For CKD patients, the kidneys may lose their ability to control how much fluid stays in the body. People may notice swelling in their lower legs, hands or face around the eyes. With too much fluid, someone could even feel short of breath. If necessary, dialysis will be used to treat severe swelling.
Why does swelling occur in patients with CKD?
Heavy loss of protein in the urine
Since albumin helps to maintain blood volume in the blood vessels, a reduction of fluid in the blood vessels occurs. The kidneys then register that there is depletion of blood volume and, therefore, attempt to retain salt. Consequently, fluid moves into the interstitial spaces, thereby causing pitting edema.
Impaired kidney function
Patients with CKD that impairs kidney function develop swelling because of a limitation in the kidneys' ability to excrete sodium into the urine. So patients with kidney failure from whatever cause will develop edema if their intake of sodium exceeds the ability of their kidneys to excrete the sodium. The more advanced the kidney failure, the greater the problem of salt retention is likely to become.
How to help CKD patients cope with swelling?
There are many diuretics and alternative therapies that can help improve urine flow and reduce swelling. Unfortunately many diuretics can cause renal failure or reduce kidney function as part of their side effects.
The treatment of fluid retention is to reduce the loss of protein into the urine and to restrict salt in the diet, if the swelling is caused by the loss of protein in the urine. The loss of protein in the urine may be reduced by the use of ACE inhibitors and ARB.
CKD patients with swelling can keep reasonable diet to relieve swelling to some extent, like limit sodium intake; eat foods that naturally have a diuretic action such as asparagus, garlic, pineapple, grapes, onion, leeks, parsley, leafy greens, green beans, beets, and pumpkin; eat a high-fiber diet such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains; eat foods that are high in antioxidants and flavonoids to improve circulation: blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, cherries, squash and capsicums; use olive oil for cooking.
Here are some of the best herbs to reduce renal edema: celery seed, green tea, goldenrod, nettle leaf, juniper, gravel root and so on.
Micro-Chinese Medicine Osmotherapy will be recommended if CKD patients don't want to treat severe swelling by dialysis. The purpose of this treatment is to repair kidney damage and improve kidney function. It is based on Chinese herbal medicines, but used externally. Compared to dialysis, it is more comfortable to lie on the bed to take Micro-Chinese Medicine Osmotherapy, it just likes Chinese massage, many CKD patients say.