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Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
[Ed. Note: We’re going to answer your questions as we do every Thursday, but we also have something very special to share with you. So be sure to read on after we answer your important questions. You won’t want to miss this!]
You’ve got questions…
We’ve got answers!
Today, we’ve got a very important question about swollen feet and coffee’s role in alzheimer’s.
Let’s dive in…
Swollen Feet Solutions
I’m a type 2 diabetic and I’m wondering if there’s something I can do to help reduce swelling in my feet. Are there certain foods I should eat or home treatments I can use to decrease this painful swelling?
Thank you very much,
Thanks for your very important question, Paul.
Swelling of the feet, ankles and legs, also called peripheral edema, is a problem that plagues many folks, not just diabetics. Many of us experience this type of uncomfortable and annoying swelling, myself included.
Peripheral edema has many causes — prolonged sitting or standing in one position, medication, genetics, obesity and pregnancy are among the top triggers. Added pressure on the lower limbs makes the tiny blood vessels in your legs, ankles and feet leak fluid into body tissue and make the surrounding areas swell.
These leaky vessels cause higher levels of sodium and water to accumulate in the kidneys, which in turn causes more capillary leakage and more swelling — creating a cycle. This means reducing your sodium intake and increasing your movement (i.e., exercise) is the first line of defense when trying to keep this cycle from perpetuating.
In addition, there are lots of home remedies out there for swollen feet and ankles — anything from tonic water soaks to inversion tables — but I have found only two that work for me.
The first is elevating my feet above my heart. Doing this helps increase circulation and reduce swelling. I sometimes do this by putting my legs against the wall for 10 minutes at a time. If you’re familiar with yoga, this pose is often called “legs up the wall.”
If this position is uncomfortable or unattainable for you, you can prop your feet up using pillows, blankets or a piece of furniture. Before I could do legs up the wall, I used a wedge pillow like this:
I would prop my feet on this pillow for about 30 minutes and experience a significant decrease in swelling. I could actually feel the circulation increase and my legs seemed less heavy. During especially bad bouts, I would sleep with my feet propped on the pillow. You can purchase a pillow like this here.
If your swelling is chronic or related to a medical condition, ask your doctor to write a prescription for the pillow. In some cases, your insurance company will cover the cost of the pillow with a doctor’s prescription.
The other thing that seems to help with my swelling is drinking plenty of water with a few slices of lemon or lime. Water is vital to proper circulation and kidney function, so the more water you drink, the better these systems will work. And since citrus is a natural diuretic, it seems to help reduce extra water in the body.
If you suddenly start experiencing swelling of the legs, feet and ankles, you should seek medical advice. Edema can be symptomatic of a more serious health condition like heart failure, kidney dysfunction, liver disease and diabetes.
If you have any tips on how to reduce foot swelling, please share them: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coffee and Alzheimer’s
I’ve heard that drinking coffee can protect you from alzheimer’s. Is this true? I’ve been drinking a cappuccino everyday since I heard this a few months ago. Just curious if it’s actually doing anything for my brain.
Thanks, June. We get lots of questions about coffee in the mailbag, and its effect on Alzheimer’s is something of interest for several readers.
According to research done on folks over the age of 65 in Florida, drinking coffee daily may delay the onset of or help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
The study found that folks with higher levels of caffeine in their blood dodged the onset of Alzheimer’s during the two–four-year duration of the study.
According to Dr. Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist at the University of South Florida, the results suggest that older adults who suffer from mild memory impairment will not end up with Alzheimer’s disease or experience a substantial delay prior to being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s if they are drinking moderate levels of coffee — about three cups a day.
In addition, Cao reported, “The results from this study, along with our earlier studies in Alzheimer’s mice, are very consistent in indicating that moderate daily caffeine/coffee intake throughout adulthood should appreciably protect against Alzheimer’s disease later in life.”
So keep on enjoying those daily cappuccinos, June. Research indicates they’re doing a lot for your brain.
Thanks for your questions! Keep them coming! Send all questions to email@example.com.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily Insider