retining fluids in feet and legs

By hotlipssandra Latest Reply 2011-12-31 21:06:18 -0600
Started 2011-04-21 14:32:57 -0500

my blood sugars and cholesterol levels have been high. I am on a water pill but instead of losing it I am gaining more weight. I need some help on what foods to eat, fluids to drink and exercises to do. I am keeping my legs and feet up but if I start to walk they swell up more and when I wake up in the morning they go down to where it was the morning before

Please help me and pray. I reallly need some suggestions and support.

18 replies

northerngal 2011-12-31 21:01:08 -0600 Report

I would suggest seeing a cardiologist or heart specialist. Diabetes is very damaging to blood vessels, even with good control. If the blood pressure and cholesterol aren't controlled well, it's extra strain on your heart. The water retention is a major clue that its not working as effeciently as it should. As a heart attack survivor (only because I kept in excellent phyical condition) I have experienced the worst and wouldn't want anyone else to go through that. If heart disease/high blood pressure runs in your family, the diabetes makes you much more susceptible. Have it checked and taken care of ASAP. Not something to ignore.

MEGriff1950 2011-09-11 22:25:13 -0500 Report

My legs and feet have always swollen even when I was young, thin and healthy. Now that I am none of these I take diuretics too and my dr have me take one prescribed potassium for each lasix. My dr wants me to keep my sodium below 800 mg a day. That sounds like a lot until you read a can of soup, can of vegetables, check the lables on frozen dinners and worst of all Arby's crispy chicken sandwich has 1250 mgs of sodium.
My back prevents me from walking but my dr suggests an exercise bike. That sounds good but I can't figure out how to slip one under my shirt to get it out of the store. A decent one is not in my financial range at this time. Ginny had the best exercise suggestion in lieu of walking. In fact she had a lot of good information.

jayabee52 2011-09-12 01:58:15 -0500 Report

Have you checked at a thrift store? Sometimes thrift stores like Salvation Army or Goodwill have exercise bikes relatively inexpensively.

northerngal 2011-12-31 21:06:18 -0600 Report

We have a chain of "Play it Again" stores, where you take used sporting equipment. They buy it if its in good shape and then resell it for much less than typical new gear costs. You'd be amazed at what you may find. Also, try a newspaper add seeking a reasonably priced stationery bicycle, or a used trainer if you own a real bicycle. You just attach it to the rear wheel and ride indoors on your own bike. They're nice, fairly cheap and quiet. But you will need to replace the rear tire after a few months. Good luck.

whitetigress 2011-08-19 15:00:07 -0500 Report

Not knowing which water pill you are on, or the dose or the reason for being on it. I would assume you have blood work done, If these have not been checked, I would ask them to check your T4 and T3 levels to see if you are producing any. These two thyroid hormones are very important and both of them are responsible for the amount of fluid our body holds for survival.

You may also need to be on a thyroid pill which will help with the edema.

You will also need to watch your salt intake and keep track of how much you are consuming. The info is on the side of the box or package. This also means no salt on your food and no salt used during cooking.

If you would like more info, let me know as I have the same issue - but it is under control.

- Whitetigress :)

pinkchic 2011-09-11 21:54:47 -0500 Report

Hi Whitetigress - I am having this same issue with swelling feet and am very frustrated. The PA I am seeing has said that getting my blood sugar down is the main thing to do to stop the swelling. She changed me to Janumet instead of just metformin and that has seemed to do the trick with the sugar levels - now at about 135 before eating and about 180 after eating - was in the lower 300s. But the swelling has returned and that is the reason I have come to this blog - to hopefully find some ideas from others with this problem. I read the info below regarding potassium levels affecting fluid retention and I think this may be a factor for me. I went out and got some of the foods listed that are high in potassium so we will see how that goes. Do you have any other advice/ideas? This feet swelling is affecting my quality of life - I am only 41. Please share your thoughts…:)

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-04-22 16:55:00 -0500 Report

My edema was caused by bad vein pumps. They let the blood leak back down my legs and one thing led to another and bammo major problems.
Do you elevate your legs as much as possible. Anytime you are sitting are your legs up? One of my Drs. told me "I assume when you are not in my office your feet are on the ceiling."

Ginny in CO
Ginny in CO 2011-04-21 23:50:05 -0500 Report

First, do you by any chance have a water softener that uses salt to replace the minerals in hard water? Definitely will make the water retention a losing battle.

jayabee is right about low magnesium causing cramps. It could also be from low potassium. The most common diuretic, furosemide (Lasix), depletes potassium and patients are usually monitored for that very important electrolyte level. If the med the doctor increased was Lasix and he didn't add or increase potassium, you should have a basic chemistry panel within a week to be sure you are staying within a normal range on the higher dose.

