Thursday, 7 August 2014

Fluid Retention

Certain disease conditions which cause swelling with particular signs and symptoms need attention and diagnosis.
Edema can be classified in two types i.e. pitting and non-pitting edema. In pitting edema when pressure is applied to the swollen area it results in indentation. In non pitting edema there is no indentation.
The capillaries leak fluid into the surrounding tissue resulting in swelling. The leakage of fluid may be due to: too much pressure inside the blood vessels; a force outside the blood vessel draws the fluid outside; blood vessel’s wall lack in maintaining equilibrium.
The leakage of fluid through capillaries occurs in certain conditions such as; liver disease, kidney disease, heart failure, venous insufficiency, pregnancy, burns, hormone replacement therapy, certain medications.
Effect of kidney disease:
Kidneys control the amount of salt in body by excreting it into urine. In diseased condition the function of kidney is impaired and elimination of salt in urine is lowered. It results in accumulation of salt and water in the body causing edema.
Effect of heart disease:
A heart failure result in decreased cardiac output i.e. decreased blood is pumped out by the heart to the body. When kidneys receives less blood supply, so in order to counter the loss of fluid by the body kidneys start retaining salt and water which causes edema.
Despite of the increase in body fluid volume, arteries have less volume of blood. This result in accumulation of fluid in lungs called pulmonary edema. Excess fluid from the lungs blood vessel leaks into the alveoli and interstitial spaces that result in shortness of breath.
Fluid retention in legs also occurs due to leakage of excess fluid from leg’s capillaries into the interstitial spaces.
Effect of liver disease:
Liver cirrhosis results in increase in the pressure in the veins that caries blood from the stomach, spleen and intestine to the liver. It results in fluid leakage and retention.
Albumin is present in the blood that helps in maintaining the blood volume. In cirrhosis the damages lever fails to produce enough albumin that is also one of the major factor in causing fluid retention.
Pitting peripheral edema also occurs because of cirrhosis of liver.
Effect of venous insufficiency:
Backward flow of blood in the veins of legs is prevented by the valves present in the veins. Dysfunction of valves or dilatation of veins occurs in venous insufficiency that results in increase in pressure in veins and backward flow of blood resulting in edema of legs and feet.
Effect of pregnancy:
Mild swelling during pregnancy is a normal physiological process. Growing fetus exerts pressure on the pelvic veins and vena cava; hence return of blood to heart slows down resulting in its pooling and fluid is forced into the tissues of ankle and feet. After child birth swelling disappears.
But if there is swelling in the face or around the eyes or more swelling in one leg as compared to other it needs a serious medical attention. It could be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
Role of homoeopathy:
Treatment aims at eliminating the underlying cause of fluid retention and protecting the swollen areas of body from pressure and injury. Homoeopathy improves the blood flow through veins.
Homoeopathic remedies are safe and have overall effect on health. There is wide range of homoeopathic remedies to treat edema depending on the underlying cause and generalities of the patient. Few of them are: apis, arsenic, ferrum met, natrum mur, puls, digitalis, lachesis, etc.
Apis:
swelling or puffiness of various parts, red rosy hue, stinging pains, soreness, intolerance to heat and slightest touch are characteristic symptoms
Arsenic:
prevailing debility, exhaustion and restlessness with nocturnal aggravation are characteristic symptoms. Patient has unquenchable thirst. Burning pain relieved by heat.
Natrum mur:
prolonged intake of excessive salt causes profound nutritive changes resulting in fluid retention. Patient is very irritable; consolation aggravates the symptoms.
Besides homoeopathic treatment self management is necessary:
• Minimize salt intake in diet.
• Eat lot of fruits and vegetables as it improves blood circulation.
• Banana, cabbage and cranberry juice helps in water clearance.
• Regular exercise strengthens the muscles and blood vessels and improves circulation.
• In case of peripheral edema, try to raise the legs while resting by keeping the pillow below legs.
• Avoid prolonged sitting or standing.