You know how when you eat a salty meal, you tend to feel quite thirsty afterward? That happens because your kidneys want to balance your body’s sodium and fluid levels. However, if your kidneys aren’t functioning properly, that balance can be thrown off and your body will retain more fluids than necessary. As a result, you might feel bloated, rapidly gain weight, or notice a tightness in your chest or shortness of breath.
Fluid overload, medically known as hypervolemia, occurs when your kidneys are unable to regulate the amount of fluids in your body. It’s a common symptom of chronic kidney disease (CKD), and understanding why fluid overload happens is vital for protecting and preserving your kidney health. Here, we’ll take a look at the symptoms of fluid overload, who it’s most likely to impact, and what you can do to manage it.
What are the Symptoms of Fluid Overload?
Swelling in your legs, arms, and face is one of the most recognizable symptoms of fluid overload. Other common symptoms include:
Who is Susceptible to Fluid Overload?
Anybody can have mild fluid overload, such as after eating a meal that’s high in sodium. However, underlying health conditions such as chronic kidney disease can make fluid overload more intense and dangerous. Hypervolemia or fluid overload is more common among:
People with chronic kidney disease: Your kidneys regulate the balance of minerals and fluids in your body. However, if you have reduced kidney function or live with CKD, your body might not remove excess fluids.
People with congestive heart failure: If you have heart failure, your body might struggle to circulate enough blood to the kidneys. As a result, your kidneys may struggle to function and properly balance minerals and fluids in your body.
People Experiencing Hormonal Changes: Estrogen and progesterone play an important role in regulating fluid levels. If you’re pregnant or experiencing premenstrual syndrome, you might notice an increase in fluid levels. However, excess fluid retention can indicate a more serious health complication, so if you notice an abnormal increase in fluid retention or bloating during pregnancy or a menstrual cycle, contact your physician or nephrologist immediately.
If you don’t know that you have CKD or congestive heart failure, fluid overload could signify a health problem that needs attention from a medical professional. Contact your physician or nephrologist immediately if you notice fluid overload symptoms.
Strategies for Managing Fluid Overload
Strategies for managing fluid overload will vary by patient and depending on the cause of the fluid imbalance. If you are living with chronic kidney disease, your nephrologist and physician may give you dietary guidelines for managing fluid overload.
Common strategies your nephrologist might recommend include:
If you have chronic kidney disease and it is progressing toward stage four, you may need to begin dialysis, which helps remove excess fluids from the body. Consult with your nephrologist to determine what the best fluid management strategy is for you.
Related read: What’s the Difference Between Peritoneal Dialysis and Hemodialysis?
Need Answers? Turn to Milwaukee Nephrologists
If you’re experiencing fluid overload, finding answers is the first step toward getting your comfort back. Milwaukee Nephrologists is Southeastern Wisconsin’s go-to resource for all-things kidney. Whether you’re concerned about your fluid levels, have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, or just want a second opinion, our team of experienced nephrologists is here to help.
To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact Milwaukee Nephrologists today.
This post is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. You should not base any action or inaction on the information conveyed in this post. Consult with your physician for more information.