I am worried by my feet which keep swelling

Monday July 19 2021
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By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

Dr, I am worried about my painless swollen feet which happen at home but not at the office. I went to a doctor who checked for anaemia, heart, kidney and liver diseases, leg blood circulation, blood pressure as well as other general examinations which turned out negative. I had thought the swelling was due to taking emergency pills but I stopped them long ago. I am a nurse but have  failed to comprehend the cause. Esther


Up to 60 per cent of the human adult body is made up of water with two thirds of the water being inside cells (intracellular) and a third being outside the cells including between cells (extracellular),in blood (plasma) and other body fluids.
When excess fluid (water or lymphatic fluid) is tapped in body tissues swelling occurs and when we assume an erect posture as happens during day,  the water accumulation will cause swelling of the feet (pedal oedema) but the swelling will almost be absent on waking up in the morning.

Oedema can result from eating food with too much salt, pregnancy,  staying seated with legs folded for long hours, over-standing or walking long distances, heat which causes loss of water from swollen blood vessels, medication including for high blood pressure (amlodipine),  and disease conditions including, liver, kidney and heart diseases, anaemia and venous circulation problems (varicose veins) among many others.
Women may get pedal oedema around the time for periods due to fluid retention related to monthly sex hormone changes. 
Taking emergency pills (these are often abused) because they are composed of female sex hormone progesterone may also gift a woman pedal oedema.

It is unlikely that it is the pills that cause your oedema. The fact that you get the oedema at home not at work could point to the differences in both  environments with the office being cold because of an A/C and home being hotter, or what you do at the office (walking around) allowing proper blood circulation unlike sitting at home.  

Taking medication to remove excess fluid, reviewing medication for hypertension, getting a more serious method of family planning, and reducing the amount of salt in the food may relieve oedema. However, if the oedema is due to a disease condition, the disease itself requires added separate treatment before the oedema ceases.
 

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