Swelling of the legs with heart failure

The picture of the disease is as follows: the right side of the heart is not able to work at full power, as a result of which, pressure appears in a large circle of blood circulation.

Because of this, hydrostatic pressure increases in the vessels of the lower extremities and capillaries, which is why the fluid (lymph) strongly rushes to the tissue cells, filling the muscles, edema is formed. Swelling can occur constantly, and can take place in flashes.

Heart failure – the cause of edema of the lower extremities

But in any case, this gives the old man great trouble: pain during any movement with his legs, difficulties in selecting shoes, inconvenience in sitting position, etc.

Added to this are poor health and weakness, which worsen the normal rhythm of life.

Important! The main statement, which is proved by doctors, is that swelling of the legs in old age is a consequence of heart failure.

What can lead to such manifestations? Consider the main causes of heart failure and, as a result, swelling in elderly patients:

  1. Coronary heart disease.
  2. Increased blood pressure.
  3. Malfunctions of the heart, arrhythmia, myocarditis.
  4. Consequences after a heart attack, stroke.

To these reasons, a violation of the venous outflow of blood in the body can be added. The patient has severe pain and a feeling of fullness in the legs.

Another factor is varicose veins and blood clots. This disease leads to stagnation of blood in the vessels and the appearance of blood clots as a result of the patient’s low activity.

Healthy foot and accountable foot

  1. Sometimes swelling of the foot and ankle is the result of injuries: rupture of tendons, blood vessels.
  2. But this increase in the volume of skin and subcutaneous muscles is not associated with impaired heart function.
  3. It is necessary to distinguish this and identify the causes of the formation of such symptoms.
  • List of diseases that contribute to the development of edema in the legs:
  • As a result of prolonged use of drugs for a particular disease, the legs can also swell greatly.
  • Each cause has its own signs and only a doctor can identify the main cause and prescribe the correct treatment.

You can determine the presence of an ailment during an external examination, before contacting a doctor.

But by what signs to determine the cause of edema in the lower extremities, that is, symptoms of cardiac edema:

  1. A noticeable increase in muscle tissue in the foot and above to the knee.
  2. If the swelling is in the initial stage, then when removing socks or golf, you can notice a trace of not very tight gum.
  3. When pressing on the enlarged place with your finger, a trace of it remains for some time. If the track is deep, then the problem is very serious.
  4. Over time, a deformation of the shape of the legs occurs, which becomes noticeable when walking.
  5. Manifestations are formed in the evening, when the legs are at rest after a day’s work. Even if the patient did not move much during the day, edema by the evening will be visible.
  1. Signs of the disease can be detected with heavy drinking during the day, prolonged exposure to heat, even in the daytime.
  2. Most often, edema extends to the foot and lower leg, the fingers become spread out, the skin can acquire a red, sometimes bluish tint.
  3. For comparison: edema of the lower extremities with varicose veins look a little different.

A trace of pressure remains on the leg with severe swelling

They have an asymmetric shape. One limb may be thicker than the other. In addition, the legs are very sore.

If, after a long walk or in a standing position, the patient sits down, then a whole tragedy will arise for him. By evening, there is a strong heaviness in the legs.

Cardiac edema is formed immediately on two limbs and can persist for a long time, while there is no particular pain, only severity.

Initial diagnosis can be done at home. How to do this, we examined a little higher.

On the lower extremities, visible excess tissue forms, which becomes more loose and soft. When you click on it with any object, traces are formed that retain their shape for several seconds.

In the hospital, a large number of different examinations and tests are added to the external examination. For this, the McClure-Oditch method is used.

Medical diagnosis of cardiac edema

For this, an injection is made under the skin on the leg, saline is injected. If it dissolves quickly, and there is no noticeable trace, then edema exists.

  • Lymphatic edema is determined by the results of blood and urine tests, ultrasound and venography.
  • Kaposh-Stemmer tests can be added to these diagnostic methods – when exposed to the skin, folds and traces are not visible, which means there is swelling.
  • Only as a result of a full examination and obtaining all the results of the diagnosis, the doctor makes the diagnosis: cardiac edema on the legs and prescribes treatment.

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After establishing the cause of severe edema, treatment is prescribed, which can be medication, and not rarely, and surgical.


The first direction in treatment is reducing fluid in the limbs and relieving pain.

For this, the doctor prescribes decongestants or diuretics. Their list most often includes Furosemide, Veroshpiron, Hydrochlorothiazite, Toramesid.

These drugs will only eliminate the external symptoms of diseases of the cardiovascular system. A full complex of vitamins is added to diuretics.

To reduce edema, ointments are used: Troxevasin, Hepainova and Venitan. Further, beta-blockers are prescribed to restore cardiac activity.

Troxevasin ointment for medical treatment of heart edema

They are able to facilitate the work of the heart muscle. The following prescriptions are drugs that reduce blood coagulation.

Thiotriazoline may be such a drug. This tool normalizes the metabolism of heart cells. If you follow all the recommendations of doctors, with the help of such treatment, you can successfully defeat the ailment.

Important! When treating cardiac edema, injections and droppers should not be prescribed, since this method will only increase the amount of fluid in the body.

  1. The main rule in the diet for reducing swelling associated with heart disease in the elderly is to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed in the diet.
  2. Must be included in the daily diet: watermelons, parsley, peppers, apples, zucchini, cucumbers.
  3. Even though there is plenty of fluid in these products, it can quickly be eliminated from the body.
  4. In addition, these foods will significantly lower blood pressure.

Dairy foods reduce the risk of heart swelling

You should exclude from your menu: fast food products, spicy and spiced dishes that cause intense thirst.

For coffee lovers – you should reduce its consumed amount to one cup per day. The best substitute for it, in this case is green tea.

Important! You can not salt food, as salt retains excess fluid in the body.

