Elder Care: You’ve noticed your dad’s feet and ankles are swollen by late afternoon.
It’s worse when he’s been on his feet more than usual. While this can be alarming, it’s not always a problem. The best thing to do is talk to his doctor about your concerns. Having elder care providers on hand to keep an eye out for swollen ankles and feet is a good idea. Swollen feet and ankles can be a sign of a health issue, but there are other reasons. Here are some of the possibilities.
Medication Side Effects
Some medication side effects can cause edema. Swelling can be linked to antidepressants, calcium channel blockers, and steroids. If your dad is on any prescription medications that can cause swelling in the extremities, talk to his doctor about alternatives.
The side effects like swelling may be more tolerable than risking his health. It may simply be best to deal with the side effects by making sure he has shoes that fit when his ankles and feet swell up.
Is your dad’s entire foot swollen? Or, is it specific toes, such as the big toe? Gout is a type of arthritis caused by uric acid crystals in the joints. The joint of the big toe is one of the most prevalent areas for a gout attack.
If it’s the big toe that’s swollen, your dad may be experiencing gout. Changing his diet to avoid red meat, alcohol, and shellfish is crucial at lowering the risk of a flare-up.
Vein and Artery Health
When the veins or blood vessels experience blockages, it can make blood circulation more difficult. This can result from peripheral artery disease or issues like varicose veins. That can lead to swelling.
Your dad’s doctor can run tests to look for blockages. If there is plaque build-up in the legs, medications and surgical measures can resolve issues. Daily exercise also helps.
Varicose veins are treated through regular exercise, avoidance of sitting for long periods and losing weight. Medical treatments like surgery or laser treatments can also help.
Elder Care: Heat and Humidity
If it’s hot and humid, the hot weather can trigger swollen feet and ankles. Heat causes the blood vessels to dilate. The body protects the organs like the kidneys from the heat by pushing the warmer blood to the feet and hands to cool off. This can lead to swelling.
Staying inside with a fan or in air conditioning helps. It’s also helpful to take cool showers to help keep the body temperature from increasing.
After talking to a doctor, your dad needs to follow through with his care plan. If he’s told to walk every day, elder care aides accompany him and offer the encouragement he needs. Talk to an elder care specialist to schedule services.