Author Topic: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)  (Read 12345 times)

Offline surfivor

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Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« on: August 09, 2011, 06:42:00 PM »
 A friend of mine has a large surface vericose vein in her right leg. A vericose vein is a condition where the vein bulges near the surface. She was born that way with this condition apparently .. It could have been aggravated when she was in a leaf pile and was run over by a car at the age of around 8 years old.

 About a year ago in the hot weather, she developed a condition known as edema where the ankle/calf of that leg had swelled up a great deal. It is stiff and feels like you are walking around with a board on your leg. It never went down after a year. It's the kind of thing where doctors prescribe diuretic drugs. These have undesirable side effects however.  A few months ago it became slightly ulcerated and red around that vein. The redness went down on it's own a bit, but hasn't gone away completely.

 I was wondering if there are any recommended herbal treatments for this type of thing. She walks a bit, but is not highly athletic in any way and is at the age of 57 ..

 I just ordered some dandelion root tea for her off of amazon.com as I seem to see stuff on the web that recommends that ..

Thanks

« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 07:42:51 PM by surfivor »

Offline Cedar

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2011, 08:36:20 PM »
Have her checked by a doctor as well to make sure she doesn't have a pulmonary issue. Watermelon however is a natural diuretic.

Cedar

Offline archer

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2011, 08:46:14 PM »
your friend should be checked like Cedar suggests (thanks Cedar).
any other suggestions out there?

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2011, 09:17:57 PM »
Varicose veins represent a plumbing problem and typically respond best to mechanical solutions, not medications or herbal preparations.  Compression stockings help, but she may need to consider vein stripping if she's having significant ulceration and discomfort.  Have her followup with her physician for complete workup and treatment options.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2011, 12:30:05 AM »
I forgot....In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a card-carrying member of the medical-industrial complex, but I have no direct financial interest in the treatment of lower extremity varicose veins.

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2011, 02:02:18 AM »
A friend of mine had his left leg below the knee swell up and turn bright red. The skin was hard as a rock, like an over-pumped tire.

He went to the doc and got a prescription for diuretics, but the leg stayed swollen and became extremely painful to even the slightest touch.

After a few weeks, he just decided to try something weird: he got a bunch of big Neo magnets (like an inch X an inch) and stacked them into a stick that reached from his ankle to his knee.

Then he started sleeping with the magnet stick laid right up against his leg.

From the first night, he said there was major improvement. After about three weeks, his leg was almost normal again. Call it about 99% healed.

While his leg was getting better, he said that it itched almost more than he could stand.

He was told by his doctor that his problem was due entirely to Congestive Heart Failure, that his heart could no longer pump well enough to move fluids out of his left leg.

Magnets should have had no effect whatsoever if that was the case, but he swears they did. He's still sleeping with the magnets by his leg.

He also said he had several "moles" on his leg from being out in the sun too much. After about two weeks of being magnetized nightly, they dried up and when he scratched at them, they popped right off the surface of his skin, leaving a temporary small crater where each one had been.

It may be time to cue the Haunted Castle music, but I know of people that have had full-blown skin cancers (and a lot of other things) cured by pulsed magnetic fields. So maybe there really is something to his Midnight Magnet Stack.




Offline surfivor

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2011, 07:29:54 AM »
 This is the story with the doctors in her situation. I just called her to try to remember the details as this all happened several months ago  .. She went to the doctor after I convinced her to which took awhile. The doctor gave her diuretics and then different ones as the first one had too many side effects.

 The doctor then sent her to a heart specialist and they said that the heart was ok.

 Then they sent her to a liver specialist because they though enzymes where elevated but he said he didn't think that was a problem. But the liver specialist said he thought there was a mass in her abdomen area that they couldn't identify and that she should go to a gynecologist. From talking to her just now on the phone, it sounded like the liver specialist did not say that he thought the leg condition could in any way be connected to any such thing he refered to in her abdomen.

 I seem to recall that she gave me the impression that they wanted her to go have a checkup and she had gotten a letter from her doctor to get a mammogram  as well. She seemed to feel like she wanted to know what was wrong with her leg and they where trying to rope her into all these other things so she became fed up with it and stopped going to the doctor ..