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Ginger and chili peppers, as well as nuts, will help to cope with excess fluids. It is better to replace meat dishes with fish, as they are rich in minerals.

Eat plenty of sour-milk products: yogurt, kefir, yogurt without flavoring, cottage cheese.

Eating is worth it in small portions and often so that the body does not have a feeling of heaviness and the remnants of processed food are quickly excreted. The last meal should be a few hours before bedtime.

Folk methods

Folk recipes should be used in conjunction with medical treatment. This will not only enhance the effect, but also eliminate the visible signs of the disease.

The most common drugs are:

  1. Infusion of horse chestnut. About 10 days, the crushed raw chestnut is infused with alcohol or vodka. This tool copes with cardiac edema, as well as edema with varicose veins.
  2. Infusion of parsley root. To prepare it, you need 1 tbsp. l crushed root and half a liter of boiling water. Leave the infusion for the night, and in the morning strain and drink during the day, in equal portions.
  3. A decoction of flax seeds. Boil the seeds in water, insist in a dark place and drink in small (half a glass) doses about eight times a day. It is not advisable to use the drug for more than three weeks.

These decoctions have a weak diuretic effect, and therefore prevent fluid congestion in the legs.

Horse chestnut infusion – the best alternative treatment for heart edema

In addition to decoctions and infusions, you can perform herbal or salt foot baths, compresses.

Such techniques will not only reduce swelling, but also relieve pain, heaviness and fatigue in the legs, normalize sleep.

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Important! Any self-medication must be approved by the attending physician, otherwise, the situation can be aggravated.

To minimize pathological manifestations in old age, you need to wear the right shoes, adhere to a healthy diet, change your life for the better: move more, relax, enjoy your life, and avoid stressful situations.


If during the day you feel heaviness in your legs, it is outwardly noticeable that they are swollen, it is worth considering why this happened.

There can be many reasons: diseases of the kidneys, liver, veins, heart, excess weight, strong physical activity, etc.

  • To find out the root cause, you must go to the hospital for an examination, after which the doctor will prescribe an effective treatment.
  • And in order to minimize the heart diseases of the elderly, the daily presence of loved ones and relatives is important.
  • In this case, their psycho-emotional background will be normal, and they will also receive timely help.

Swelling of the legs with heart failure is almost the main symptom of this disease. Do not ignore such a serious problem, consult a doctor. The treatment of such pathologies includes many different procedures. It can be therapeutic courses at home, in the hospital, in sanatoriums, diet and much more.

The heart is the most important organ in the human body. Thanks to him, blood moves through the veins and arteries, delivering to all areas – nutrients, oxygen, vitamins.

Features and location of edema

General recommendations

A more effective way to deal with swelling of the legs in diseases of the cardiovascular system helps to implement a number of measures:

  • wearing compression tights or stockings – can prevent the development or reduce swelling, however, as a rule, they are not suitable for continuous use;
  • control and adjustment (if necessary) of body weight;
  • regular monitoring of blood pressure;
  • self-massage of the legs, especially with a long stay in a sitting position;
  • exercise of physiotherapy exercises; fast and slow walking daily for at least 15 minutes is recommended;
  • full night’s sleep (at least 8-9 hours).

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Since a number of products are able to retain fluid in the body, nutritional correction is necessary. Spicy, fatty, fried foods are excluded from the diet, and salt intake is limited. The diet is recommended to include pumpkin, cucumbers, cabbage, potatoes (preferably baked), raisins, dried apricots, nuts, buckwheat, cocoa butter, turmeric, coriander, ginger, carrots and carrot juice – products that help reduce puffiness.

Main treatment

The main groups of drugs that can be prescribed to patients with edema of the lower extremities against the background of this pathology are presented in the table. Without exception, all medicines should be prescribed only by a doctor, self-treatment of cardiopathology is unacceptable.

In some cases, implantation of a pacemaker is required.

Folk methods

In the early stages of the disease, foot baths help relieve swelling of the limbs. For their implementation, you can use infusions and decoctions of chamomile, peppermint, sage, birch leaves, as well as a solution of sea salt.

The patient may be recommended to use infusions from such medicinal plants as tea:

  • bearberry;
  • viburnum;
  • currant leaves;
  • dog-rose fruit;
  • cherry leaves.

To prepare the infusion, 10 g of dry raw materials should be filled with 400 ml of boiling water and insisted in a thermos for 3 hours. The finished product is filtered and drunk throughout the day.

You can also use folk remedies prepared according to such recipes:

  1. Decoction of birch leaves and needles. 2 tablespoons of spruce needles and birch leaves are placed in a suitable container, pour 500 ml of boiling water and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. The product is allowed to cool, filtered, drink 1/4 cup 3-4 times a day 30 minutes before meals.
  2. Herbal mix. Mix 40 g of flaxseed, 30 g of birch leaves and steel root. One tablespoon of the resulting mixture is poured with 1 cup of hot water, insisted for 30 minutes, filtered and taken 1 tablespoon 3 times a day before meals.
  3. Tea made from sour apples. Peel the apple, cut into thin slices, pour 300 ml of boiling water and insist for several hours. Apple tea can be drunk hot or cold throughout the day. The drink can be sweetened with sugar or honey.

The development of heart failure can occur against the background of arterial hypertension, coronary heart disease, heart defects and a number of other pathologies.

Risk factors are:

  • anemia
  • overweight and obesity;
  • cirrhosis of the liver ;
  • period of pregnancy;
  • the presence of bad habits;
  • poor nutrition;
  • excessive exercise.

Often the pathological process contributes to the work associated with the need for a long stay while sitting or standing, so representatives of the following professions are at risk:

  • office workers;
  • teachers
  • sellers;
  • hairdressers;
  • drivers.

