What’s Causing Your Swelling?


Why do some places in your body swell?

Lots of things can lead to this. Swelling, also called edema, is often harmless and goes away on its own. But it can be a symptom of something that needs to be checked out. Call your doctor if you have any swelling that sticks around, but get medical help right away if you also have chest pain or a hard time breathing. Those can be signs that you have too much fluid in your lungs — a condition called pulmonary edema.

Swelling can be caused by a lack of:

This nutrient helps keep sodium and water inside your blood vessels. If you don’t have enough of a blood protein called albumin, those can leak out and cause swelling. Your diet or kidney or liver disease can make you short on protein.

Too much of this also can cause it:

Your kidneys use sodium and potassium to get rid of extra fluid from your body. But too much salt can keep them from doing that the way they should, and that can lead to swelling in your lower legs or belly. If that happens, you may need to cut back on foods high in sodium and lay off the saltshaker.


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