One of the interesting studies on sodium was done at University of Oregon Health Sciences Center in Portland. What they concluded is that a lot of sodium problems are as much to do with too LITTLE of the other electrolytes and minerals we need (magnesium, potassium and calcium especially) as how much sodium we eat. People who have the fluid retention problems do need to be careful about both sodium and fluid intake. The standard limits are 2 grams of sodium per day and 2 liters of fluid - counting anything that is liquid at room temperature.

The best way to stay on top of fluid retention is to weigh daily and keep a record. A weight gain of 2 # in 24 hours is too much. Your doctor should give you an amount of weight gain in a 24 to 48 hour period that you should call about. You should also have a list of the symptoms of low potassium (hypokalemia) that you should report.

This is a really good resource:

It includes foods high in potassium which can help a lot and are MUCH easier to take than the huge potassium pills. It is hard to completely manage drug induced hypokalemia with foods, but you can keep from having to take as much, or getting low enough to be admitted to a hospital.

Keeping your feet up while sitting and getting up to move frequently is very important. You can also mimic the effect of walking by doing calf pumps frequently while sitting. Just point your toes down, then bring them back towards your head as far as you can. You want to feel the muscles in the back of the lower legs pumping. This is the action our feet and legs make when we walk that helps the blood go back up against gravity faster than the heart can pump it alone. Especially a heart with some congestive failure.

Keep in touch with the doctor's office. Just because he didn't plan to have you come back for three months doesn't mean you should wait until then to tell him things are not any better. Certainly let them know if it gets worse.

jayabee52 2011-04-22 00:14:12 -0500 Report

Very good catch, Ginny! I hadn't considered potassium, but I should have thought of that, especially since my Jem also took lots of potassium pills. In fact she took multiple Potassium pills of varying sterngths.

The Potssium pills she took were by prescription, so Sandra may have to try to get her Dr to prescribe them. The Mg pills were OTC pills.

jayabee52 2011-04-21 19:13:53 -0500 Report

There are so many reasons for retaining fluid ("edema") that to try to Dx why this is happening, would be foolhardy for me and dangerous to you.

Here is am e-medicine 10 part article on edema, its causes, diagnosis and treatment:

If your edema is concerning you, and especially if your feet/ legs are geting red and pit when pressed (see the article), call your Dr. and see if you can't get in ASAP (like today or tomorrow!) or go to the ER. Whatever you're doing to try to control your edema is not all that effective. There are many diuretics ("water pills") available and maybe this one is not working effectively for you. That needs to be done in consultation with a MD.

While she was alive my bride "Jem" had both pulmonary and peripheral edema due to her CHF. She had to take 2 or 3 diuretics to control that. I have swollen ankles and lower calves primarily due to kidney disease. My edema is not that serious, yet I take a diuretic to attempt control.

Sandra, It could be minor, or it could be very serious. I urge you to err on the side of caution and take it seriously.

Praying you get this corrected, whatever it turns out to be.

Blessings to you and yours


hotlipssandra 2011-04-21 21:19:24 -0500 Report

I do take a water pill and he just up the the strength of it. it causes me to have severe leg cramps at night and was told by the pharmacist not to take any over the counter medication with the water pill. Since january I gained 32 pounds.
2 weeks ago I lost 5 pounds and I saw the doctor monday and gained 1 pound back. he doesn't want to see me back until 3 months.

jayabee52 2011-04-21 22:51:49 -0500 Report

If it is doing that (cramps), perhaps you are on the wrong med.

If you have a lot of cramps often, you might want to try Magnesium ("Mg"). My Jem had a lot of cramps because she was on a lot of strong diuretics, mainly because of her CHF and her pulmonary edema. So she took a lot of Mg to fight the cramps. But be careful with Mg, too much can cause a laxative effect.

Harlen 2011-04-21 18:35:35 -0500 Report

First you need to get you BS down to 80 -110 this will help a lot
Are you able to get out and walk ????
Have you cut out the salt from your diet ???
To drink hummm I think water would be your and my best choice.
To help me not retain water in my lower legs and feet
I rub them every night for 10 min .
Hope this helps
Best wishes

hotlipssandra 2011-04-21 21:14:13 -0500 Report

I have cut salt out of my diet. I do drink water but not enough though.
it is hard for me to walk because i do use a cane but I am walking

Harlen 2011-04-21 22:04:14 -0500 Report

I would call your Doc you may need a med chainge
Best wishes

hotlipssandra 2011-04-21 22:39:48 -0500 Report

I will call my doctor tomorrow morning. I am taking 2 medications for my blood sugar metformin 1000 mg 3 times a day metformin 500 mg 1 a day at bedtime
also glyburide 5 mg. one a day. He told me he was going to raise them in 1 month if my levels don't go down.

Harlen 2011-04-22 17:49:07 -0500 Report

Some of it may be that youe sugars are going down ???
I do hope you feel better soon
Best wishes