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Swollen feet
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Swollen feet

Posted By  CCF Cardio MD-SGM on December 22, 1997 at 08:04:23:

In Reply to: Swollen feet posted by Billy Herman on December 21, 1997 at 09:01:34:

: : I am a 44 yr old white, male who is 5'11'' & 225 lbs. Except for the extra weight, am in excellent health. No blood pressure problems.
  : Several nights ago I noticed my feet and lower legs were swollen. There is no pain or discoloration. The swelling went down in one foot overnight but during the day it swole back up. The only change I made recently in my activities is that I have been standing in one spot a lot at work for the past week. I was TAD to another work site for the week & ate out all the time. I did eat fresh (fried) shelfish the night prior to noticing the swelling. I'm not sure if the swelling was there previously or not but I hadn't noticed it before.
  : Any ideas as to what my problem might be?
  : Should I see a doctor if the swelling persists or should I see one anyway?
  : Should I keep my feet elevated or stay off them as much as possible?
  : Help please!
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Dear Billy,
Swelling of the lower legs and feet is not an uncommon problem.  A person's upright posture tends to favor the pooling of fluid in the lower legs due to gravity, but a number of factors including good muscle tone and the efficient one-way valve system of the leg veins help to pump this fluid back toward the heart.  Prolonged standing or sitting(as during a long plane or bus ride) can result in fluid accumulation in the legs. Walking helps due to the contraction of the leg muscles which tends to expel the fluids from the lower extremities, as does elevating the legs while sitting or sleeping.  
In any case, significant swelling that does not resolve quickly is of concern in a young, healthy person.  Some things to consider would be a blood clot in the leg which might cause this problem.  Most often, this is unilateral (i.e. one sided) and does not typically involve both legs simultaneously.  Venous insufficiency, or a problem with the competency of the veins that drain blood and fluid from the legs, can also cause this problem.  A number of heart conditions that increase venous pressure can contribute to pooling of fluid in the legs and belly.  Finally, any condition that places undue pressure on the large veins that drain the lower body can result in fluid accumulation.  
I think that it would be wise to elevate your legs while seated, and consider a job that entails less time standing still.  One consideration would be elastic stockings that you could obtain at a pharmacy, to gently squeeze the legs and limit fluid accumulation there.  However, since there may be something serious at play here, I would definitely recommend that you see your physician for a thorough examination to rule out some of the causes that I mentioned.  
Information provided in the Heart Forum are for general medical informational purposes only. Specific diagnoses and therapies can only be provided by your physician.  

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