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HomeAnswersGeneral Surgeryleg discomfortHow to treat my mother's swollen feet?

Can you please tell me the reason for my mom's swollen feet?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Answered by

Dr. Arvind Guru

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At October 10, 2017
Reviewed AtJanuary 25, 2024

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

I have a question about my mom's peripheral blood smear test. She is 62 years old and is diabetic. The report says she has normocytic normochromic anemia with neutrophilic leukocytosis. Her neutrophils are 85 %, lymphocytes are 14 %, eosinophils are 1 %, and neutrophils show coarse toxic cytoplasmic granules. Her feet are swollen for the past two months, which is the reason we did this test. Please provide insight. What disease does she have? What is the treatment? I have attached her test reports.


Answered by Dr. Arvind Guru


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have seen her reports (attachment removed to protect patient identity). In your mom's case, considering that she is a diabetic patient with swelling in both her feet (also known as edema), a few things come to my mind.

She could be having some skin infection in the swollen legs. And to fight this infection, the body mounts a response in the form of increased number of neutrophils to fight the infection. I am worried why she has this swelling in the first place. She could be having high blood pressure or hypertension or early signs of heart failure.

Diabetes is also known to cause kidney problems that can result in water retention in the body and resultant leg edema. Diabetes and kidney issues, can themselves increase the risk for infection, especially in elderly patients. Renal injury because of diabetes can lead to anemia of the type mentioned in your mom's peripheral blood smear test.

It means she has decreased red blood cells production because of one or more of the following:

  1. Renal disease.
  2. Iron-deficiency anemia.
  3. Infection.
  4. Bone marrow failure.

So, here is what needs to be done:

  1. Investigate for any skin breach or cut foot injury. Treat the infection if any, some oral antibiotics would be prescribed by your mom's doctor.
  2. Investigation for the cause of edema in the first place, with special attention to rule out kidney disease, which generally requires an ultrasound of kidneys and blood chemistry exam.
  3. Rule out if heart failure or hypertension is the cause. EKG (electrocardiogram) and if further required some other heart investigations like echocardiography can be done. If heart disease is present, low salt diet is the first thing to be done (after blood chemistry evaluation) and then some medications if required.
  4. Avoid exerting too much.
  5. Keep strict blood sugar control.
  6. Dietary modification needs to be done, to reduce weight. Her BMI (body mass index) should be below 25.
  7. Feet should be elevated at night to reduce swelling.

For now, see a local practitioner and discuss the above. Do not ignore the swelling.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Arvind Guru
Dr. Arvind Guru

General Surgery

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