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5 Causes of Fluid Retention

Written by Courteney

Posted on October 10, 2016 at 5:56 am


Fluid retention, medically know as edema, is a type of swelling that occurs when something malfunctions in the body and causes a build up of fluid in the tissues. We’ll be checking out 5 of the most common causes of edema today:

  1. Lymphatic problems – Because the lymphatic system is responsible for draining fluid from the tissues and sending it into the bloodstream, if it backfires or can’t work quickly enough, excess fluid begins accumulating in the body. Lymphatic disorders such as lymphedema can result in massive buildups of fluid in the lower limbs.
  2. Heart conditions – Many heart conditions such as congestive heart failure can cause swelling in the lower limbs, markedly the legs and ankles. This occurs because the heart isn’t strong enough to circulate blood around the entire body, resulting in neglected lower limbs.
  3. Kidney disorder – One of the common signs of kidney disorders such as chronic kidney disease (CKD) is fluid retention in the lower limbs because kidneys that aren’t working properly fail to filter or remove excess fluid.
  4. Allergies – In response to an allergen, your mast cells trigger the release of histamine, a chemical that causes surrounding blood vessels to leak fluid in the area which causes swelling.
  5. Diabetes – If left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to poor circulation which often causes swelling of the legs, ankles and feet. In extreme cases, blood supply may be almost completely cut off to a lower limb, causing nerve damage and dead tissue, leading to terrible sores or amputation.

Other Causes of Edema

Other medical issues can cause swelling as well, such as:

  • An injury (typically causes a different type of swelling)
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Sodium-rich diet
  • Certain medications
  • Thyroid or hormonal issues
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Pregnancy

When to Seek Medical Attention

Swelling is usually cause for concern, as it is often your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Because it can be a symptom of serious underlying health problems like heart or kidney disease, you should consult your doctor (or one of ours!) if you have been experiencing edema so he or she can perform the necessary tests.

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