This leads to the appearance of edema. Why do they occur? The vascular wall of the veins is thin and partially permeable. Therefore, with an increase in pressure in the veins, which occurs during stagnation, the liquid part of the blood partially enters the tissue. It causes them to swell, an increase in volume. This causes the notorious edema.

With an increase in central venous pressure, there is an increase in hydrostatic pressure in the capillaries, and the fluid from them passes into the tissues. With a reduced volume of circulating blood, the secretion of renin and angiotensin II increases.

In heart failure, sodium ions are evenly distributed in the blood and intercellular fluid. This leads to irritation of osmoreceptors and increased secretion of vasopressin, which leads to the reverse absorption of water in the renal tubules and the accumulation of fluid in the body.

Also, with a decrease in cardiac output, hypersecretion of aldosterone occurs, which leads to the reabsorption of sodium ions in the renal tubules and an increase in the hydrostatic pressure of the extracellular fluid.

Against the background of increased accumulation of water in the body, increased venous pressure and increased pressure in the capillaries caused by hypersecretion of vasopressin, water is re-absorbed into the soft tissues and their swelling develops.

After the patient spends the day in an upright position of the body, the heart resource is depleted, and in the evening the legs swell. The severity of such edema will depend on the degree of damage to the heart.

  • appear in the evening after a long stay on their feet, and in the morning they can disappear or decrease;
  • at the initial stages, they are localized in the distal parts of the lower extremities (fingers and feet), with decompensation of heart failure they “rise” up;
  • symmetrical;
  • develop gradually and slowly (over several days or months);
  • edematous tissues are dense, smooth (with long swelling shiny), bluish, cold to the touch, when pressed, form a fossa;
  • with compensation for heart failure, they disappear.

Swelling of the legs with heart failure is accompanied by:

  • pains in the heart;
  • high blood pressure (less often – low);
  • hepatomegaly (an increase in liver size);
  • shortness of breath, aggravated by physical exertion or in a prone position;
  • decreased exercise tolerance;
  • palpitations;
  • pallor with acrocyanosis.

In severe cases, leg edema with congestive heart failure can be aggravated by anasarca, which is accompanied by the spread of severe swelling throughout the body (legs, genitals and the whole body) and the development of ascites and hydrothorax.

The stagnation of blood, which is formed during blood flow disorders, is the main cause of the appearance of edema: with an increase in venous pressure, blood penetrates into the intercellular space, expanding the volume of tissues.

Treatment of leg edema in heart failure is based on the withdrawal of excess fluid from the body, normalization of blood composition and support of the heart.

Pathology mechanisms determine the course of therapy for edema. The primary task is to establish the cardiac causes of the development of the disease.

Cardiac edema occurs, first of all, with violations in the cardiovascular system. The pathological process also affects the function of the kidneys, liver and the chemical composition of the blood.

From a physiological point of view, the development of heart failure occurs when there is a malfunction in any part of the heart that provokes an inability to pump the necessary amount of blood.

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This causes its accumulation in large veins and arteries. Due to prolonged stagnation, liver damage begins. This causes a violation of protein synthesis, which contributes to a decrease in oncotic pressure, a violation of the outflow of fluid from the vessels.

The pathogenesis of edema is also associated with a decrease in cardiac output. This causes a lack of oxygen to tissues and organs. To maintain normal pressure, vasoconstriction occurs. In this case, the kidneys remove less fluid, their ability to filter water also decreases. This condition provokes stagnation of fluid in the body.

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The main causes of heart failure include:

  • cardiosclerosis;
  • congenital heart defects;
  • arrhythmia;
  • rheumatism of the heart;
  • constructive pericarditis;
  • amyloidosis;
  • cardiomyopathy.

Symptoms of cardiac edema differ in some features:

  • symmetry of swelling on both legs;
  • the duration of the development of edema;
  • the spread of puffiness over the entire surface of the body;
  • an increase in the size of the liver (hepatic edema);
  • compacted structure on the affected areas of the skin.

Swelling of the legs with heart failure usually appears in the morning, and does not disappear when lifting the lower limbs up. The problem gives a lot of inconvenience to a person, and significantly spoils the appearance. The main foci of occurrence: foot, ankle, hips, lower leg.

With the disease, various treatment methods are used: medication, surgery and treatment with folk remedies. You can relieve swelling at home. To do this, you should follow some recommendations:

  • take a horizontal position of the body during the day, raise your legs (put pillows or a blanket under your knees);
  • limit physical activity during the day;
  • limit the amount of fluid consumed (no more than 1 liter per day): water increases blood volume;
  • limit salt intake (not more than ½ teaspoon per day): salt helps retain water in vessels;
  • Do not wear tight shoes and socks;
  • exclude hot baths for the feet: hot water promotes the expansion of veins and provokes stagnation of blood;
  • foot swelling can be relieved by massage: active circular movements from the toes to the inguinal region, with pressure on the foot, heel and arch;
  • compliance with diet, weight loss;
  • the use of compresses, mechanical and reflex effects;
  • folk remedies for swelling of the legs.

