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Sat Apr 18, 2015, 01:04 PM

Swelling in hands & feet

My daughter has been having severe swelling in her hands and fingers (to the extent she can't wear her wedding rings) and in her feet. Her feet are so swollen that you can't see the ankle bones on the sides. This began after she returned from a trip to Mexico (in January) and has been ongoing since then. She's seen a rheumatologist, cardiologist, and her family doctor but no one seems to be able to definitively diagnose the problem! They think it could be Rheumatoid Arthritis or something called Chikengunya (?).

I'm wondering if anyone else has ever experienced these symptoms and what the diagnosis is?

She's in her early 40's; has been to Mexico every January for the past 20 years; and her hands are so swollen they look like a fat claw. She can't bend her fingers!

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Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply Swelling in hands & feet (Original post)
LibGranny Apr 2015 OP
elleng Apr 2015 #1
LibGranny Apr 2015 #2
Warpy Apr 2015 #3
NightWatcher Apr 2015 #4

Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Sat Apr 18, 2015, 01:21 PM

1. Edema

is swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in your body's tissues. Although edema can affect any part of your body, it's most commonly noticed in the hands, arms, feet, ankles and legs.

Edema can be the result of medication, pregnancy or an underlying disease often heart failure, kidney disease or cirrhosis of the liver.

Taking medication to remove excess fluid and reducing the amount of salt in your food often relieves edema. When edema is a sign of an underlying disease, the disease itself requires separate treatment.


I have no experience with this, but her docs should be able to figure it out.

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 18, 2015, 01:26 PM

2. She's a nurse (which I failed to state in original post) so she's very

aware of edema and salt in diet. She's seeing specialists but none of them have given her a definitive diagnosis.

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Response to LibGranny (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 18, 2015, 02:36 PM

3. I hope they're giving her renal function tests, too

Chikungunya is an ugly virus, very painful. It's going to be in the news a lot because it's moving north along with dengue and Chagas disease. All there we have to treat it are antipyretics to bring down the high fever and help the body aches and light opiates if the pain becomes severe.

Getting used to a low salt diet is a good thing, in any case. That will serve her well for the rest of her life once she gets used to it.

Fortunately, the Americas don't have as many nasty parasitic diseases as Asia or Africa, but they need to be consulting all their old parasitology texts, too.

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Response to LibGranny (Original post)

Wed Apr 22, 2015, 09:00 AM

4. My feet were swelling as a result of kidney problems due to my dermatomyositis

It's an autoimmune illness. As my muscles were wasting away they were releasing Creatine Kinase into my blood which ended up in the kidneys. I was also having to pee all the time. The kidneys cannot handle the amount and severe swelling was a result. I also had swollen joints from lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

I'm sure she's collected 24 hr urines and had them tested, but if not, ask the Dr for a Creatine Kinase test in the urine to see if something's up.

Good luck

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