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What are the causes for headaches, backaches and swollen feet ?

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Practicing since : 2002
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I am experiencing swollen feet, backache and headaches...Why is this? I am 55, 230. I have sleep apnea and venous stasis.
Posted Fri, 4 May 2012 in Headache and Migraines
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 1 hour later
Hello and thanks for the query.

A number of things can contribute to the symptoms which you report including cardiovascular issues, hormonal imbalance and psychological factors.

Regarding cardiovascular concerns we know from a long list of research series that a decompensation in the function of the heart can contribute to swelling of the lower extremities. In your case you have a history of sleep apnea which can put stress on the heart. In addition the fact that you have venous stasis also contributes to the swelling in your lower extremities.

Along these lines it is extremely important to make sure that your sleep apnea is adequately treated. This includes very good management of your blood pressure as well as participation in a sleep apnea program and using the sleep apnea mask at night. In addition it is critical that you work on adequate weight loss. The weight loss will improve your blood pressure as well as your sleep apnea.

I think it is extremely important that you make an appointment to see a nutritionist as well as a physical therapist or exercise trainer to put together a comprehensive program to improve your overall lifestyle. I really think that an improvement in your weight and exercise level will over time improve your overall sense of well-being. I am confident also that your headaches will improve and that the swelling in your legs will improve.

In addition I think that a hormone testing laboratory study should be performed. Your doctor can request testing of your thyroid as well as your estrogen and progesterone levels to determine if any type of intervention needs to be made.

I thank you again for submitting your question. I hope that found my response to be both helpful and informative. If you have any additional concerns regarding this question I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Robert.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What are the causes for headaches, backaches and swollen feet ? 1 hour later
So I am assuming this may have nothing to do with kidneys. I do have a CPAP machine which I have used nightly for the last 7 years. I think I do need a new machine since the one I have is 7 years old as well. I had a stress test on my heart about 2 years ago and it was amazingly strong as I typically walk 45 minutes to an hour everyday. For the last month and a half that has not occurred because of work and the extreme heat. I plan to get back to my routine VERY soon. I did see a nutritionist a few years ago and she put me on a plan. I guess I just need to go back and follow it. I plan to go and see about my blood pressure at the pharmacy this afternoon. I have also scheduled an appointment with my doctor for early next week and as of today am wearing my compression stockings again.

I hope I m doing everything right... XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 4 hours later
Hi XXXXXXX and thanks for the followup.

You seem to be doing alot of great things for your health - congratulations on that. It might seem overwhelming but you have made good efforts which I think can help payoff in the longrun. You mentioned kidneys as a possible factor - this is possible but a more rare consideration. In the absence of previously limited kidney function I would view this as less likely. It can be checked easily however with a comprehensive metabolic profile - a simple blood test.

I encourage you to get checked to make sure the settings on the CPAP are adequate and to slowly increase your level of physical activity on a daily basis. You have all the tools in your hands to optimize your health and I am sure you will get there. hink positive along these lines!

Again I thank you for the query and hope my responses have been helpful. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to discuss those with you.


Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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