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Why Are My Limbs So Swollen?

Why Are My Limbs So Swollen?

Swelling in any part of your body isn't normal and is typically a sign of something else. Kidney problems can lead to swelling in your arms and legs because of excess fluids building up in your body.

Swelling in your arms and legs is often known as edema and can be severe. If you have edema, the team at Metro Renal Associates in Washington, DC, and Capitol Heights, Maryland, can help with various diagnostic tests and treatments.

Leading our team are three expert nephrologists: Kevin Griffiths, MD; Cosette Jamieson, MD; and Oyije Susannah Iheagwara, MD. Our three specialists offer specialized treatment when you're suffering from edema and kidney disease.

What causes limb swelling?

Swelling in your legs and arms can be due to various problems, including edema. When you have edema, the fluid becomes trapped in your tissues, swelling all over your body, including your extremities.

Edema varies in severity, from mild to completely debilitating. Some cases of edema go away independently, while others require prompt medical treatment.

Pregnant women and older adults are more prone to edema as fluid shifts in their bodies. However, there are other causes of this condition as well, some of which include:


  • Venous insufficiency
  • Side effects of medications
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart failure
  • Compromised immune system 
  • High sodium diet

Gravity is another factor that contributes to edema. When you sit for long periods, it's not unusual for fluid to pool in your legs or arms. This phenomenon is known as dependent edema.

If you're experiencing swelling in your arms or legs, it's usually a sign that something is happening in your body.

Signs and symptoms of a problem

The most notable signs of edema are swelling in different body areas. However, the symptoms vary depending on what's causing the problem. Common signs of a problem with edema include:


  • Swelling in your arms, legs, feet, or hands
  • Stretched or shiny appearance to your skin
  • Swelling in your abdomen
  • Leg or arm heaviness
  • Skin that dimples or stays pressed in after it's touched

If you have any of these symptoms, you must seek help immediately. Edema can be a sign of a severe medical condition that requires treatment.

Your kidneys are responsible for regulating your body's fluids and getting rid of waste products. If your kidneys aren't working correctly, you may notice swelling in your arms, legs, and abdomen.

Treatments to expect

When you come in to evaluate your limb swelling, our team uses state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to determine what's causing the problem. Our team tailors your treatment plan to the cause of your edema.

One of the main treatments for fluid retention is medications known as diuretics. These medications reduce edema in your body by pushing excess fluid out through urination. We prescribe these medications to get rid of the excess fluid in your body through your urinary system.

If your diet is the culprit behind the swelling in your limbs, our team recommends cutting back on foods high in salt. Changing your diet significantly helps edema in many cases that involve poor nutrition or eating poorly.

We evaluate your overall health to determine other causes of swelling in your body. Underlying medical conditions contribute to these symptoms, and our team addresses any health problems that could be causing the swelling in your extremities.

Our team specializes in conditions that affect your kidney health. If kidney damage is the cause of your edema, we provide specialized treatments specific to your situation.

To get help for edema in your body, don't hesitate to call one of our offices today. You can also send the team a message using our convenient online tool.


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