British Heart Foundation
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Is edema a symptom of heart problems?

I always tend to get swollen feet. 5 years ago I noticed they were swollen after alcohol and noticed pitting but I didn't think anything of it. I still have the same problem today 5 years later.

It affects the inner ankle area only on both feet. Doesn't affect the leg, or foot. Most times there is no swelling and I can only induce the edema if I stretch my foot out. But, sometimes after a workout, or sitting at the desk, it gets worse. I jump rope every other day and notice after a rope session towards the evening it's a bit worse.

I was told by others it could be heart disease. I have an appointment booked to discuss with doctor. But what I don't understand is I had an ECG in September and it was perfectly normal. How can that be because if I had this problem for over 5 years surely it would show on an ECG if it was heart disease?

It's all very stressful. I'm only 33. I don't have any other symptoms but I just can't stop worrying.

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Hi JackOne.

There are many causes of oedema and it is always best to get it checked out, as you are. Given you have no other symptoms it is more likely you have idiopathic oedema. That is oedema with no medical cause. Sitting for long periods can often be the cause of swollen legs. I would wait until you have seen your GP and they have checked your kidney and heart function before you start to worry. Good luck.

Ron.

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It's just really confusing at the moment as to what it could be. Yesterday I done a 20 minute run, jumped rope, and done a 30 minute walk with hill climbs. I have no problems exercising or recovering, But afterwards later in the day my feet ache and the edema increases a little. This morning I woke up, edema still there feels a bit more heavy than usual. So I can't understand what is going on. Seems worse in my right foot.

I actually did a video of it:

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Sturon is right - there are multiple causes of oedema. Whilst heart issues can cause it can be a simple as being unfit and overweight but this is unlikely as you workout. Both liver and kidney problems can be causes, as can the side effects to some drugs. A CCI (calcium channel inhibitor) gave me badly swollen ankles. Often then changing the drug can relieve the problem but too many IMHO just add diuretics. Green tea, cranberry juice, dandelion tea, cucumbers, cabbage and many others are natural diuretics and may be worth trying in your case. Dandelion tea is quite effective for an elderly gentleman I know.

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Hi,

I have heart failure and did suffer from 'hippo' feet and increased breathlessness. As part of my ‘fix’ I am now on diuretics which do a grand job in moving fluid out of my body.

Ogilvie

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I get leg and feet swelling wen my heart gets bad but I was born with a heart condition so I have no idea. I’ve chosen to be tee total for faith and social reasons but my doctor said the low amount of achool i used to drink in my early 20’s about 1 - 2 pints a night if I drank more often would have hurt my heart.

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Best to have things checked out. I went into A&E with oedema on my lungs; thought I had a respiratory problem. My EKGs were always normal; heart showed normal in chest X-ray and in CT. It was only the echocardiogram that showed I have heart failure. And I never get swollen feet. I don’t think there is one neat package of symptoms that fits everyone. Lots of us are living with this and the sooner you get checked out the better so you can live well.

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