Dropsy characteristics

This article was endorsed by Errachid El Fadel - Medical intern at University Hospital IBN Rochd Casablanca

What is dropsy?

Hydrops characteristics

Dropsy, hydrops or hydropesy,  also called retaining liquids  or edemas, is a metabolic disorder that consists of the accumulation of water or other substances in the body.

Normally these accumulations occur in the legs, abdomen, hands, and neck. Sometimes these retentions cause swelling in the ankles which must be adequately controlled because it can be a sign that we are in a case of heart failure.

It is also quite common for the face or eyes to have fluid retention in which case they appear swollen.

Why does dropsy occur?

swollen legs
Liquids accumulation or dropsy produces swollen legs in many occasions

The accumulation of fluids is caused by an imbalance in the level of fluids in the body, when the blood vessels pour too many fluids on the body tissues or when these fluids are retained in the tissues and do not return to the blood vessels. The same occurs when the lymphatic vessels, in addition to transporting lymph, are unable to transport part of the remaining fluids.

Causes of dropsy

There are many causes that can cause dropsy. Some of them are diseases such as heart failure, liver failure, kidney failure, obesity, varicose veins, certain tumors, thyroid problems, etc.

Other times dropsy occurs in certain periods of life, when hormonal conditions cause a greater accumulation of fluids, as happens to women during periods of pregnancy or menopause.

Other factors that can trigger it

old people
As we get older, we decrease the ability to drain of excess fluid from the body.

Age is also a factor that can trigger this disorder, so that, as we get older, we lose elasticity in the veins and our kidneys lose the ability to eliminate water and toxins that are retained in the form of serous accumulations or edema, mainly in the legs. The same usually happens when the affected person undergoes certain forms of work or behaviors that hinder body drainage. In this chapter we would include people who must stand or sit for many hours or people who wear tight clothes.

Other times hydrops in certain people responds to the side effects of certain medications that block the elimination of fluids, such as many of those we take to control hypertension, depression or those that contain hormones. The latter include oral contraceptives or preparations to facilitate pregnancy, which contain estrogen and progesterone. Corticosteroids constitute a group of medications derived from adrenal hormones. They are used for diseases such as rheumatism, asthma or skin diseases. However, some hypertension, hormonal and depressión medications help to elimination of water.

Food also plays a fundamental role in the balance of body fluids. A diet very rich in sodium promotes fluid retention, while a healthy diet, balanced and rich in natural plant foods, mainly fruits and vegetables, contains a series of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, and other phytochemicals. that facilitate diuresis. It has been proven that a lack of protein or its poor absorption can be responsible for the same disorder.

How to avoid or treat dropsy?

To avoid or treat dropsy, foods that contain a lot of salt should be restricted as much as possible. It is important to maintain a diet based mainly on vegetables that includes fruits and vegetables, cereals and legumes. These foods would be supplemented with skim milk or skim milk derivatives, such as yogurts or low-fat cheeses. In case of not following a strictly vegetarian diet, lean meats could be included, avoiding too much fat, and fish and eggs would be added.

Sweets, such as candies, ice cream, cakes, chocolate, etc. should be restricted as much as possible. Similarly, alcohol or tobacco consumption should be avoided.

A healthy life, which includes regular exercise, appropriate to the possibilities of each person can help, along with food, to facilitate the healing of many diseases that require the use of medicines that contribute to dropsy. The use of medicinal plants with diuretic properties can contribute to the natural treatment of this disorder.

punto rojo More information on water retention

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

19 June, 2020

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