Edema: Lymphedema or otherwise more commonly known as fluid retention, is a condition whereby the body accumulates excess fluids.
The causative factor to this condition can be underlying health problems that can lead to heart failure. It is imperative that the sooner you begin to implement the changes in your diet and lifestyle as outlined below, to improve this problem, you will reduce your risk of further complications that may lead to heart failure.
In this article I share with you risk factors and causes, together with some important changes that you can implement into your daily life. that will not only reduce your edema, but also improve your health and any associated risks. You will find that due to your Edema that you may well be suffering with increased stiffness of your joints, elevated blood pressure and increased weight. The advice suggested for you to follow in this article will provide benefit in these areas as well.
Risk Factors and Causes of Edema: Lymphedema
There are a number of Health Conditions that contribute to the cause of edema and lymphedema. Taking a look at some of these factors involved and underlying causes.
Peripheral edema develops in your arms and legs, also edema can form in the lungs and abdomen. This is known as “non-pitting” edema because if you pressed on the swollen area with your finger, it wouldn’t leave a pit, or indentation. Some causes of edema that develop in places other than the arms and legs include:
Lymphedema: Lymphedema means there is damage to the lymphatic system and the body can’t drain fluids properly. This may cause a non-pitting edema in the arms or legs. A disturbance to the lymphatic system may occur after procedures like lymph node surgery, a mastectomy and radiation therapy. Obesity or venous insufficiency may also cause it.
Liver diseases: Liver disease can cause ascites. This means edema in the abdomen. Ascites happens because conditions of the liver, like cirrhosis, cause protein levels to become too low and create congestion in the liver. This causes pressure in the blood vessels and allows fluids to seep out into the abdomen.
- Medication – certain medications have a detrimental effect on the kidneys and liver. Therefore having a negative effect on the body eliminating excess fluid.
- Water retention: When the body holds on to or stores water and it builds up in the tissues, this causes temporary swelling in the hands, ankles, feet and face. This can happen when you consume too much sodium. The sodium holds on to water and keeps it in the body. Water retention is also caused by sitting or standing in one position for too long and hormone changes during a women’s monthly period or pregnancy. When a woman is pregnant, her uterus puts pressure on the major blood vessel that are responsible for returning blood to the heart from the legs. This pressure can allow fluids to get into her tissues, causing swelling in the legs, ankles and feet.
- Inflammation: Inflammation in your tissues may cause swelling in your legs. Inflammation can be a response to allergies, trauma (for example: a broken bone or sprained ankle), an infection or wound in the leg such as arthritis, gout or cellulitis.
- Low levels of protein in the blood: Fluid leaks out of your blood vessels more easily when there is not enough of the protein called albumin (protein that is made by the liver) in your blood. Poor nutrition leads to health conditions that affect how much protein the body produces. For example: liver and kidney diseases can cause low protein levels in your blood.
- Circulation problems: If there are problems with your veins, such as varicose veins and they are not able to transport a sufficient flow of blood to your feet and back to your heart, this is known as venous insufficiency where your ankles and feet become swollen. Blood accumulates in your legs, forcing fluid out of your blood vessels and into the surrounding tissue. This is the most common cause of leg swelling among people over 50 years old, especially in women. Edema can also be a sign of thrombosis. Thrombosis develops as a result of slow-flowing blood causing a blood clot. Peripheral edema can also be caused by varicose veins.
- Kidney Disease: When the kidneys are not able to remove enough sodium and water from the body, this creates pressure on your blood vessels and can lead to edema.
- Congestive heart failure: When the heart becomes too weak to pump blood around the body, it will accumulate in front of the heart, this will apply pressure on your veins. Causing fluid to seep out into the surrounding tissue. This leaking fluid leads to swelling in the legs or in the abdomen.
- Lung conditions: If pressure in the lungs and heart becomes too high, that can happen when your body is reacting to certain medical conditions, this can cause the legs and feet to swell. As a result of serious lung conditions like emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis this can happen. It can occur if you have congestive heart failure and your heart is not strong enough to pump the blood that’s returning from your lungs. As the heart, lung, kidneys and brain all work together to regulate fluid levels in the body, when one organ is forced to work harder as a result of a medical condition, hormones are often released to either retain or provide more fluids. Fluid build-up in the lungs is called pulmonary edema. This means water collects in the air sacs of the lungs. Pulmonary edema can make it very difficult to breathe.