Concomitant symptoms

Pathology is dangerous to human health. It is accompanied by characteristic symptoms. The following manifestations can be distinguished:

  1. Pain in the heart. This symptom is not observed in all patients. In heart failure, the main muscle itself suffers from oxygen starvation. Tissue cells die. Pain can also be given to the shoulder or to the hypochondrium. The presented symptom appears even before the formation of edema, or accompanies them.
  2. High blood pressure. This condition develops due to stagnation and the accumulation of a large amount of blood in the vessels.
  3. An increase in the size of the liver and pain in the right hypochondrium. The organ itself cannot be ill. Unpleasant sensations appear due to the stretching of his capsule. Edema also appears on the liver.
  4. Muscle weakness. Since blood circulation in heart failure worsens, muscle fibers undergo oxygen starvation. Over time, a lack of nutrition causes a gradual weakening of tissues. If untreated, the muscles atrophy.
  5. Dyspnea. Heart failure contributes to the overflow of vessels located in the respiratory system. There is a deterioration in gas exchange in the lungs. A respiratory rhythm failure occurs, resulting in shortness of breath. The patient additionally has a subjective feeling that he does not have enough air. Pulmonary edema appears.
  6. Arrhythmia or tachycardia.
  7. Pale skin with acrocyanosis. The patient develops a characteristic blueness of the ears, wings of the nose, fingertips, lips. Color change remains for a long time.
  8. Decreased ability to withstand physical activity.
  9. Hippocrates fingers (a kind of drum sticks). This symptom indicates the onset of a late stage of chronic heart failure.
  10. Dizziness. Due to oxygen starvation, nerve cells also suffer. The patient’s attention decreases, deteriorations in the cognitive sphere occur (thinking, memory, perception).

The manifestation of even one additional symptom should force a person to consult a doctor.

Swelling is a symptom that can occur not only with heart failure, but also with other diseases. Therefore, it is important to conduct differential diagnosis between edema of different origin.

Peripheral edema is the main, but not the only symptom of heart failure. The characteristic signs of impaired heart function include:

  1. Shortness of breath or shortness of breath. Shortness of breath is a sign of increased pressure in the pulmonary circulation. Initially occurs during physical exertion, and then bothers even at rest.
  2. Heart cough. Also indicates congestion in the lungs. Coughing occurs mainly at night, increases with physical exertion, passes or decreases at rest.
  3. Fatigue and weakness. They arise due to the fact that the myocardium (cardiac muscle) does not pump enough blood and oxygen to the organs. Normal physical work is difficult; more time is needed for respite.
  4. Stomach enlargement. It occurs due to the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity.


If peripheral edema appears, consult a doctor. The doctor will conduct an examination, including the cardiovascular system:

  • blood pressure measurement;
  • auscultation of the heart – muffled tones, gallop rhythm may be observed;
  • percussion of the heart – the expansion of the boundaries of cardiac dullness is determined;
  • auscultation of the lungs – crepitation or moist rales are heard with an increase in pressure in the pulmonary circulation.

To determine the primary disease, an additional examination is prescribed, which is aimed at assessing the function of the heart, kidneys and liver.

To clarify the causes of edema in a certain part of the body and select the appropriate treatment regimen, different diagnostic methods are used. The standard option includes:

  1. Physical examination that does not require special equipment. The doctor makes conclusions after examining the patient.
  2. Anthropometric data make it possible to track changes in the proportions of body parts in order to evaluate the dynamics. The patient’s weight is also measured – the accumulation of fluid is not always visible visually.
  3. X-ray images of the heart, lungs, abdominal cavity reveal the localization of edema for the subsequent identification of the problem.
  4. General clinical tests. Urinalysis is performed to distinguish cardiac edema from renal. A blood test helps to identify changes in the work of different organs.
  5. Ultrasound is less common, but to analyze the work of internal organs and identify the causes of swelling, this method is quite suitable.
  6. ECG is a popular way to diagnose heart ailments. The examination does not take much time and is available to any medical institution; its accuracy is quite sufficient for diagnosis.
  7. Echocardiography analyzes structural changes in the heart, diagnoses potential problems and pathologies, but does not name the exact cause of swelling.
  8. Measuring venous pressure is an important indicator of possible stagnation in the veins. It allows not only to identify the disease, but also to clarify its stage.
  9. The Kaufman experiment shows with high accuracy the degree of complexity of the problem. The patient drinks a lot of fluids. Then he lies, at the next stage raises his legs, walks or stands. A urine sample is taken after each change of position. Based on its results, conclusions are drawn about the nature of edema.

Diagnosis of the presence of cardiac edema is not particularly difficult. First, characteristic features are identified, then the optimal option for a particular case is selected. Sometimes a basic examination is enough, in other cases more serious measures are needed.

Cardiac edema – causes and treatment

Often there is pulmonary edema in heart failure if the disease has gone too far.

Before you consider how the treatment of this disease occurs, you should familiarize yourself with what symptoms signal the presence of heart failure, which provokes the appearance of edema:

  1. The main symptom is recurrent attacks of heart failure. In the acute course of the disease, an attack can last only a few seconds or minutes. But with a chronic form, such attacks become longer and more frequent.
  2. Heart failure can be left or right ventricular. But the swelling of the legs will be anyway. 2 legs will swell immediately, since the load on them will remain approximately the same. In this case, weakness and heaviness will be felt, especially in the hot season.
  3. Along with swelling of the legs, a noticeable pallor of the skin is observed. The patient is often in a state of fainting due to the fact that the heart cannot transport enough blood, and with it oxygen, to the organs.
  4. In addition to swelling of the legs, a noticeable swelling of the veins in the neck can also be observed. In the stomach, fluid begins to accumulate over time, since the kidneys are not able to remove it normally from the body. Doctors also often observe in patients with this pathology an increase in the liver.
  5. In especially severe cases, pulmonary edema may develop. This is extremely dangerous, since the person’s breathing is partially blocked in this case, he can hardly breathe air. And if you don’t help in time, everything can be fatal.

The specifics of the treatment

Treatment of pulmonary edema should be carried out exclusively in a hospital by experienced specialists. In no case should you take any measures yourself, as the slightest improper action or delay can cause unforeseen consequences.

But the treatment of leg edema in heart failure can be carried out both at home and under the supervision of a doctor with medications.

Here, everything will depend on the severity of the disease and on the specific cause that gave rise to heart failure.

