Do you feel that the belt is tighter than normal and you have a few extra pounds? Don't worry, you may not be fat, but rather you may have fluid retention.
The good side is that it is much easier to eliminate stored water than body fat.
Therefore, in this post we will show you the causes that cause it so that this condition never stops you from losing weight.
Edema or fluid retention
Water is vital for human beings, in fact, the body is made up of approximately 60% of it for its proper functioning and it is, in large part, responsible for dissolving nutrients and eliminating waste.
Let's start by knowing what fluid retention is. Also called edema or water retention, it is excess fluid that accumulates in the tissues of your body.
It is usually characterized by swelling of the feet and lower legs, but swelling may also occur in the arms, hands, face, or other areas of the body.
It is usually temporary and can be easily treated; However, it could be caused by a wide range of conditions and diseases .
If you experience fluid retention that lasts more than a week, it is important to consult with your doctor to determine its cause and rule out any health problems.
Types of fluid retention
There are extensive types of fluid retention:
- Generalized edema : characterized by swelling throughout the body.
- Localized edema : affects certain parts of the body. This condition is most common in the legs and feet, although it can also affect areas of the face, hands, and arms.
- Lymphedema ( specific type of localized edema ): Fluid builds up in a leg or arm due to a blockage in the lymphatic system (the body's second circulatory system).
This latter condition can be inherited or result from injury to the lymphatic vessels.
Signs to know if you are retaining fluid
How do I recognize it? It is usually first noticed by swelling of the extremities.
The physical signs are the most obvious, since they are easier to perceive:
- Swelling of the ankles.
- Unexplained weight gain over a short period of time.
Knowing that it is fluid retention, it may be accompanied by other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Morning stiffness.
- The headaches.
- Water retention can also be confused with PMS or worsen existing PMS.
It may be accompanied by other symptoms that affect the cardiovascular system:
- Pain or pressure in the chest.
- Inability to walk long distances.
- Difficulty breathing.
Sometimes it is accompanied by symptoms related to other body systems:
- Decreased body hair, especially in areas of swelling.
- Discomfort or pain in the part affected by the swelling.
- Reduced ability to move the damaged area.
- Changes in the skin in the swollen sector, including thickening and loss of elasticity.
Believe it or not, it is possible to retain up to 5 pounds of weight in water .
Overweight people tend to retain more fluid because they consume more calories and tend to ingest greater amounts of sodium from a high-salt diet.
An easy way to tell if you are retaining fluid is to gently press on the foot, ankle, calf, or area of swelling, using slow, steady pressure with your thumb. If there is edema, an indentation will show in the skin.
However, professional evaluation is still necessary and important to determine the cause.
What causes fluid retention?
Edema can be caused by several common conditions including:
- Too much fluid in your body tissues.
- A bad reaction to certain types of foods.
- Protein deficiency.
- Anemia or a high intake requirement for vitamins and supplements.
- A medical condition that involves organs such as the liver, heart, or kidneys.
- Standing for long periods of time causes fluids to accumulate in the legs, which increases water retention.
- Hot weather can also lead to fluid retention because the body is less efficient at removing fluid from the body.
- Certain medications can cause water retention, especially high blood pressure medications and steroids.
- Excess salt in your diet.
- Heart failure.
- Kidney diseases (kidney stones, kidney failure and abnormalities).
- Liver diseases (hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver failure).
- Lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes due to inflammation or tumor).
- Parasitic infection such as lymphatic filariasis .
- The pregnancy.
- Recent surgery.
- Sitting or standing in the same position for a long period of time.
When an area of the body is not functioning properly, the body tends to retain fluid in that area specifically, becoming unable to properly eliminate it when certain medical conditions occur.
There is a higher risk of fluid retention in women due to different hormonal levels:
- Menopausal and premenstrual edema is caused by the effect of hormones on fluid balance.
- Hormonal changes for women before the menstrual period also cause retention and can lead to symptoms such as breast tenderness.
Complications in fluid retention
Complications of edema vary widely depending on the severity and cause.
Once the cause is diagnosed, it is important to follow the treatment plan that the health professional designed, specifically to reduce the risk of complications, which could be:
- Heart failure.
- Infection in and around the area of edema.
- Loss of mobility.
- Organ failure or dysfunction.
- Progressive physical disability.
- Respiratory insufficiency.
- Skin ulcers.
- Spread of cancer.
Questions to diagnose the cause of fluid retention
These will be some of the questions your doctor will ask you to diagnose the cause of why you are retaining fluid:
- When did you first notice fluid retention?
- Where have you noticed it?
- Do you have any difficulties with physical activity?
- Do you have problems sleeping?
- Do you have other symptoms?
- Is there anything that improves or worsens your fluid retention?
- What is your typical diet?
- What medications are you taking?
Some tips to help you reduce fluid retention in your body
- Increase potassium intake. It is recommended to eat foods high in potassium instead of taking potassium supplements.
- They consume vitamin B6 or pyridoxine.
- Eliminate junk food and processed foods.
- Reduce your consumption of foods high in sodium, because too much sodium in your blood can affect your tissues and cause you to retain fluid.
- Some doctors recommend drinking herbal teas as they help drain water.
- Wearing compression stockings that apply high pressure to your ankles may also be effective for you.
- Drink 8 to 12 glasses of fluids. Water alone doesn't help combat retention, but it goes a long way toward reducing it. As contradictory as it may seem, it does work.
- Eat more citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables.
- Avoid eating a lot of meat and alternating it with sardines or tuna.
- Include whole grain carbohydrates in your daily diet.
- Eat small meals at regular intervals.
- Move regularly (biking and walking can also help pump any water or other fluid out of your ankles and legs).
- If you work sitting at a desk, it is important to take breaks to walk and stretch your joints.
We may sound pushy, but your safety is paramount. Before following any advice to reduce fluid retention, be sure to consult with your doctor.
The final recommendation is that you eat a good diet and move as much as you can. Not only will you prevent fluid from being retained in your body, but you will also lose weight.