- Lack of physical activity – prevents the flow of lymph: lymph transports the toxic substances out of your body. Decreasing agility and muscle tone.
- Excess salt – Eating a diet consisting mostly of processed, pre-packaged or fast foods. This also includes cakes, biscuits, breads and pastries. Excess salt is also a causative factor to Hypertension, High Blood Pressure.
- Nutrition – vitamin deficiency occurs when a diet is void of fresh whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts and legumes. If there is a vitamin deficiency then the body has great difficulty in performing it’s every day functions to keep you well and healthy.
- Environmental Factors – Are known to accelerate the problem of edema. However it is vitally important that the underlying health factors are addressed.
- Underlying Health Problems that may be a Factor – These could be some of the underlying health problems contributing to your edema -Thyroid problems, poor circulation, liver damage, cardiovascular, heart problems, hypertension, dehydration and kidney problems.
Health Benefits of Reducing Oedema/Fluid Retention will support Healthy Kidneys, Liver and Heart
11 Ways you can Reduce Edema & Improve your Health
- Parsley – This is one of the well-known remedies when it comes to fluid retention. But how do I get it into my daily routine. A cup of parsley either in your lunchtime salad or your green smoothie. Otherwise you can use dried parsley to make a tea – 2 teaspoons of dried parsley, 2 slices of lemon in a cup of boiling water. Allow to steep for 10 mins. Three cups a day will definitely help.
- Apple cider vinegar – is beneficial to help regulate sodium levels within your body. As I have mentioned sodium/salt actually is one of the causes of edema/fluid or water retention. Add a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water. Drink 2 x a day. Adding a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your bath or foot spa will actually help to prevent not-so-good body odour.
- Cranberry juice – Known for its health benefits to the kidneys and treatment of urinary tract infections. Cranberries help by stimulating the urinary tract. They also have an abundance of calcium, potassium and magnesium. Essential nutrients for healthy heart function and muscles. Drink a cup of unsweetened cranberry juice once a day.
- Dandelion – is a wonderful herb that has been used for years to support healthy liver function, heart and circulation. It is rich in potassium meaning that it is beneficial in regulating sodium levels. Also rich in magnesium, dandelion once again benefits healthy heart and muscle function whilst reducing PMS bloating. Dandelion is available in health shops as a tea. Drinking one – two cups a day will definitely help not only reducing your edema but your heart and circulation as well.
- Onion – Onions are well known for their ability to cleanse the blood. Onions are also excellent to support healthy urine secretion and preventing the formation of kidney stones. Onions are easy to add to your daily diet either in a salad, soup or cooking your favourite meal. Always to remember eating raw onion has great health benefits.
- Fennel seeds – are number one when it comes to supporting healthy digestion, they have a powerful antioxidant and diuretic benefits. Add a tablespoon of these wonderful seeds to your meal at night, your smoothie, on your sandwich, in your salad.
- Epsom Salt & Essential Oil Baths – Add a cup of Epsom salts to your bath and three – five of drops of either geranium, cypress or juniper oils. Enjoy this bath ritual three times per week. Not only will you find it relaxing, your skin will improve, it will detoxify you, help reduce abdominal bloating and of course fluid retention. It will also help to reduce pain from inflamed joints and muscles.
- Herbal Teas such as – Stinging Nettle Root – This is available once again as a tea in the health shops, is a natural diuretic. Early I was mentioning the flow of lymph this is the removal system for toxins and chemicals. Stinging nettle also improves the flow of lymph, the added benefit to this, is that it improves your immune function. Also supports healthy kidney and allergies.
- Lemon juice – You have heard the saying – “An apple a day keeps the Doctor away”. It is also well known that a lemon a day can also keep the Doctor away. One lemon squeezed in a glass of hot water, first thing in the morning will help with the elimination of excess fluids and toxic substances. If you are new with starting the lemon drink, then you may wish to add a teaspoon of Organic Honey. Enjoy this every morning. High in vitamin C and bioflavonoids necessary for healthy digestion.
- Foods to Help: Celery, cucumbers, cabbage, watermelon, bananas, pineapples, apples, pears and watercress.
- Filtered Water – Yes I know don’t forget your water. Dehydration not only will make your edema worse, it is also responsible for many other health complaints. As water is your transport system for nutrients to your blood stream, to nourish every organ and function within your body.