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Increased swelling of the legs or ankles

Swelling in the legs and ankles is caused by fluid accumulation in the body, which can be a sign of worsening heart failure. You may feel that your shoes are tighter than normal if swelling in this area is increasing.

The fluid build-up is due to reduced blood flow out of the heart, causing blood returning to the heart through the veins to back up. This leads to fluid accumulation in the abdomen and lower limbs and congestion.

You are more likely to notice swelling in your legs and ankles later in the day because gravity increases the amount and pressure of blood in the veins of the lower limbs. Lying down and resting for a period will usually reduce the swelling.

If you notice an increase in the swelling in your legs and ankles and it’s progressively getting worse, you should contact your doctor or nurse. An adjustment of your diuretic medicines is usually enough to reduce the problem.

AN ANIMATED JOURNEY THROUGH HEART FAILURE

A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.

USEFUL TOOLS

Click to print these tools to help you monitor your heart failure

PATIENT AND CAREGIVERS VIDEOS

In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.

VISIT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE

and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers.

heartfailurematers.org is a European Society of Cardiology website

The heartfailurematters.org website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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