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Elderly parents

Swollen legs in elderly father - what can help?

17 replies

magso · 13/06/2013 12:08

My father has suffered frail health for many years. He can only walk very short distances due to breathlessness and is easily tired and frail. I do not know what his all Dxs are -I think his doctor just calls it old age.
He has been suffering with stabbing pains in his legs for some years as well as debilitating cramp that can last for hours, but now his legs have become swollen with dry white patches of skin. The pain is upsetting his (and my mothers) sleep. The doctor has given him emulants to reduce the skin dryness and suggested raising his feet at night.

Has anyone any idea what I can do to help? Do those circulation booster foot massages actually work?

OP posts:
DowntonTrout · 13/06/2013 12:15

Is his heart failing?

This is usually one of the symptoms. Diuretics may help, but this bring with them their own problems -ie constipation.

He should try and get his feet raised higher than his heart as often as he can as this will help, so feet up on cushions. We got my dad one of those beds that you can put it different positions to keep his feet raised at night.

WynkenBlynkenandNod · 13/06/2013 13:25

My Mum had badly swollen legs and got cellulitis. She has Carers in to wash and cream legs, put support stockings on. She takes diuretics and is supposed to keep them elevated. There has been a definite improvement.

magso · 13/06/2013 14:24

Thank you both. I suspect he has lung related heart failure. I will look into getting a stool for his chair - or a chair with raised foot pad.

OP posts:
harbinger · 19/06/2013 21:31

Badly swollen legs could well be heart failure.
If it is just heart failure, they can go on for ages, as long as the legs are elevated often. More than 30 minutes can cause other problems. The best test is the need to urinate if their fluids are sufficient.

harbinger · 19/06/2013 22:18

It is good to have 30-45 minutes with the legs up after lunch. Between 2pm and 4pm. Let the lunch go down for a while first.

How old is your DF?

magso · 20/06/2013 09:12

Thanks Harbinger. He is in his early 80s. Will suggest afternoon raised legs.

OP posts:
mignonette · 20/06/2013 09:17

Has he been examined properly regarding his cardiovascular status? 'Stabbing pains' could be a symptom of a condition called Intermittent Claudication. He does need proper assessment as it is not enough for symptoms to be written off as 'old age' by medics.

Regarding his legs- rest, elevation and take great care not to allow skin breakdown as healing could take a long time. Be very careful when applying emollients-keep all nails short and apply in a sweeping direction towards the heart.

Be super careful clipping toenails too. A small nick here is a prime cause of Cellulitis.

cindersinsuburbia · 20/06/2013 09:27

If he has suspected heart failure, he needs to see a GP asap.

my GF has heart failure and is on diuretics, without them the fuild would eventually collect around his heart and lungs and kill him.

I know there are other causes too, but its worth checking out

magso · 20/06/2013 09:31

He has seen his GP several times, and been told it is part of old age.

OP posts:
mignonette · 20/06/2013 09:36

That is not good enough OP. His GP is being lazy. He deserves investigation and if necessary treatment of his symptoms. 'Old age' in this case may be a treatable CV problem that can greatly improve the quality of his life. Ask to see another GP in the practice. And remind your current GP that your fathers NI/Tax have helped pay for his training and his salary.

squeelybean · 20/06/2013 09:38

I had to deal with my nans very swollen legs yesterday.

The G.P has put her on low dose diuretics because the full dose made her blood pressure too low and she is being fitted for pressure stockings by the district nurse. Legs are raised on a stool for as much time as possible.

Nans heart is already failing but she is nearly 98 so its a case of weighing the pros and cons of everything they prescribe for herSad

magso · 20/06/2013 09:52

He has had some investigations recently but not cardiac related. He doesn't like a fuss and is very private. I will see what I can do from afar!

OP posts:
mignonette · 20/06/2013 09:54

Good luck Mag

I understand that many older people do not want to 'bother' the doctors. But tell him he deserves it. And that you'll worry less. xx

magso · 20/06/2013 10:16

Thank you! And Mum will worry less.

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harbinger · 21/06/2013 18:53

I second another trip to the GP.

Do bear in mind that diruetics can kill off some people with heart failure if they also have kidney problems.

Also, statins seem to be given out like sweets ATM. Do check. The statins that were given to my DM could have killed her. Dopey GP. Hadn't read her notes.

magso · 21/06/2013 19:49

Thanks. I will see what I can do.

OP posts:
memphis83 · 21/06/2013 20:03

It sounds like my grandad, he elevates his legs on a stool in the afternoon and potters around the house and garden in the morning, he also takes diuretics (sp?), for the skin he has E45 itch relief prescribed as its the only thing that soothes him, the big tubs with a pump are about £25 so the doc prescribed it for him.

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