Tag Archives: swelling

5 Causes of Fluid Retention

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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5 Foods With Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Many chronic conditions such as arthritis are the product of recurrent systemic inflammation. While it is important to stick to any treatment plan recommended by your doctor, making certain diet changes can help cut down on swelling and pain as well. Some foods that contain natural anti-inflammatory components include:

  1. Tart Cherries

Hundreds of years before mainstream medication hit the counters people were using cherries to combat inflammatory afflictions like arthritis (particularly gout). Is there merit to this tasty traditional remedy? Empirical studies are proving there is. In one Boston study of 633 gout sufferers, a group who ate 10 daily cherries saw a 50% lower risk of gout attacks over a two-day period than their non-cherry contemporaries. Another study on cherry juice for osteoarthritis sufferers found that patients who drank 16oz of tart cherry juice daily showed a significant decrease in such symptoms as pain, swelling and stiffness. Moreover, they showed lowered levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammation marker commonly associated with arthritis. So the proof is in the (cherry) pudding!

  1. Holy Basil

Holy basil, also known as Sweet Thai basil is a subtype of the common household spice that comes from India. Holy basil has a myriad of impressive medicinal benefits, including anti-inflammatory, stress reducing, and even more impressively, antihistamine properties. One experiment with Wistar rats associated the ingestion of Holy basil with mast cell stabilization, lower IgE levels and inhibited release of inflammatory markers in the rats. It may not be an appetizing juxtaposition: spices and rats, but the study does illustrate how impressive Holy basil is as an anti-inflammatory food choice! So it certainly couldn’t hurt to start adding holy basil to your spice rotation. For information on other superstar spices check out our article on healthful spices.

  1. Salmon

Oily fish such as salmon are among the best foods to eat, especially if you have a chronic inflammatory condition as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, one of nature’s best anti-inflammatories. The benefits don’t end with your joints, one 2009 University of Hawaii study showed a 23% decline in cardiovascular disease in a group of men who ate boiled or baked fatty fish several times a week as compared to those who did not. Health professionals recommend eating at least 4oz twice weekly of oily fish such as salmon or mackerel to reap some of these healthful benefits.

  1. Olive Oil

Medical researchers have discovered that a compound in olive oil called Oleocanthal can inhibit the formation of the inflammatory enzymes COX-1 and COX-2 in the body. Olive oil mimics exactly what NSAIDS like Advil do to reduce pain and swelling by blocking these detrimental inflammatory enzymes. It is suspected to have a noticeable impact on both acute flare-ups and chronic arthritic inflammation when taken daily.

  1. Cilantro

Cilantro is a health powerhouse herb which has long been used for its anti-inflammatory effects on such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory stomach conditions and even cardiovascular disease. Cilantro has also been celebrated for its diabetes, cancer and cholesterol fighting components. Cilantro is also packed to the gills with phytonutrients and anti-oxidant flavonoids, so stock up your spice cabinet with this stuff today!

More Anti-Inflammatory Choices

Other anti-inflammatory foods include beets, fruits (especially berries for their abundance of anti-oxidants), broccoli, celery and garlic. Stay tuned for our future article on inflammatory foods to avoid if you have issues with swelling.

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