Swelling of the feet and ankles may not seem like a major health concern, and sometimes it’s not- however, individuals should be aware that foot swelling could indicate a much bigger problem, especially when related to your cardiovascular system. Below are 7 cardiovascular issues you should be aware of when you experience foot swelling- all good reasons to schedule an appointment with your trusted podiatrist and get to the root of why your foot is swollen.
As taken from Livestrong: Cor pulmonale is defined as the failure of the right side of the heart due to chronic high blood pressure in the right ventricle of the heart and the arteries of the lungs, or pulmonary arteries. Chronic high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries or right ventricle can be caused by conditions that cause low blood oxygen levels such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, sleep apnea and interstitial lung disease, according to Medline Plus. When the right side of the heart fails, the heart can no longer effectively pump blood to meet the needs of the body. This can result in a number of symptoms, including chest discomfort, premature exertion during exercise, shortness of breath, swelling of the feet and ankles, wheezing and coughing. Initial treatment for cor pulmonale involves oxygen therapy to increase levels of oxygen in the blood. Further treatment is dependent on the underlying condition that is causing cor pulmonale. In severe cases, surgery may be required to correct heart defects.
Ischemic cardiomyopathy is a term that doctors use to describe patients who have congestive heart failure due poor blood flow through the heart. From Healthline: Ischemic cardiomyopathy (IC) is a condition that occurs when the heart muscle is weakened. In this condition, the left ventricle, which is the main heart muscle, is usually enlarged and dilated. This condition can be a result of a heart attack or coronary artery disease, a narrowing of the arteries. These narrowed arteries keep blood from reaching portions of your heart. The weakened heart muscle inhibits your heart’s ability to pump blood and can lead to heart failure. Symptoms of IC include shortness of breath, chest pain, and extreme fatigue. If you have IC symptoms, you should seek medical care immediately.
Endocarditis is inflammation of the inside lining of the heart chambers and heart valves. As described on Medicinenet: Endocarditis is caused by a growth of bacteria on one of the heart valves, leading to an infected mass called a “vegetation”. The infection may be introduced during brief periods of having bacteria in the bloodstream, such as after dental work,colonoscopy, and other similar procedures.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)/ Thrombophlebitis
DVT is swelling (inflammation) of a vein in the leg caused by a blood clot. As taken from the Mayo Clinic: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain, but often occurs without any symptoms. Deep vein thrombosis can develop if you’re sitting still for a long time, such as when traveling by plane or car, or if you have certain medical conditions that affect how your blood clots. Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition because a blood clot that has formed in your vein can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and lodge in your lungs, blocking blood flow (pulmonary embolism).
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged, and it cannot pump blood as well. Dilated cardiomyopathy affects the heart’s ventricles and atria. These are the lower and upper chambers of the heart, respectively.The disease often starts in the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber. The heart muscle begins to dilate (stretch and become thinner). This causes the inside of the chamber to enlarge. The problem often spreads to the right ventricle and then to the atria as the disease gets worse. When the chambers dilate, the heart muscle doesn’t contract normally. Also, the heart can’t pump blood very well. Over time, the heart becomes weaker and heart failure can occur.
Pericarditis is a condition in which the sac-like covering around the heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed. From the Cleveland Clinic: Pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium. Pericarditis is usually acute – it develops suddenly and may last up to several months. If you could see and touch it, the membrane around the heart would look red and swollen, like the skin around a cut that becomes inflamed. Sometimes excess fluid develops in the space between the pericardial layers and causes a pericardial effusion (buildup of excess fluid around the heart).
Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle. From Dr. Anthony Weinert: Myocarditis can be caused by a variety of infections and conditions such as viruses, sarcoidosis, and immune diseases (such as systemic lupus, etc.),pregnancy, and others. The most common cause of myocarditis is infection of the heart muscle by a virus. The virus invades the heart muscle to cause local inflammation. After the initial infection subsides, the body’s immune system continues to inflict inflammatory damage to the heart muscle. This immune response actually prolongs the myocarditis.