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Kidney disease can throw your body’s delicate balance of fluids and electrolytes off-kilter, often leading to swelling – known as edema – which may become uncomfortable and hinder daily life. But with help from your physician and some lifestyle changes implemented successfully by yourself and/or your family, kidney disease-caused swelling can be effectively managed! This blog post by Dr Bismah will help you with Managing Swelling Caused by Kidney Disease!

Understanding the Link Between Kidneys and Swelling

Your kidneys play an essential role in filtering waste products and excess fluid out of your blood, keeping it purified for healthy living. When impaired due to kidney disease, fluid can build up in tissues around them causing them to swell – often appearing around ankles, feet and legs, but can also impact faces and hands.

Knowing the Signs of Swelling

Swelling caused by kidney disease can sometimes go undetected, yet here are a few signs you should keep an eye out for: 

  • Puffiness around your eyes in the morning  
  • Swollen ankles, feet, or legs at the end of each day
  • Tight or uncomfortable feeling in the skin 
  • Difficulty fitting your usual shoes.
  • You Experience Sudden Weight Gain Due to Fluid Retention 

If any of these symptoms arise, you must seek a professional diagnosis from Dr Bismah immediately for proper evaluation and management of swelling to increase comfort and overall well-being.

Read more: Which is not the function of the kidneys?

Edema Grading Scale for Assessing Swelling 

Healthcare professionals often utilize an Edema Grading Scale in evaluating the severity of swelling associated with kidney diseases such as dialysis. Specifically, this scale helps doctors understand the level of fluid build-up within your tissues as they make treatment decisions accordingly.

This scale takes into account two key characteristics of oedema: Pit Depth refers to how deep an indentation was created on your skin when pressing for several seconds on it, whilst Rebound time refers to how quickly an indentation recovers after release of pressure, usually on a scale from 0-4 where 4 represents severe swelling. Here is how that scale works out: 

  • Grade 0 = No Edema – No Swelling Present
  • Grade 1 = Mild Edema – A mild indentation (2 millimeters deep), caused by pressure applied, is temporary but immediately vanishes upon release of pressure.
  • Grade 2 = Moderate Edema – With pressure applied, an indentation 3-4″ deep may form, disappearing within 15 seconds upon release of pressure.
  • Grade 3 = Significant Edema – Pressure can produce noticeable deep indentations (5-6mm deep), taking 30-60 seconds for them to disappear after appearing under pressure.
  • Grade 4 = Severe Edema – When pressure is applied, an indentation that measures 8 millimetres deep develops under it that takes over 30 seconds to dissipate; additionally, distortion may also take place within this affected area.

Strategies for Managing Swelling Caused by Kidney Disease

While some of the suggestions can help manage swelling caused by kidney disease, there may be inaccuracies and more effective strategies worth considering.

1. Avoiding Sodium While Maintaining Fluid Balance

  • Sodium Restriction is Key: Sodium found in table salt and processed foods can worsen swelling by creating fluid retention, leading to further swelling and inflammation. Dr. Bismah will tailor an individually low-sodium diet to reduce fluid retention.
  • Focus on Fluid Management: While staying hydrated is crucial, overindulgence in fluid intake may contribute to swelling. Dr Bismah can advise you on an ideal amount to consume depending on your individual needs and kidney function; restricting all fluid consumption altogether could prove counterproductive and cause lasting harm.

2. Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control but Weight Can Change

  • Blood Pressure Control is crucial: High blood pressure puts additional stress on your kidneys and can even contribute to swelling. Dr. Bismah works closely with his patients in managing their blood pressure through medications or lifestyle modifications when necessary.
  • Daily Weight Monitoring May Not Be Necessary: Daily weight fluctuations may not always represent fluid accumulation. Dr. Bismah can advise on an ideal monitoring schedule based on your situation and preferences.

Read more: High blood pressure and kidney disease

3. Manage Potassium and Phosphorus

Elevated levels of potassium and phosphorus may contribute to swelling. Dr. Bismah may suggest dietary adjustments or medication that control these electrolytes to decrease fluid retention and minimize swelling.

4. Engage in Exercise and Compression Stockings

  • Regular Physical Activity Improves Circulation: Engaging in physical activity – even just taking short, gentle walks – regularly can help increase circulation, decrease fluid accumulation in tissues and enhance healing. Compression stockings provide additional support.
  • Compression Stockings Can Provide Relief: Wearing compression stockings designed for edema may help decrease swelling in your legs and ankles by applying gentle pressure that encourages fluid to return toward your heart, encouraging the better circulation of fluid through them back towards you. Dr. Bismah can guide you in selecting suitable compression stockings.

Early identification and management of kidney-related swelling are paramount to quality living, so by working closely with Dr Bismah and implementing his strategies, you can effectively decrease swelling while increasing the quality of life.

Advanced Treatment Options

Under certain conditions, more advanced therapies like dialysis may become necessary depending on the severity of kidney disease. Dr. Bismah will review all available therapies with you and make a personalized suggestion as to which is the best course forward in each situation.

Living Well with Kidney Disease

Combatting swelling caused by kidney disease requires teamwork between you and Dr Bismah but can be achieved successfully through a kidney holistic approach by following an individual treatment plan that includes diet changes, lifestyle modifications and possibly medication.

Remember you’re not on this journey alone – with Dr Bismah’s expert guidance and your commitment to self-care, swelling can be controlled so you can live an enriching life despite kidney disease.

For optimal outcomes when seeking medical advice regarding swelling or kidney health concerns, reach out today and visit Dr. Bismah’s website – scheduling an appointment may help take control over your well-being!