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Heart Failure: Prevent Swelling

CHF (congestive heart failure) can affect the circulation of blood to the kidneys. When the kidneys do not get adequate circulation, they cannot do their job of getting rid of extra fluid from the body. This is why your ankles, feet, and legs may collect excess fluid. You may also see your abdomen increase in size because of fluid, and a related problem is fluid in the lungs. The tips below may help prevent swelling or keep the swelling down in your ankles, feet, and legs.

Prevent swelling

  • Take your medicines as your doctor prescribes.
  • Cut down on salt and other forms of sodium.
  • Raise your legs when you are sitting. This helps drain the fluid away from your legs.
  • Wear special elastic stockings. These stockings can keep fluid from collecting in your legs. They should be fitted for you. Your doctor or nurse can recommend the proper type for you.
  • Walk regularly. Walking will help the blood to circulate in your legs. If you are unable to walk, flex your leg muscles or wiggle your toes to help with circulation.


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Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

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