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Ankle swelling, loss of appetite, dementia. Symptoms of heart failure?

I am very concerned about My 89 year old Mother whose ankles and stomach are very swollen. She drinks next to nothing, despite it being suggested to her that she should drink more, added to which her appetite is very poor. She does appear breathless at times, but that is not too apparent as she does very little. The biggest issue is that she has dementia and is in denial that there is a problem. She is cared for by her husband. Would you be able to confirm that she may be in Heart Failure .
Asked On : Thu, 9 Aug 2012
Answers:  2 Views:  179
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Internal Medicine Specialist 's  Response
Dear friend, welcome to HCM !

At 89 years age and with dementia, swelling over the belly and lower limbs and breathlessness could be
due to heaert failure, renal (kidney) failure, Low proteins, sometimes liver cell failure (usually with jaundice), low grade infections etc..

Does she have fever, vomitting, swelling over the face , more in the morning?
Are there any infected bed sores / wounds etc?

She will ahve to undergo physical examination, tests like CBC, routine labs , EKG, Xray chest, urine routine, 2D echo etc. to pinpoint the cause.
Only on above testing can we conclude about heart failure.

Take care and please keep me informed of your progress.
Good Luck !
I hope to have answered your query satisfactorily.
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Answered: Mon, 3 Sep 2012
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General & Family Physician Dr. Kulbir Singh's  Response
Hello and welcome to HCM
Their is strong possibility of heart failure in the patients have peripheral edema (ankles swelling) associated with shortness of breath. But with heart failure we will not forget Renal Failure these symptoms along with stomach distension (swelling) are more common in this condition.
Consult your doctor and get your Echocardiography done to rule out Heart Failure and Renal Function test and S. Potassium level to rule out Renal Failure. I also advise you to go for USG abdomen.
Hope I have helped you.
Best Wishes
Answered: Thu, 9 Aug 2012
I find this answer helpful
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