To begin with, we will figure out how to eliminate mild swelling of the legs at home. To do this, you must follow some important rules, which are first aid for the pathology of this type:

  1. In the event that edema on the legs begins to make itself felt with pain or numbness, severe fatigue, then you should possibly take a lying position. In this case, the legs need to be slightly raised. It’s better to put a pillow under them. So you need to lie down for about 15 minutes, after which you will noticeably feel better.
  2. In the treatment of leg edema provoked by heart failure, a healthy diet should be followed. Salt, spicy, fatty, and sugary foods should be limited. It is best to completely refuse strong coffee and tea, as well as the use of large quantities of alcoholic beverages. You should lean on cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables. But in any case, it is best to coordinate the diet with your doctor. Especially if the disease has gone too far.
  3. Contrast baths with medicinal herbs are very good for edema. But it should be understood that too hot water will only increase swelling. Therefore, it is necessary to alternate warm baths with cold ones. It is also useful to make cooling compresses on the legs.
  4. You need to try not to drink a lot of fluids at night. Due to the fact that the kidneys cannot function normally with heart failure, water will accumulate overnight in the body. As a result, swelling in the morning can be very strong.

As for the treatment of edema from heart failure, which are accompanied by other more serious pathologies in the body, then only an experienced doctor should deal with the treatment. Consider the main directions of drug treatment.

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An excellent effect of edema on the legs is given by diuretics. They help to remove excess fluid from the body. But taking such funds should be strictly prescribed by the attending physician.

Even if we are talking about herbal decoctions, which do not include harmful chemical components.

To restore heart function, doctors prescribe drugs against arrhythmia, which also often becomes a companion to heart failure. Loop diuretics and cardiac glycosides also give a good effect. What kind of drugs of these groups should be taken, the doctor will also tell.

Heart failure can be treated well if it is detected at an early stage. It is best not to bring to the point where swelling of the legs appears, and begin treatment as soon as possible.

Only an integrated approach in the shortest possible time will give good results, having adjusted the work of the heart and significantly reducing swelling on the legs.

In any case, you can not self-medicate, you should immediately seek help from an experienced specialist who will make the correct diagnosis and help to cope with such an insidious disease.

Treatment should be aimed at eliminating the cause, that is, the disease that led to heart failure. For this, medications are used, if necessary, surgical intervention. To get rid of edema proper, diuretics and a special diet are used.

Main treatment

To quickly reduce swelling, diuretics (diuretics) are used. These are drugs that stimulate the elimination of water and sodium from the body. Thus, stagnation in tissues and, accordingly, edema is reduced.

To quickly reduce edema, loop diuretics are used, which can increase diuresis by several times. Loop diuretics include Furosemide, Torasemide.

With prolonged treatment of heart failure, diuretics are also used. They remove excess fluid, which prevents the appearance of puffiness.

Folk remedies

In some cases, you can use medicinal plants that have a diuretic effect:

  • bearberry leaves;
  • field horsetail;
  • buds of birch.

Decoctions or infusions are prepared from them, which are taken orally. These medicinal plants stimulate urine excretion, which leads to less fluid accumulation in peripheral tissues.

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With heart failure, it is necessary to follow a special diet, which is aimed at reducing the accumulation of fluid in the body.

How to eat with heart pathology:

  1. Exclude or reduce salt intake to 1,5 g per day.
  2. Salt already cooked food, not dishes while cooking.
  3. Increase consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits.
  4. Limit the intake of fatty dairy products.
  5. Make sure that the amount of fluid that is consumed per day is equal to the amount of fluid that is withdrawn.

In addition, with heart pathology, it is necessary to exclude alcohol consumption, stop smoking and make moderate physical activity regular. Severe physical activity is contraindicated in heart failure, as it can lead to decompensation. Therefore, you should not abruptly start running or exercising in the gym. In case of heart disease, moderate physical activity is indicated – walking, swimming, yoga.

To eliminate edema in heart failure, the patient should seek the help of a physician or cardiologist. After a series of additional studies (ECG, Echo-KG, laboratory blood and urine tests, etc.), the patient is given recommendations for further treatment of heart failure.

In the initial stages of heart failure, they may include:

  • limiting salt intake to 1-1,5 g per day;
  • limiting fluid intake to 0,8-1 liters per day (including liquid in the first dishes);
  • regular measurement of daily diuresis (the amount of urine released per day should be equal to the volume of fluid consumed during the day);
  • introduction to the diet of foods with a high level of potassium (baked potato, oatmeal, rice, dried apricots, raisins, wild rose);
  • wearing elastic stockings or bandages;
  • light massage of the limbs;
  • foot baths;
  • cold compresses;
  • rest with raised legs;
  • taking diuretic infusions from birch buds, cornflower, knotweed, marigold, parsley seeds, etc.

With a more severe course of heart failure, in addition to these recommendations, the patient is prescribed drug therapy:

  • diuretics: Furosemide, Pyrethanide, Hypothiazide, Ethacrylic acid, Britomar, Trifas, Torasemide);
  • cardiac glycosides: Korglikon, Digoxin, etc.
  • sartans (angiotensin II receptor antagonists): Lorista, Valsacor, Candesar, Mikardis and others;
  • potassium preparations: Asparkam, Panagin;
  • aldosterone receptor antagonists: Aldolactone, Spironolactone, Veroshpiron;
  • beta-blockers: Corvitol, Nebilet, Coriol, etc .;
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors: Captopril-Hexal, Enam, Iromed, Gopten, Lizoretik, etc.

Drug therapy for heart failure and leg edema, as one of its signs, is prescribed for life. The selection of drugs to compensate for the state of the cardiovascular system should be performed only by a doctor, and the patient should be constantly monitored by a cardiologist to control this process.

b06b8ba538f205b8021f9aea66c923e8 - Swelling of the legs with heart failure

When heart pathologies are expressed quite clearly, treatment is carried out in a hospital setting. With cardiac puffiness, droppers are not used, since an excess volume of fluid loaded intravenously can only complicate the work of the heart. Such errors can provoke pulmonary edema, which will be eliminated already in intensive care.

