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Heart attack: Noticed swelling in this body region? You could be at risk of the condition

Heart attacks occur when the artery supplying the heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked. When this occurs, the heart is starved of its vital oxygen and serious complications can arise. If a person notices swelling in this region it could be an early warning sign of the insidious condition.

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If a person experiences swelling in their lower legs this could be a warning that there is a problem with the heart.

When the heart doesn’t work as well, blood flow slows and backs up in the veins of a person’s legs.

This causes fluid to build up in the tissue causing swelling.

The condition is known as edema.

What is edema?

Medical News Today said edema is swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in your body’s tissues.

The health site continued: “Although edema can affect any part of your body, you may notice it more in your hands, arms, feet, ankles and legs.

“Edema can be the result of medication, pregnancy or an underlying disease – often congestive heart failure, kidney disease or cirrhosis of the liver.

“Taking medication to remove excess fluid and reducing the amount of salt in your food often relieves edema, however, when edema is a sign of an underlying disease, the disease itself requires separate treatment.”

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How to know your edema is caused by a heart condition

When a person’s heart weakens and pumps blood less effectively, fluid inside the body can slowly build up and this creates leg edema.

If fluid build-up occurs quickly, fluid in the lungs, known as pulmonary edema, can develop.

If a person’s heart failure is on the right side of their heart, edema can develop in the abdomen too.

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Medications which cause edema

There are numerous medicines which are known to create or worsen edema.

These include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Corticosteroids
  • Pioglitazone and rosiglitazone
  • Pramipexole

For a person concerned about their swollen feet, press a finger against the ankle or shin bone to check if there is a depression left behind.

This is known as “pitting edema” and is a good indicator to determine if the swelling is something more serious.

Edema could be a sign of heart failure due to the heart not being able to pump as well.

The ankles and feet are most likely to be affected due to the effects of gravity. 

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