 She seemed to think a vein specialist would be possibly helpful, but the doctor hadn't mentioned that, though I had encouraged her to tell these doctors what she wanted to do, which is how I would try to approach it, but she is not like that so much ..




Offline surfivor

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2011, 07:31:43 AM »
 I don't think you mentioned where he got the idea to use magnets ?

A friend of mine had his left leg below the knee swell up and turn bright red. The skin was hard as a rock, like an over-pumped tire.

He went to the doc and got a prescription for diuretics, but the leg stayed swollen and became extremely painful to even the slightest touch.

After a few weeks, he just decided to try something weird: he got a bunch of big Neo magnets (like an inch X an inch) and stacked them into a stick that reached from his ankle to his knee.

Then he started sleeping with the magnet stick laid right up against his leg.

From the first night, he said there was major improvement. After about three weeks, his leg was almost normal again. Call it about 99% healed.

While his leg was getting better, he said that it itched almost more than he could stand.

He was told by his doctor that his problem was due entirely to Congestive Heart Failure, that his heart could no longer pump well enough to move fluids out of his left leg.

Magnets should have had no effect whatsoever if that was the case, but he swears they did. He's still sleeping with the magnets by his leg.

He also said he had several "moles" on his leg from being out in the sun too much. After about two weeks of being magnetized nightly, they dried up and when he scratched at them, they popped right off the surface of his skin, leaving a temporary small crater where each one had been.

It may be time to cue the Haunted Castle music, but I know of people that have had full-blown skin cancers (and a lot of other things) cured by pulsed magnetic fields. So maybe there really is something to his Midnight Magnet Stack.

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2011, 10:13:53 AM »
I have heart issues and as a result have some edema too. I take a prescription drug (Lasix - the stuff they used to give race horses!) with no side effects to keep the edema under control. OK, one side effect - I have to pee a lot after I take them for a few hours. But hey, it got me out of jury duty!  ;D

The ulceration is a fairly normal (?) side effect of the edema if the edema is not treated properly and left to itself. If the edema is directly related to the varicose veins, she seriously needs to get that addressed - quickly. She is neglecting cardio-pulmonary stuff and that cannot end well.

Offline surfivor

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2011, 10:45:57 AM »

She has lasix pills, but doesn't take them too much as they make her feel tired apparently ..

I am not sure if the doctor has been negligent as there was never any sense of urgency given according to her which is sort of different from what you are saying ..

 She says she asked the doctor about her cholesterol but the doctor said you have to go for a full physical to get a cholesterol check, which she felt could end up being paps smear, mammogram and other unrelated things. She was not happy that the doctor told her she would need the full physical etc .. 

 I saw on the web that the prognosis and treatment for edema is good, but no other mention of things like you say but I only did a few web searches at the time ..


I take a prescription drug (Lasix - the stuff they used to give race horses!) with no side effects to keep the edema under control. OK, one side effect - I have to pee a lot after I take them for a few hours. But hey, it got me out of jury duty

The ulceration is a fairly normal (?) side effect of the edema if the edema is not treated properly and left to itself. If the edema is directly related to the varicose veins, she seriously needs to get that addressed - quickly. She is neglecting cardio-pulmonary stuff and that cannot end well.

endurance

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2011, 11:21:21 AM »
Varicose veins have some associated risk for heart attack and stroke because they can be the source of blood clots, but millions of people live with them every day.  It's just an increased risk over the general population.  She should be aware of the symptoms of stroke, heart attack and pulmonary embolisms and seek immediate medical attention at the first sign of trouble with her risk factors.

Beyond that, when you're looking at lower leg edema there's a lot of different things it could be, from congestive heart failure to kidney failure, but also plenty of less concerning things.  It appears the doc has ruled out the scary stuff with heart specialist and blood work, but her current doctor is at a loss and grasping at straws (gyno exam, etc.).  My first suggestion would be to change doctors.  There are some newer treatments for varicose veins that include running a laser up the leg with the guidance of an ultrasound and burning the veins closed to properly re-route the bloodflow.  There's also doctors who specialize in foot and lower leg issues that might be more familiar with her issues.

Was the reason they sent her to the liver specialist because of low albumen?  That can cause blood to leak from the vessels, which could explain the lower leg edema.  Also, is she on any kind of pain relievers or steroids?  Is she diabetic?

