Leg swelling in diabetes is commonly known as peripheral Edema, it is one of the most common symptoms of diabetes. It is important to understand the type of swelling cause there could be different causes, two very common types are
Fluid build-up: it happens when the tissue or blood vessels in your leg hold more fluid than they should. this can happen when there is very little movement or one could say when you sit the whole day.
Inflammation: it happens when the tissues in the legs get irritated and swollen, it is body’s natural response in case of injury to bones, ligaments, joints, etc, but it may also be a sign of a more serious inflammatory illness like arthritis.
Symptoms of diabetic edema
The main symptom of edema is swelling of the affected area. Other symptoms that may occur, along with swelling, includes:
- Weight gain
- Aching in limbs
- Stiffness in joints
- Discolouration of skin.
So, how diabetes causes water retention(edema) in limbs
The most common type of water retention in diabetes can be seen in the legs and feet (peripheral edema). Commonly, water retention occurs as a side effect of insulin therapy or diabetes drugs. Peripheral edema can be the early warning symptom of kidney problems or heart failure related to diabetes.
However, water retention can occur as a result of an injury, surgery, long travels, pregnancy, hormone changes, and certain medication side effects. But if you have diabetes, you need to be extra careful as water retention can make it more difficult for wounds to heal.
When the body doesn’t produce or use insulin properly, high levels of glucose (sugar) can accumulate in the blood. If left untreated, high glucose levels can damage the linings of small blood vessels. This damage can result in poor blood circulation.
When the blood doesn’t circulate properly, fluids gets trapped in certain parts of the body, most commonly in the legs, ankles, and feet. If you have diabetes, due to the tendency to slow healing process, swelling can also occur after a foot or ankle injury related to ligaments, tendons, and joints.
Over time, high blood sugar can severly damage the nerves in the lower parts of the body. This can lead to loss of sensation in the affected limb, which makes it difficult to detect injuries like sprains, fractures, and cuts.
Untreated sprains and fractures can trigger swelling. Additionally, an untreated cut can become infected and swell. If your body doesn’t use insulin properly, high levels of glucose (sugar) can accumulate in your blood. If left untreated, high glucose levels can damage the lining of smaller blood vessels. This damage can result in poor blood circulation.
When your blood doesn’t circulate properly, fluid gets trapped in certain parts of your body, such as the legs, ankles, and feet.
If you have diabetes, due to the tendency to slow healing, swelling can also occur after a foot or ankle injury.
In diabetes, doctors advise avoiding salt because when we consume too much salt, the body retains extra sodium which increases the amount of fluid in the body, outside of the cells. This increase in fluid allows the body to continue retaining sodium and fluid while excreting higher levels of sodium in the urine. Approximately 1.5 litres of fluid is retained in the body when we eat too much salt and this continues as long as a higher salt intake is consumed.
Types of edema
There are many types of edema. Each one reflects different problems & can indicate a range of different health conditions.
Some common types are :
Peripheral edema: This affects the feet, ankles, legs, hands, and arms. Symptoms include swelling, puffiness, and difficulty moving certain parts of the body.
Pulmonary edema: This occurs when excess fluid collects in the lungs, making breathing difficult. This can result from congestive heart failure or acute lung injury. It is a serious condition, it can be a medical emergency, and it can lead to respiratory failure and death. See your doctor immediately if you experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
Cerebral edema: This occurs in the brain. It can happen for a range of reasons, many of which are potentially life-threatening. common Symptoms includes :
- neck pain or stiffness
- whole or partial vision loss
- changes in consciousness or mental state
Macular edema: This is a serious complication of diabetic retinopathy. Swelling occurs in the macular region, which is the part of the eye that enables detailed, central vision. The person may notice changes to their central vision and how they see colors.
Pitting edema: With this type, which can occur in peripheral edema, pressure applied to the skin leaves an indent or pit in the skin.
Periorbital edema: This refers to inflammation and puffiness around the eye or eyes. The puffiness is due to fluid buildup and is usually temporary.
Edema can occur in other locations as well, but those mentioned above are the most common.
Edemas can be the indicator of one of many serious health conditions. It is important for a person to check with a doctor if they are experiencing any kind of swelling.
how to relieve pain & swollen ankles and feet quickly
As we mostly talk about home remedies on this website one of the most potential solutions to swollen feet and ankles could already be in your kitchen.
Here are some easy home remedies you can try at home.
Compression socks or tight cotton bandages offer a gentle squeeze to your legs that stops fluid from accumulating in that region & promotes better blood circulation around that region. This helps prevent fluid from collecting in your ankles and feet, which works to minimize swelling and pain.
Finding compression socks won’t be difficult. They’re widely available at various Medical stores, They also come in a variety of different levels of compression, from light, medium, and heavier compression.
Elevating your legs above the level of your heart helps drain out built-up fluid from the lower parts of your leg, Basically, you give your circulatory system a little assistance by letting gravity pull that fluid away.
The process is simple. Just prop up your legs using high or really puffy pillows, books or anything else that’s available. Various poses can also do the trick — such as lying on the floor with your legs raised and pressed against the wall — can also help.
- Epsom salt
In water, they break down into magnesium and sulfate. The theory is that when you soak in an Epsom salts bath, these get into your body through your skin. That hasn’t been proven yet, but just soaking in warm water can help relax muscles and loosen stiff joints. It is also known as transdermal magnesium supplementation. There is a ton of science behind the claims of how Epsom salt reduces inflammation and draws out toxins? Not really… but people swear by it. Many doctors promote it, too, given its ease of use, low cost, and minimal risk.
- Magnesium-rich foods
Water retention and the accompanying swelling can be a sign of a magnesium deficiency, in that case, adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet could be a tasty solution to your painful problem.
Foods that are high in magnesium include:
Nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, flaxseed, peanuts and pumpkin seeds).
Legumes (black beans, lima beans).
Fiber-rich whole grains (quinoa).
Low-fat dairy products (milk, yogurt).
- Magnesium supplements
Supplements offer another way to get a boost of targeted nutrients. Taking 200 mg to 400 mg of magnesium a day may help reduce swelling. or you can try this diabetes reversal program, which is totally natural.
Your body naturally holds onto fluids if it senses dehydration — and that retention can lead to swelling. Drinking more water also can help flush excess sodium and other waste from your system.
- Massage your feet
Massages can be great for swollen feet and can also promote relaxation by stimulating veins and draining excess fluid. Massage (or have someone massage them for you!) your feet toward your heart with firm strokes and some pressure. This can help move the fluid out of the area and reduce swelling.
- Go for regular exercise
Most Importantly, if you have diabetes, you have to exercise regularly. A sedentary lifestyle can increase the swelling in your foot. Get up and move around. Go for a walk around the block or in the part. In fact, go for a 60-minute walk every day without fail. This will boost circulation and reduce swelling. Swimming and cycling are also good options and you can take these up on a regular basis.