Some people indulge in excessive salt for taste, unaware of the harmful consequences. An excessive amount of salt in the diet causes the body to retain more sodium, raising the overall fluid content due to which the body begins storing fluid while excreting more sodium through the urine. This leads to water retention.
Water retention, also known as edema or fluid retention, refers to the buildup of fluid in bodily cavities and tissues. Water retention occurs when the fluid in the tissues is not expelled, leading to the swelling up of certain body parts, especially the ankles and feet. Blood frequently leaks fluid into bodily tissues. Oedema can be of two types: generalised edema and localised edema.
When swelling spreads throughout the body, it is known as “generalised edema,” while when only a small portion of the body is affected, it is called “localised edema.”
The major causal factors are salt consumption, standing for long periods of time, and adverse drug reactions. Water retention is commonly caused by a variety of factors, including gravity, hot weather, burns, prolonged cycles, pregnancy, oral contraceptives, diet, dietary deficiency, medications, and chronic venous insufficiency.
Fluid retention results in pain, discomfort, and difficulty in walking and can indicate another medical conditions such as kidney disease, heart failure, liver disease, malignant lymphoedema, thyroid disease, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases. It can lead to swelling in body cavities, edema of the legs, chronic lung diseases, and upper airway attacks. Hence, it must be treated immediately.
Treatment options for fluid retention include a low-salt diet, diuretics (water pills), lifestyle adjustments, such as abstaining from alcohol, changes to medicine or dosage, dietary changes, and continuous medical monitoring.
Self-care options for fluid retention involve reducing salt intake, avoiding salt-based foods, and eating fresh fruit and low-fat dairy products. Vitamin B6 may be helpful for moderate fluid retention, and the body can expel extra fluids with the aid of vitamin B5, calcium, and vitamin D.