherwise it is usually part of a condition called edema.

Edema is commonly caused by problems in the cardiovascular system, kidneys, or liver. Edema can occur in the face and abdominal cavity or elsewhere, But because of gravity and the fact that we are  usually upright-on our feet, it is usually is most prominent in the legs, especially the ankles. Edema can be caused by a normal pregnancy. The developing baby puts quite a strain on the heart and circulatory system.

Chronic accumulation of fluid in the tissues usually occurs because of heart and blood vessel problems, liver disease (albumin lack), diet (excess salt intake), kidney disease (deficient salt excretion), vein problems (valve malfunction), and lymphatic problems (surgical lymph node excision).

Obesity contributes by impacting the heart and liver primarily. Proper sleep, diet and exercise help in most of these areas, and edema is rare in healthy people.

I have always considered sugar(obesity, cardiovascular effects) and salt(hypertension, cardiovascular and  kidney load) as poisonous. I discovered the valve incompetence in the veins of my left leg because it became more blue than my right leg. With good exercise, sleep, diet program and compression stockings, edema never occurred.

The swelling and stretched shiny skin in the ankles that I see in many of my overweight friends makes a tempting target for germs of all kinds. and small skin sores often follow.

If you developed swelling in your ankles or other areas, it’s best to check with your doctor to get an explanation.

—Dr. C.