What is a trophic ulcer?

Against the background of severe swelling of the legs, a trophic ulcer may occur. This disease is a severe violation of the skin mucosa. There are three stages in the development of a trophic ulcer:

  • at the first stage of an ulcer, the ailment affects only the surface of the skin;
  • in the second stage, the disease spreads to the subcutaneous layer;
  • at the third stage of the ulcer, penetration into the muscles and tendons occurs.

Treatment of an ulcer is a long and complicated process, and therefore it is necessary to deal with the treatment of leg swelling in a timely manner.

Anasarca and heart failure

There are varying degrees of leg swelling. One of the extreme is the anasarca. This condition is a pathology of the body that arose as a result of heart failure.

The term anasarca was separated from general puffiness due to the need for medicine and for patients to determine the critical condition of the patient, which requires urgent treatment.

The anatomical reason that causes anasarca is the accumulation of fluid, as well as the body’s savings of sodium. Therefore, with this diagnosis it is categorically impossible:

  • increase the amount in the body in every possible way;
  • to use medicines or other means, which include sodium;
  • leave the problem on its own, in any case, the help of a specialist, as well as the course of treatment with such a diagnosis are required.
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The principles of competent treatment of leg swelling in heart failure

Large swelling is visible to the naked eye. In order to recognize smaller ones, you can do a simple test: squeeze your fingers over the skin over the tibia. If the resulting fossa remains for several seconds, this is a sign that the leg is swollen

To reduce leg swelling in heart failure, follow these guidelines:

  1. Limit walking throughout the day, especially if it causes a feeling of tiredness and shortness of breath.
  2. Prolonged standing up is also harmful to patients.
  3. Avoid sitting with your legs down, especially on hard chairs (which squeeze the arteries under the knees) in order to eliminate stagnation of blood caused by the complication of its outflow.
  4. Reduce your salt intake, which helps retain water in your vessels.
  5. Limit fluid intake to avoid increasing blood volume.
  6. Take a lying position several times a day (at least for half an hour) to prevent stagnation and the formation of edema in the lower extremities.
  7. In a supine position, place your feet and lower legs slightly higher than your body position to facilitate the outflow of blood, as well as resist hydrostatic effects.
  8. Avoid tight socks and shoes.
  9. Do not take hot baths, as high temperature dilates the veins and contributes to stagnation of blood.

Note that overweight only exacerbates the problem. Therefore, try to get rid of extra pounds.

    Contrast foot baths. Take two buckets. Fill one with hot water and the other with cold.

Hold your feet for 10 minutes in hot water, and then quickly dip them into a container of ice water. Keep your feet in the cold for about 30 seconds. Repeat this process several times a day.

If the procedure is performed regularly, the swelling will significantly decrease.

Massage. Effective treatment of edema can be done with a soft massage of the feet and ankles.

Use vegetable oils for this. Massage improves blood circulation, activates the circulation of fluid in the body, which, in turn, reduces swelling.

Mix 25 ml of rosemary oil with 150 ml of olive oil. Apply the resulting mixture to your feet and massage. Move from bottom to top, performing smooth circular and rubbing movements.

Cold compresses. Put potato slices or cabbage leaves for half an hour in the freezer, and then wind them to the eggs (the dressing should not be tight).

These plants will “draw out” water and reduce discomfort. The patient can do this compress all night, then the next day the legs will be rested, the swelling will disappear or be less noticeable.

Compresses from gauze soaked in a solution of vinegar (2 tablespoons per glass of water) also help. Such treatment should be carried out constantly (or until you recover from heart failure).

Chestnut tincture. Half a glass of dried chestnut leaves pour 500 ml of vodka.

Set the mixture aside for a week in a dark place, then strain. Take this tincture three times a day for an incomplete teaspoon. It will strengthen blood vessels, over time, puffiness will bother you less.

Prickly needle (butcher’s broom) Prickly needle not only relieves swelling, but also fights cardiovascular insufficiency, has a slight diuretic effect.

To conduct treatment, boil the root of this plant in water (teaspoon per 200 ml of liquid). No more than 200 ml of the drug is taken per day (it is divided into several portions and drunk in between meals).

The course of admission is every other day. An ointment from the leaves and stems of the needle will help remove puffiness. Grind vegetable raw materials, mix with the same amount of lard and boil in a steam bath for an hour. The ointment is applied twice a day.

Physalis vegetable. In our country, physalis is rarely consumed. But in vain: with the help of this plant you can get rid of edema, high blood pressure and heart failure.

It is recommended to eat 15 pieces of fresh fruit per day (dividing them into several servings). Also, traditional medicine recommends using an infusion of dried covers and leaves of physalis.

Boil a spoonful of crushed plants in boiling water, insist under the lid for 15 minutes, then drink a little bite with honey. Treatment lasts 3-6 weeks, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Folk methods


An excellent effect of edema on the legs is given by diuretics. They help to remove excess fluid from the body. But taking such funds should be strictly prescribed by the attending physician. Even if we are talking about herbal decoctions, which do not include harmful chemical components.

Loop diuretics and cardiac glycosides also give a good effect. What kind of drugs of these groups should be taken, the doctor will also tell. Heart failure can be treated well if it is detected at an early stage.

It is best not to bring to the point where swelling of the legs appears, and begin treatment as soon as possible. Only an integrated approach in the shortest possible time will give good results, having adjusted the work of the heart and significantly reducing swelling on the legs.

