TL;DR: I've always thought you were supposed to drink a lot of water for health and weight loss; but if you have heart disease, they say to restrict water intake. I'm having a hard time reconciling that!
I've been struggling with nutrition and weight loss my whole life (it feels like) and I have absolutely ingrained in myself the notion that you have to drink a lot of water. Drink water to flush out toxins, drink water to stop retaining it, etc. Because I never had a problem with water intake, I never really paid attention to salt intake either.
Last night, for the first time in my life, I experienced swelling my lower legs and ankles and it frightened me. I've been sick the past week or so, so I've been eating some comfort food (which, for me, is chinese takeout). Also, yesterday right before the swelling, I had Chipotle with chips. Very high salt content in all of these foods.
My legs were so swollen and tight, I felt alarmed. Also, because I've been sick, I'm coughing a lot with (sorry) phlegm, and when I have a really bad coughing spasm I get lightheaded and feel faint. Finally, yesterday I was feeling so fatigued I could hardly keep awake during work. I explained it by thinking that the past week or so, I haven't been getting very good or solid sleep.
Ok, my first reaction was to check WebMD for "Legs swollen" and of course, one of the first things that popped up was "Congestive Heart Failure". Oh great. But then, it also states the top symptoms of CHF as Coughing, Fatigue, Light-headedness, and Legs/Ankle swelling. It scared the living crap out of me, and I instantly had a panic attack. My heart started pounding, I felt short of breath (another CHF symptom), and I was sure I was having a heart attack.
I had a very bad night last night, where I alternated between "This is a panic attack, and you just have to take better care of yourself." and "This is CHF, and you are now paying for all your years of neglect and poor self-care."
Anyway, the swelling has gone down this morning but when I reflected on just HOW much sodium I had consumed in the past week, I felt like it was a good idea to drink tons of water today and flush it all out. But all the reading online says you SHOULDN'T drink tons of water IF it really is the beginnings of heart disease.
Does anyone have experience in this? I looked at past forum posts and couldn't see anything similar to this topic.
Oh, important fact, I was just at my doctor for a general check up last week and my blood pressure was normal, but I am on a low dose of bp medication for past stints with hbp. He thought I should just stay on it for now. Blood tests came back normal except for slightly high triglycerides, so he recommended a moderation of diet (which I promptly ignored). But other than that, he thought my lungs sounded clear so he didn't give me anything for my cough, and that was it.
Should I drink a ton of water today? Or should I restrict water intake? If I DO drink water and find myself swelling up again, does that mean I should see my doctor again for this?
Thank you for any input.