Edema is the medical term for the swelling that occurs due to the retention of fluid in the tissue spaces between the body cells. Many people have experienced the problems such as swollen legs and ankles since this condition may be caused by a simple injury. However, swollen legs and ankles may be a symptom of some serious underlying condition.
Causes of swollen legs and anklesSwollen and painful legs and ankles may be caused by the congestive heart failure. The role of the heart is to pump the blood to every part of the body. When somebody sits or stands for a long period of time, the heart has to pump harder because of the gravitational force. Edema in the legs and ankles occurs when the heart is not able to pump out more blood.One of the liver diseases that may be responsible for the occurrence of edema in legs and ankles is cirrhosis. In people who suffer from cirrhosis, the kidneys store salts and water, thus causing their building up in the tissues under the skin of the legs and ankles. Similar thing happens in people who suffer from some kidney disease.Swollen legs and ankles may also be caused by lymphedema, which is the swelling of only one leg. When a blockage happens within the lymphatic system, lymphatic fluid tends to accumulate and cause edema in a leg or ankle.Bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are two lung diseases that may be potential causes for the occurrence of swollen legs and ankles due to restricted blood flow in the lung vessels.It is also considered that sunburn or overexposure to sun might lead to swollen legs and ankles.Obesity is also a cause of this condition because obese people exert more pressure and stress on their legs and ankles.In women, pregnancy and menstruation may be responsible for the appearance of this condition.
Other potential causes for edema in the legs and ankles are consummation of certain medications (such as anti-depressants, oral corticosteroids and testosterones, oral contraceptive pills and blood pressure medicines), trauma or injury to the legs, unhealthy diet and insect bites.
Treatment of swollen legs and ankles
Those people who suffer from swollen legs and ankles should do several things at home in order to relive the symptoms. The first thing is to lie down and elevate the affected leg above the heart. Regular exercises in order to lose body weight are necessary in order to reduce the stress on the legs and ankles. Furthermore, healthy diet rich in vitamin B6, B5, vitamin D and calcium is highly recommended. Also, the diet should avoid salty foods and include fresh fruits and vegetables.