Is Swollen Feet Associated with Alcohol?

Having swollen feet is a problem more common than you might think. So many factors contribute to this problem. It could happen after standing for too long, it could happen during pregnancy, or it could be the result of working in a hot environment. People with certain medical condition may also have swollen feet. Alcohol is another contributing factor in many cases. If you do not have any other medical condition and still have swollen feet, you may be drinking too much alcohol.

Swollen Feet and Alcohol: What Is the Connection?

Drinking wine or beer in moderation usually does not pose any serious health problem, but drinking too much can damage your liver and lead to swelling or edema. You develop edema when fluid starts collecting in the tissues f your hands, feet, or other parts of the body. It is possible to have swollen feet or hands after a bout of beer drinking, but the situation becomes normal after a couple of days. This is usually nothing serious, but you should see your doctor if your ankles and feet stay swollen for several days after drinking. It could be the result of a problem with your heart, liver, or kidneys.

1.     Temporary Swelling

Your kidneys will find it difficult to filter toxins when you increase your intake of alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic because it triggers the release of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) and results in rapid loss of water. Frequent urination is a common issue associated with excessive drinking. Your kidneys tend to retain water once your blood alcohol concentration becomes normal again, and this can lead to edema. Moreover, alcohol changes the way your kidneys handle electrolytes such as potassium and sodium, which leads to an increase in your total body water and results in swollen feet. Alcohol may cause swelling but it usually goes away in a day or two.

2.     Hepatitis and Cirrhosis

Chronic, heavy drinking of any form of alcohol can lead to liver problems and cause swelling your hands and feet. It may result in a condition called alcoholic hepatitis in which your liver becomes inflamed and enlarged. This greatly affects the function of your liver and you end up dealing with fluid retention. Heavy drinking also increases your risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver in which your liver is scarred and fails to function properly. This may also lead to persistent swelling of your face, hands, and feet.

3.     Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy

Excessive alcohol drinking can have a negative effect on your heart as well. It can lead to weakening and stretching of the muscle and cause a condition called alcoholic cardiomyopathy to develop. In this condition, your heart becomes too weak to pump blood effectively. Advanced stages of alcoholic cardiomyopathy may cause heart failure. Even in earlier stages, fluid from your bloodstream may leak into your body tissues and leave you with swollen ankles and feet.

4.     Alcohol Allergy

If you end up having swollen feet and face soon after drinking alcohol, it could be because you are allergic to alcohol. Actually, you are not allergic to alcohol but your body has trouble metabolizing the yeast used to make specific type of beer. Moreover, alcohol may dilate your blood vessels, which may also affect the arteries in your legs and cause swelling.

What to Do?

Be sure to talk to your doctor if you experience persistent swollen feet. Alcohol is a problem, but drinking is not always the reason behind swelling. Even if it is due to drinking, you may want to work with your doctor to determine how much alcohol you can drink without having to worry about its side effects.

Best Tips to Avoid Drinking

If you know your drinking is going out of hand and causing problems like swollen feet and ankles, here are a few tips to help control your drinking.

1.     Stay Away from Temptations

In other words, you need to avoid high-risk situations as much as possible. Do not keep alcohol at home and ask your family members to avoid drinking in your presence. You should also avoid social situations where you might get a chance to drink alcohol. Do not stop by bars and engage in healthy, positive activities with friends to keep your attention diverted.

2.     Join Communities and Support Networks

It is extremely important to be around people who have quit drinking or know how to encourage you to avoid drinking completely. Building a support network is important because it gives your self-esteem and confidence a quick boost. Understand that you cannot stay sober without the support of your friends and other people. Be sure to join support groups and be an active member in online communities to maintain sobriety.

3.     Exercise Regularly

Joining a gym or exercising regularly can help keep you from resorting to a self-destructive behavior such as drinking. However, it is important to start out slowly and do not push your body too hard too early. You can always start with a short walk and then increase the distance or duration over time. Then, you can try a combination of cardio exercise and strength training to get better results.

4.     Find Healthy Activities

You need to keep yourself busy when trying to throw alcohol out of your life. You need to rediscover hobbies and activities that you may have enjoyed before becoming an alcoholic. This will keep you busy and alleviate boredom. Just experiment with different hobbies like arts and crafts, antiquing, reading, cooking, playing team sports, and even going to movies to find what you enjoy the most.

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