Seven Tips for Dealing with Diabetes-Related Fluid Retention

Fluid retention, also known as edema, is a problem that affects many diabetics, especially those with type 2 diabetes. Water retention can occur in any part of the legs, including the feet, ankles, calves, and thighs.

There are several reasons why edema occurs, such as fluid buildup or from inflammation in injured or diseased tissue and joints.

Types of Edema

There are three types of diabetes-related fluid retention:

  • The first type is called macular edema. Macular edema is a swelling that occurs in the macular, which is near the center of the retina. The retina is responsible for a number of duties such as the ability to read, daytime vision and color reception. Macular edema can cause diabetic retinopathy, which starts with the leaking of fluid from blood vessels into the macula. If not treated, this condition can blind a person.
  • Pulmonary edema is the second type of fluid retention, which occurs if someone is using certain diabetic medications and if the person has cardiovascular problems. This type of edema can be treated inserting a catheter that drains the fluids.
  • Foot and leg edema is the third type of edema and is also the most commonly discussed. Edema in the legs and feet can cause a high risk of non-healing wounds in diabetics. This type of edema is usually treated with manual decongestive therapy and diuretics.

Medication Risks for Edema

People who take thiazolidinedione medications are known to experience water retention. Thiazolidinediones are commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes as they help the body produce more insulin. However, one of the downsides of this medication is that it can lead to weight gain and edema.

Preventing and Treating Edema

Edema can have a lot of harmful effects if not treated like loss of vision. One of the main ways to stop fluid retention is by keeping your diabetes under control. Occasionally, if the fluid retention is being caused by medication, a change of prescription might be necessary. Having routine screenings can help detect the problem before it becomes more serious.

When the swelling occurs in your ankles or legs, there are many things that you can do to alleviate the symptoms:

  1. Try to prop your feet above your heart to help lessen the swelling. You can use pillows to elevate your feet.
  2. Wear support stockings if you have to be on your feet for extended periods of time.
  3. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help flush unnecessary fluids from your body.
  4. Consult your doctor about taking diuretics to help your body get rid of excess fluid.
  5. Exercise can also help with water retention. Light exercises like walking, leg lifts and other similar isometric exercises can help with water retention.
  6. Limit your salt and sodium intake, as this can add to water retention
  7. Avoid standing on your feet for prolonged periods of time.

Sources: Mayo Clinic and Diabetic Live
Photo: Pexels

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

More Articles

Stomach aches and other gastrointestinal pains can be signs of a bigger problem. One such problem for diabetics is gastroparesis, or delayed...

Two of the most common symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst and increased urine production. These symptoms are so prevalent in diabetics that...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

If your child has diabetes, you want him or her to be safe while in school and to have the same educational opportunities as other children....

Do not let pictures of yoga experts with their bodies twisted into bizarre, compact shapes fool you. Even people with stiff muscles, creaky joints...

The American Diabetes Association estimates that more than 7 million people in the United States have diabetes but don’t know it yet. These people...

While some celebrities aren't quick to talk about living with diabetes, others are quite transparent and inspiring - acting as advocates for the...

People with diabetes are about twice as likely to experience heart disease as those without the condition, making cardiovascular health a critical...

Pilates is an exercise method proven to improve flexibility, strength, coordination, muscular stamina, balance, and posture. Many Pilates...

It can be difficult enough to get on stage and make a roomful of strangers laugh, but for comedians suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes,...

All diabetics know that maintaining proper blood sugar levels is the lifeline...

Most people with insulin-dependent diabetes use syringes and lancets every day. However, many of them do not know how to dispose of these...

Explaining diabetes to children can seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it is no more difficult than discussing anything else important....