To treat leg edema in heart failure, first of all, it is necessary to adjust the work of the heart. For this, a whole range of drugs is used:

  1. Cardiac glycosides. Medications with a pronounced cardiotonic effect.
  2. ACE inhibitors. To normalize the pressure and facilitate the work of the heart.
  3. Spironolactones. To normalize the work of the kidneys and remove fluid from the body.
  4. Diuretic drugs.

Treatment of cardiac edema of the legs is carried out in combination, several drugs at once, lasts a long time. If necessary, antiarrhythmic drugs are prescribed.

It should be noted that edema becomes noticeable when fluid accumulates in a volume of at least 2 liters. To reduce fluid in the body, its intake is strictly limited. Salt is completely ruled out.

Methods of traditional medicine

Alternative methods can also be used to treat cardiac edema of various localization. With fluid stagnation, herbal infusions are effective.

  1. On a glass of boiling water you need to take 2 tbsp. l horsetail herbs. Insist 20 minutes. After filtering, you can drink 4 p./Day. 65 ml.
  2. Lovage root (40g) brew 1 liter of boiling water and let stand in a water bath for 8-10 minutes. Insist 20-25 minutes. and take 50 g 4r./Day.
  3. The dried raw lumbago (10-15 g) is brewed like tea with boiling water (1 glass) and incubated for 2 hours. Drink 1 glass/day., The course of treatment is 2 weeks.
  4. For 1 liter of water you need to cook 4 tsp. flax seed. Boil for 5 minutes. and wrap in a blanket for 3-4 hours. After straining, add lemon juice. Take half a cup, with an interval of 2 hours, only 5-6 times.
  5. For infusion, you need to take juniper (fruits), licorice, stalnik and lovage (root) in 1 part. 1 tablespoon raw materials are insisted in cold water (1 glass) for 6 hours, then boiled for 15 minutes. and filtered. Drink a quarter cup 4 r./Day.
  6. Prepare a mixture of herbs – nettle, St. John’s wort, bearberry, plantain, rose hips. For 600 ml of boiling water you need to take 1 tbsp. l mixtures. Boil for 5 minutes. and insist 1 hour. After filtering, drink everything in 1 day in equal parts.
  7. Take half a liter of boiling water. chopped parsley greens (together with roots). Insist 1-6 hours., Squeeze and add the juice of 8 lemon. Take 1 r./Day. They drink 3 days, then – a break for 2 days and repeat everything.
  8. On a sheet of iron, burn dry stalks of beans. Grind the ash into powder and place in a jar. For treatment, mix 1 tbsp. l vodka and half a spoonful of ash and drink. Repeat 3r./Day.

This is an important part of complex therapy, since it is impossible to remove swelling without observing the diet. What to do to effectively deal with edema? Here are a few rules:

    Reduce the amount of water consumed. This includes first courses, juices, milk porridges, and other high-liquid foods.

Excess water in the body loads a sick heart, provoking the formation of edema. The total volume of clean water (with food) should not exceed one and a half liters. If the specific situation of the patient requires, the doctor prescribes an even more severe restriction.

Eat often, but in small portions. The best option is 5-6 times a day.

Overeating is unacceptable. The interval between the last meal and sleep should be at least 4 hours. This diet creates the conditions for the rapid digestion and assimilation of nutrients.

  • Minimize salt intake. The ideal option is to completely exclude from the diet. If desired, you can replace it with a small amount of lemon juice during cooking. Salt directly affects fluid congestion in the body. The heart is getting weaker, and the swelling is getting bigger.
  • Refuse fried, smoked, fatty foods. They also tend to increase puffiness. Cooking food in useful ways – cook in water or steamed, bake in the oven without adding oil. This also applies to vegetable and meat dishes.
  • Balance nutrition. It is necessary to reduce the level of consumed fats, but proteins and carbohydrates should be ingested in sufficient quantities, not lower than the daily norm – 2500 kcal.

    The regular use of foods rich in vitamins, minerals (fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs) will have a beneficial effect on the whole body.

    To make it clearer how to treat puffiness in heart failure using dietary correction, we will combine an approximate list of useful and harmful products:

    1. Allowed:
      • Low-fat meat (chicken, beef, veal).
      • Dairy, vegetable soups.
      • Low-fat fish (not salted).
      • Stale or dried bread, crackers.
      • Boiled eggs.
      • Cereals, pasta.
      • Sour-milk products (cheese, cottage cheese, kefir).
      • Vanillin, cinnamon.
      • Vegetable oil.
      • Marshmallows, mousse, jelly, pastille.
      • Fresh fruits and vegetables (just do not abuse), boiled or baked.
      • Juice, compote, weak tea.
    2. Do not:
      • Processed meat products (sausage, sausages, ham), lard, pork, goose.
      • Fatty broths.
      • Canned food (meat, fish), salted and smoked fish.
      • Fresh pastries (bread, pancakes, pancakes).
      • Fried eggs.
      • Legumes (peas, soybeans, beans).
      • Salted cheeses (feta cheese), cream, sour cream.
      • Spicy spices.
      • Animal fats, margarine.
      • Chocolate, desserts with fat cream.
      • Salted, pickled vegetables, nuts, mushrooms, spinach, radish, radish.
      • Caffeinated drinks (coffee, cocoa, strong tea), alcohol, lemonade.

    One of the first signs of decompensation (impaired organ function) in heart failure is edema, that is, an accumulation of excess fluid in the cavities and tissues of the body. As a result of this, tissues increase in volume, and the volume of cavities, on the contrary, decreases, which leads to various functional disorders.

    The pathogenesis of edema in heart failure suggests that the myocardium is no longer able to take the entire volume of blood coming from the lower parts of the body.

    As a result, venous pressure rises, and blood vessels pass blood plasma back into the intercellular space.

    That is, any edema is a fluid retention in the intercellular space, in which the concentration of sodium ions rises above the norm and begins to retain water.

