Edema that causes swelling in the arms and legs, has often been attributed to excess salt intake. The following HealthHearty article elaborates more on factors that can lead to edema.
Swelling of ankles and hands is pointing towards buildup of fluid in the peripheral areas of the body. This condition known as edema can occur due to a wide range of reasons, some of which are discussed below:
High Salt Diet
People who have the habit of eating food by adding too much salt, eventually experience edema that is often noticed in the hands and the feet. This is because, excess salt intake cannot be tolerated by the body. Besides causing high blood pressure, the body’s ability to hold fluids increases dramatically. This causes fluid to buildup, usually in the legs and the hands.
Water retention during pregnancy is very common and can cause mild to moderate discomfort. The vein that runs from the lower legs to the heart is subjected to undue pressure due to the developing baby in the womb. As a result, the normal circulation of blood from this vein is slightly disrupted. Blood start getting accumulated and the fluid from the blood eventually leaks in the tissues of the ankles and hands.
Hypothyroidism is a thyroid problem in which the thyroid gland found in the neck region, produces hormones in insufficient amounts. The thyroid hormone does the job of regulating metabolism. So, the metabolic rate goes haywire when there is too less production of the thyroid hormone. Thus, abnormal metabolic rate can cause a wide range of health issues including dry skin and hair, hair loss, constipation, and swollen hands and feet.
The onset of kidney diseases may not show any symptoms but as they progress to the advanced stage, health issues start bothering the patient. Poor appetite, itchy skin accompanied by muscle cramps and swollen ankles for a long duration could mean kidney problems.
Diseases such as liver cirrhosis, often cause fluid buildup in the abdominal area and the ankles. The liver does an important function of producing albumin, a protein that helps to keep the blood and its constituents (fluids) together. However, a damaged liver loses its capacity to manufacture albumin in sufficient amounts. Low albumin levels cause fluid in the blood to leak, which eventually get accumulated in the abdomen, hands and the ankles.
When the right side of the heart is unable to work properly, it can cause edema. The heart is mainly involved in supplying fresh oxygenated blood to different organs of the body such as the kidneys and the lungs. However, with the onset of heart diseases, the amount of oxygenated blood reaching different organs is less than normal. In such a condition, the kidneys compel the body to retain fluids. As a result, fluids accumulate in different body parts such as the ankles, feet and the hands.
Intake of large amount of water at one time can also cause swollen ankles and hands, which in most cases is temporary as the body soon gets rid of extra water through urine. On the whole, if edema does not go away, it is necessary to consult a doctor to identify the underlying medical problem and accordingly take the treatment.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.