Swelling in the lower legs – known as “lower extremity edema” in medical terms – is a problem that often affects older adults.
The good news is that most of the time, it’s annoying, but not terribly dangerous. However, in other cases, swelling in the feet, ankles, or lower legs can be the sign of a new health problem, or a worsening chronic condition.
And, even if it’s “benign” and not related to a dangerous health condition, edema can be a major risk factor for skin breakdown and reduced mobility in aging adults.
Since leg swelling becomes so common as people get older, in this article we’ll demystify leg edema and cover the most important things that older adults and families should know about this condition. In particular, we’ll cover:
- How does edema happen?
- Common causes of swollen ankles or legs in aging adults
- Medications that can cause leg swelling as a side-effect
- How leg swelling should be medically evaluated
- How to prevent and treat leg swelling
- What to know BEFORE going on a “water pill”