    To understand why legs swell with heart failure, it is necessary to take into account the various mechanisms of development of this pathology, starting with the identification of the exact nature of edema. This can only be achieved through examination.

    The main cause of leg swelling in heart failure is a disruption of the heart itself. The volume of ejection and heart rate in a sick heart are reduced, causing a slowdown in blood flow and a decrease in the amount of extracellular fluid.

    The brain instructs the kidneys to begin the retention of water and sodium, which leads to stagnation of blood in the vessels, and its liquid fraction begins to be filtered out through the vascular walls into the surrounding tissue. So the edema appears, and under the influence of gravity, it rushes down.

    Therefore, the edematous process begins to manifest itself precisely from the legs.

    The causes of heart failure can be judged by the places of localization of edema:

    • pulmonary edema against a background of heart failure indicates damage to the left ventricle;
    • if the legs swell, then this indicates a failure of the right ventricle.

    In heart disease, impaired sodium metabolism in the body becomes persistent, and limiting salt intake will not help here. However, kidney diseases can also cause severe edema, and even a specialist can not easily distinguish between edema of different origin. For this reason, the doctor immediately directs the patient to appropriate studies.

    It is worth knowing that there are some signs according to which it is possible, although not with complete certainty, to assume that it concerns cardiac edema:

    • Typically, cardiac edema is on the legs, or on the sacrum and back – if the patient is recumbent. In the initial stage of heart failure, only the feet swell, and in the more advanced stage, the legs are already full length. The growth of edema always occurs from the bottom up. On the contrary, renal edema first appears on the face (which is very rare for the heart), and then on the trunk and legs.
    • Abdominal edema with heart failure (ascites) is observed when it has already developed far. The abdomen often grows very strong and looks like an inflated balloon. In addition, fluid may build up in the airways and then a persistent, moist cough and wheezing will occur.
    • Usually, cardiac edema grows in the evening, and in the morning weaken or disappear altogether.
    • The skin with renal edema is usually pale, and the edema itself is more loose to the touch. But with heart edema, the skin takes a bluish tint (cyanosis), and to the touch they are denser (after pressing with a finger, the fossa disappears very slowly).
    • If the skin is warm with renal edema, then with heart it is usually cold.
    • Heart failure in the later stages is accompanied by hepatomegaly – an enlargement of the liver, which sometimes even extends beyond the ribs, which does not occur in case of renal failure.
    • Legs swell necessarily symmetrically.
    • In advanced stages of heart failure, even after sleep, edema does not disappear.
    • The development of edema is slow, sometimes for months.
    • Cardiac edema is accompanied by other symptoms (pallor, tachycardia, dyspnea, fatigue).

    If the patient has ascites and hepatomegaly, then an urgent examination and hospitalization are necessary.

    How to eliminate edema in heart failure, if the appointment with the doctor is not soon, and you need to come up with something at home? If a person suffers from heart disease and in the evening his legs and feet swell, then even before visiting a doctor, you can try to remove the edema using the following methods:

    • take a position so that the legs are raised, for example, lie down or sit on the sofa and put 2-3 pillows under the knees;
    • reduce the daily intake of fluid to 1 liter and salt to 0,5 teaspoon;
    • adjust the diet for heart failure;
    • massage the legs, making active circular movements with fingers with pressure from the fingers to the groin, especially in the foot and heel;
    • make a bath or compress using one of the traditional medicine recipes.

    What to do if legs swell with heart failure? First of all, consult a doctor who can make a diagnosis. You should start with a therapist who will prescribe the necessary studies (cardiogram, ultrasound, blood and urine tests) and give directions to narrower specialists.

    Before removing leg edema in heart failure, you need to understand that they are not an independent ailment, but only a symptom of a heart pathology. Therefore, it is necessary to fight, first of all, not with edema, but with the underlying disease. If it is compensated, then the edema will pass by itself.

    If edema has appeared, you should start by checking the correctness of the medication prescribed by your doctor. If they are taken correctly, then you should already consult a doctor who will prescribe an examination plan, determined by the type of edema.

    Edema in heart failure in the elderly is often treated on an outpatient basis. Such edema cannot be perceived as a cosmetic defect and left without treatment, since in the future they will exacerbate the situation.

    734660a3c2e78fb78d9e7d51aa2d2c55 - Swelling of the legs with heart failure

    In the case of confirmation of the cardiological origin of edema, the patient is prescribed such drugs for leg edema in heart failure:

    • Diuretic drugs: lasix, furosemide, hypothiazide, hydrochlorothiazide, etc.
    • To restore normal heart function during symptomatic therapy, they resort to beta-blockers, which facilitate the work of the heart, reducing the load on cardiomyocytes.
    • Blood thinning drugs and ACE inhibitors are used, which contribute to the conversion of the hormone angiotensin.
    • To reduce contractile function of the heart and restore blood flow, thereby preventing stagnation, cardiac glycosides are indicated.


    Persons at risk are recommended:

    • rest more often, keeping your legs in high condition (for this you can use a ottoman, pillow, etc.);
    • provide regular physical activity (walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, Pilates are suitable), which, however, should not be excessive;
    • maintain normal body weight;
    • wear comfortable shoes, it is advisable to use orthopedic insoles;
    • to refuse from bad habits;
    • eat balanced.

    To avoid the appearance of such an unpleasant symptom, you need to monitor your heart. People whose close relatives suffer from heart disease are at risk. They are advised to undergo an examination once every six months to identify the disease at an early stage of development.

    Often the disease does not give itself away as symptoms, but is detected only by medical diagnosis. It is important to be attentive to your body, not to deprive it of physical exercises, fresh air, not to expose it to unnecessary stress.

  • Tatyana Jakowenko

    Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

    For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

    He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.