Water retention is a common health problem that greatly affects the day to day activities of the sufferers. Water retention – medically referred to as edema – is the accumulation of excess fluid that leaks into the body tissues. The leakage will lead to swelling in all over the body (generalized swelling) or more localized swelling, such as swelling in legs, feet and ankles or fluid retention in abdominal, the face, hands, arms, and around the lungs.
Although there are many different conditions and diseases associated with the term water retention or edema, there are several more prominent causes of water retention. And here is some of them:
Arthritis, which means “joint inflammation”, is described as an inflammation of one or more joints that involves the mechanical failure of cartilage resulting in joint pain, swelling, and limited movement. It can affect any joints in the body from hip, heel, spine, shoulder, knee to the big toe.
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis but the three most common types are: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Different types of arthritis show different symptoms. Common symptoms of arthritis include: persistent joint pain, fever, tenderness, joint swelling, stiffness, redness, joint malformation, inflexibility of joint and unexplained weight loss.
2. Kidney disorders
Certain form of kidney disorders such as kidney failure and glomerular disease will lead to swelling throughout the body as well as localized swelling in the abdominal, ankle, feet and leg swelling. This occurs because the kidneys have lost its normal functions including to efficiently removing salt and water out of the body. This will in turn cause the body to retain fluid and over time, get accumulated in the body tissues.
3. Chronic lung disease
Chronic lung disease is a general term of persistent lung disorders that damage the function of the lungs. Severe chronic lung disease will cause water retention in the body include fluid retention in lungs (pulmonary edema), ascites, neck, face, ankle and feet swelling. Chronic lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), smoke inhalation injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), lung cancer, mesothelioma, etc. may lead to pulmonary edema, abdominal edema / ascites, fluid retention in the neck and face, swelling in the ankles and feet.
4. Cirrhosis of the liver
Cirrhosis of the liver usually causes abdominal fluid retention. It also causes low protein albumin synthesis by the liver and results in legs and abdominal fluid retention.
5. Congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy disease and heart valve disease
Congestive heart failure obstructs the normal circulation of the blood and often leads to water retention. Two most common causes of water retention in congestive heart failure patient are: (1) the blood flow to the heart backups and leaks into the lung and vein; (2) the kidney retain fluid due to the insufficient amount of blood flow. Both cardiomyopathy and heart valve disease are a variety of heart disease and lead to heart failure.
6. Excess sodium intake
In people who are more sensitive to sodium, excess sodium intake will raise the blood pressure and lead to water retention especially in the lower extremities such as swelling in the ankles and feet.
Standing or sitting too long in one position because of occupation necessity or after long trips may cause fluid retention in legs. This is usually worsened in high temperatures.
In some cases, the developing uterus in pregnant women may press the vena cava leading to fluid retention in the legs. Hormone imbalances and increased amount of blood flow also responsible for water retention during pregnancy. The most affected areas of swelling during pregnancy are in the lower extremities especially the ankles and feet.
9. Side effects of certain medication
Certain medication such as anabolic steroid, calcium channel blockers, levitra, methadone, etc. may affect the normal functions of the body and lead to swelling particularly in the legs, feet and ankles.
10. Venous Insufficiency
Venous insufficiency is a disturbance of the blood flow in the leg veins because of the damage of the veins itself or the valves causing the fluid to backup and leak into the surrounding tissues. This disorder is one of the most common causes of water retention in legs.
Look over the list of water retention causes and decide if you are indeed experiencing one or more. Remember, many diseases take years to appear after the symptom does. Thus, you should speak to your doctor if you have any questions regarding water retention in any parts of your body. Your doctor is the one who can tell you just what exactly the cause of your swelling and what treatment options will work best for you.