Swollen ankles

Patient: I was recently taken to eht hospital with chest pains and found out I was extremely low on potassium. I anm now on potassium and my ankles and cafes are swollen almost twice in size. The soctor increased my water pill to 80 mg. The are again twice the size. I have a cut and it is weeping water. What is causing the swelling?

Doctor: The fluid collecting in your lower limbs, ankles and calves, may be just related to your low blood potassium level. Ther e are many other causes of lower limb fluid collection. These include; reduced heart function, liver or kidney impairment, low blood protein levels, venous insufficiency, obstruction to venous flow (for example in pregnancy, malignant disease, or venous blood clot), electrolyte abnormalities (sodium), drugs (calcium channel blockers), infection or inflammation of the lower limbs or impaired lymph drainage (dependant swelling or loss of mobility). I would advise attending your family doctor to follow-up your blood electrolyte and potassium levels and exclude many of the other above causes of lower limb fluid collection with a complete history and physical examination.

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Dr. Jimmy Obaji M.D.

Dr. Jimmy Obaji completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Manitoba. He currently operates a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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