Type 1 Diabetes and Swollen Ankles

I am a long-time Type 1 diabetic (dx at age 12, 41 now). I have been very blessed to be without complications most of that time. Lately, though, some things have been cropping up - I have an endo appt scheduled, but I can’t get in to see her until August 15th.

This summer (and I believe it happened last summer too), I have been having a lot of problems with my ankles swelling - particularly my right ankle and leg, though it happens on the left too. More severe on humid days and when I sit a lot. My right foot has also been a little discolored, not bad, but noticeable. I’m suspecting circulation problems, especially since I have been having problems with Diabetic stiff hand as well. Anyone have this problem, and able to suggest some ways of relief?

About a year ago, I started a walking program, which I stepped up about 6 months ago. Do about 3 miles 3-4 times a week and cross train on alternate days. Been watching the salt and drinking mostly water, though I allow myself one cup of coffee in the morning. Diabetes control was not the best until about the last 6 months or so. The hands provided a big wake-up call!

Swollen ankles can be a sign of edema and should be looked at by a doctor. It may be something like your thyroid or even getting older. But it could also be a sign of other more serious things.

This can just be from the heat, but it could also indicate high blood pressure. You are right to have it checked.

Although some doctors are not familiar with it, swollen legs and ankles can be a sign of lymphedema. My doctor always told me that I was too fat (which is obvious) and gave me a diuretic. When that didn’t work, he told me I must be eating foods with too much sodium. I recently went to a vein clinic to be checked for varicose veins. The doctor there did an ultrasound of both legs and found no varicose veins. However he examined my legs and told me I had lymphedema and should begin treatment.

I’ve done that and there has been a big difference. I still have mild swelling, but my legs feel lots better. I hope you will be able to determine the reason for your legs swelling. Good Luck to you.

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I have it all the time in summer, exactly as you do. I truly hate the heat, but I live in Australia, so there,s no escaping it unlss I go somewhere where I can’t take the cold, like Tasmania.

When I have it, blood sugar very normal, blood pressure normal (I’ve never had high blood pressure and I’m well into in my 50s). I’ve asked my doctor several times and all I get is, “Oh it’s because you have diabetes,” and I get offered lasix. Not terribly helpful and no thanks to the lasix.

I’ve also had 8 operations on my hands in the last 10 years, so maybe some people like us are just pone to this, despite good A1Cs. Can’t be good.

Mayumi, what did you do for the lymphedema?

this same thing also happened to me too. the first time i noticed it was after a bout of DKA after I was discharged. i had an ultrasound, which came back normal-- no DVT’s or anything like that. After a couple of days wearing compression stockings it went away. while on vacation a couple of weeks ago, it happened to me again, in the same left leg (although the right was slightly swollen as well). I would go to sleep and wake up normal, and then it would swell by noon. I attribute it to the high heat (it was 100 and we had no AC), an increased salt intake (mostly chips-- I know I was bad), and beer. Once I came home, it went away, even despite me having to work on my feet all day.

All these symptoms are partially what keeps me healthy now. I would definitely discuss this with your doctor. If they can’t find anything wrong with you (like me) then sometimes it is just about doing what you have to do to prevent the swelling (like wearing compression stockings and not sitting in the sun eating chips and drinking beer :wink: ).

Sounds like what is happening to me. Had to smile though - I am a church secretary, and much as I am tempted sometimes, they probably would frown on me sitting in the sun eating chips and drinking beer. There are days, though…