- Understanding Chronic Kidney Disease
- Kidney Disease Stages
- What Is a Nephrologist?
- What to Expect with CKD
- Managing Kidney Disease
- Understanding Acute Kidney Injury
- How Kidneys Work
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Understanding Hypervolemia and Fluid Overload
Hypervolemia is a medical condition when you have too much fluid in your body, also described as having excess water retention or fluid overload. Healthy people have a certain amount of fluid in their bodies. When you have too much excess fluid, it can cause health complications such as swelling, high blood pressure, heart problems and more.
Hypervolemia is common among people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and renal failure, because their kidneys aren't working to remove excess fluid like healthy kidneys would. The good news is, once the causes of your hypervolemia are understood, there are treatments that can help control it.
What are the signs and symptoms of hypervolemia?
Symptoms of hypervolemia can cause discomfort, stress on your body and even organ trouble. Signs of fluid overload may include:
- Rapid weight gain
- Noticeable swelling (edema) in your arms, legs and face
- Swelling in your abdomen
- Cramping, headache, and stomach bloating
- Shortness of breath
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems, including congestive heart failure
How is hypervolemia treated?
Treatment for hypervolemia will usually focus on ridding the body of excess fluid. This may require taking diuretic medication to increase urine production. Your doctor will also focus on treating the underlying cause of the hypervolemia. This may mean addressing kidney, liver or heart issues. If you’re diagnosed with kidney failure, your doctor may recommend starting dialysis.
Dialysis and hypervolemia
If you’re on dialysis, your doctor will prescribe the amount and frequency of dialysis that’s right for your body. One of the goals of dialysis is to help remove as much excess fluid as possible to get you close to your dry weight. To help you get the most out of your treatment, it’s important to complete your full dialysis sessions and follow the guidelines your care team gives you for eating well with ESRD and reducing salt intake.
How can I prevent hypervolemia from happening again?
In addition to following your doctor’s instructions on managing other health conditions that may cause hypervolemia, watching your fluid intake is key to managing fluid retention and avoiding fluid overload. Here are some tips for managing fluid:
- Keep a record of how much fluid you take in. Once you’ve received treatment for hypervolemia, be sure to stick to the fluid guidelines your doctor recommends.
- Minimize your salt intake. Take steps to shake off the salt. This will help minimize fluid retention and help to decrease thirst.
- Try strategies to help to manage thirst. If you’re craving fluids, wait 10 minutes for the craving to pass. Help manage your thirst by sucking ice chips, sugar-free candy or frozen fruit. Find more tips for managing fluid on dialysis here.
- Track your weight to help identify excess fluid weight gain. Alert your doctor or nurse if you notice any large shifts in weight, along with swelling or other symptoms.