About six years ago I was getting ready for a BBQ and realized I could not put my shoes on. My feet was almost two shoe sized too big. As I wobbled around the BBQ playing hostess they began to get larger, tight, and somewhat painful so I finally had to sit down and elevate them.
Later that night I emailed my doctor at Kaiser and asked to come in to get checked out. Now his first diagnosis was, Oh you must be retaining water so let me prescribe you some water pills. So I took those for a few days and the swelling went down, but sure enough the swelling came back within a week and my favorite flip flops would not fit. So I emailed him again so his nurse schedule me to come in again and at that visit realized my blood pressure was up so the doctor put me on high blood pressure pills, and I realized the light headed feeling and swollen feet went away, however he went ahead and ran some more detailed test which I had to fast for 14hours. This test showed that my kidneys was no longer functioning correctly. Which lead me to research the following:
Patients with sickle cell disease are at increase risk for both hypertension and kidney problems because of chronic sickling in the kidneys. When this happens it is very difficult for the kidneys to get rid of the extra “water” along with any other chemical that is difficult for the kidney to process. This produces swollen feet, ankles, hands, and even possibly organs.
With this new news I then realized I must began to eat healthy and cut out all sodium!! When I eat food with sodium, process meat, foods with extended shelf life, my feet began to swell very fast, almost within the hour and if I proceed to walk and be active my shoes will not be able to stay on.
Now sickle cell effects everyone different. Some have mild symptoms and others have very server symptoms which lead to hospitalization.
Sickle cells can block the small blood vessels in the hands or feet. This condition is called hand-foot syndrome. It can lead to pain, swelling, and fever. One or both hands and/or feet may be affected at the same time.
You may feel the pain in the many bones of the hands and feet. Swelling often occurs on the back of the hands and feet and moves into the fingers and toes. Hand-foot syndrome may be the first sign of sickle cell anemia in infants.
When this occurs, for me drinking plenty of fluids to push the block cells out the way helps (jello water is my trick).
So living with sickle cell its important to understand what these cells are doing to the inside of your body, and understanding your feet is just as important as understanding your blood. Take care of your feet and they will take care of you~
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