Almost seventy percent of the human body is made up of water. Water retention also known as fluid retention refers to the excessive amounts of water held back by the body in its cavities, circulatory system and the body tissues. Water retention leads to swelling of the body parts and is known as edema.
Water retention is not a life threatening disease, but is an indication of an underlying health condition. Severe anemia, improper functioning of the body organs, or excessive salt intake can all cause edema. Abdominal bloating, puffy hands, face, ankles and wrists are the common signs of edema. Let us examine some of the factors which causes edema.
Excessive intake of salt or sugar can lead to edema. Water is retained when there is an excessive amount of salt in the body. Similarly high body insulin levels, caused by eating foods which are high in sugar can also lead to water retention. When the insulin levels of the body are high, sodium is held back. This only compounds the problem of edema.
PMS or premenstrual syndrome can lead to water retention. Hormonal fluctuations and dietary cravings can lead to an increase in the fluids retained by the body.
Individuals suffering from kidney disease also exhibit signs of severe bloating caused by excessive fluid retention. When the normal functioning of the kidneys are hampered, by kidney disease or infection, sodium and water are not excreted from the body properly. This in turn can lead to elevated blood pressure levels which in turn can cause fluids to be retained in certain parts of the body like the face and the legs.
During pregnancy, the fluid retention is very high because of hormonal changes. Most pregnant women suffer from edema of the feet and the hands.
Certain types of medication can also cause edema. Medications taken for lowering blood pressure and non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs can all lead to excessive retention of fluids by the body.
People who are deficient in vitamins like B1 and B6 and those suffer from hypoproteinemia (or low blood protein levels) also suffer from edema.
Liver disease, sunburn, heart failure, diabetes, metabolic disorders and burns can all cause excessive water retention.