Offline surfivor

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2011, 12:39:42 PM »
Varicose veins have some associated risk for heart attack and stroke because they can be the source of blood clots, but millions of people live with them every day.  It's just an increased risk over the general population.  She should be aware of the symptoms of stroke, heart attack and pulmonary embolisms and seek immediate medical attention at the first sign of trouble with her risk factors.

Beyond that, when you're looking at lower leg edema there's a lot of different things it could be, from congestive heart failure to kidney failure, but also plenty of less concerning things.  It appears the doc has ruled out the scary stuff with heart specialist and blood work, but her current doctor is at a loss and grasping at straws (gyno exam, etc.).  My first suggestion would be to change doctors.  There are some newer treatments for varicose veins that include running a laser up the leg with the guidance of an ultrasound and burning the veins closed to properly re-route the bloodflow.  There's also doctors who specialize in foot and lower leg issues that might be more familiar with her issues.

Was the reason they sent her to the liver specialist because of low albumen?  That can cause blood to leak from the vessels, which could explain the lower leg edema.  Also, is she on any kind of pain relievers or steroids?  Is she diabetic?

 I emailed her your post and she wrote this back:

Liver specialist was due to elevated
liver enzymes.  Don't know what albumen is
.......liver doctor did not
think any abnormality with the Liver would
cause the swelling in the leg........

Also, I have no idea if I am diabetic......
Do not medicate with anything stronger than
an Advil for slight headaches........

 doctor said my kidneys were ok, had
a urinalysis.....

endurance

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2011, 02:18:52 PM »
The odds are it's venous insufficiency.  There's basically one way valves in the veins in the lower legs that help blood return to the heart.  In varicose veins these valves have failed, so blood pools at the lowest point (near the feet).  The medically approved solutions are to keep the legs moving, avoiding prolonged sitting or standing, and compression stockings, as has already been suggested by FreeLanceR. 

Homeopathically, I don't know what can be done.  It seems likely her docs have ruled out some of the alternatives that might be alarming (like blood clots, heart issues, etc.).  Skin care is critical, as she's likely to be prone to skin ulcers, infections and slow healing because of the poor circulation in the area.

Again, I'm not a medical professional.  Don't take this as medical advice, just some guy on the internet's two cents.  Wiki or Web MD the signs and symptoms for stroke, heart attack and PE and be familiar with them.  Delay can lead to brain loss, heart damage, lung loss, and death.  Seconds count.

Offline surfivor

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2011, 02:44:41 PM »

 She watches alot of TV and sit and reads the paper, not really super active but does work in a place with long halls and goes shopping alot etc, so there is some walking going on ..

 She has a peculiar habit of sleeping at the kitchen table in a chair with her feet up on another chair. There are a number of reasons why she does that, but getting her to sleep upstairs in her bed does not really seem possible ..

Offline Cedar

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2011, 03:41:39 PM »
When I had really bad pitted edema while I was pregnant, my specialist told me to go swimming (alot) as the pressure of the water and the movement will help reduce it. If she is not moving alot like you say, then maybe you can convince her that there is alot of freedom of movement in a pool. I LOVED the pool when I was very ungraceful on land at 8-9 months pregnant.

Most pools have a special stairway they can bring out too so you don't have to go down the ladder. Lots of them are not using chlorine anymore either, but a more eco/body/eye friendly stuff.

Cedar


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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2011, 04:45:16 PM »
See if you can get her to just keep her feet in motion even if it's not walking.  I'd suspect that just being figity for a while might show some results.  The more sedentary, the more of a problem it's likely to be.

Offline surfivor

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2011, 06:02:21 PM »
We try to go for walks a couple times a week, maybe 3/4 of a mile or so each time. In the winter it's a lot less often. I mentioned to her about going swimming ..

See if you can get her to just keep her feet in motion even if it's not walking.  I'd suspect that just being figity for a while might show some results.  The more sedentary, the more of a problem it's likely to be.

endurance

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2011, 06:29:46 PM »
I think just flexing her foot up and down while sitting would be better than nothing.  You want that calf muscle to act like a pump.

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Help with Edema (swollen ankle/calf)
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2011, 06:57:07 PM »
I don't think you mentioned where he got the idea to use magnets ?

Busted! I told him to try it.