Edema… that’s the medical term for body water retention. This is a condition wherein the blood loses it water content and spills into the body tissues. Actually, this is a common body function and usually, the lymphatic system drains the water back into the bloodstream. But there are times when the fluid is retained because the lymphatic system is not working as it should be. This is when body water retention happens.
There are two types of body water retention or EDEMA – generalized edema and localized edema. The former means that the whole body is retaining fluid while the latter means that there are specific parts wherein fluid retention exists. The body parts that are usually retaining fluids are legs and feet.
There are times when even healthy people experience body water retention. But it goes away almost instantly and it’s not a major health problem. Weight fluctuates regularly and it’s no more than five pounds of water within the body that causes such increase in weight for healthy and active people. The problem lies with overweight or obese people because their water weight can go as high as ten pounds. It usually relates to an underlying illness or disorder.
This is the million-dollar question. Is water weight a cause or symptom of a major health problem like hypertension? Well, in all honesty, body water retention can cause hypertension. When the body has too much fluid in its tissues and the lymphatic system can’t expel it, then, that is a problem. The blood pressure rises because of the fluid attempting to get out of the blood vessels that can’t seem to get released. This is why managing fluid levels is a solution to this very serious health condition.
There are a lot of factors involved in concerning edema, but the most common cause is too much salt consumption. It could also be attributed to weather change from cold to hot, vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the body, sunburn or regular burn and side effects of prescription drugs. Oral pills, menses and menopause can also bring about water retention.
You know your body better than anyone else. If your feet, legs or arms are swollen – and not the normal swelling that you usually experience, then, you may have edema. You must go to your physician immediately and ask to be diagnosed for sure, if you really have this condition. With that, you will be subjected to various tests like physical examination by a specialist and you will also be interviewed regarding your medical history.
Also, there will be blood tests done, urine exams, liver and kidney function tests, as well as, chest x-ray and ECG. You’re right; that’s a lot of tests to endure and this satisfies the question – is water retention a serious health problem? By now you’ll understand the answer to that is a big YES. When your kidney or liver is not functioning as expected, it can cause water retention, among other things. And this is a big health issue. Be vigilant and visit your doctor right away.