Caring for a Senior With Edema
Edema, also known as dropsy, is a common but misunderstood and potentially dangerous condition that can be minor or severe, localized or generalized. Edema in the elderly is frequently caused by an underlying condition like kidney damage, heart failure, or liver disease.
Types of Edema
The most common type of edema is peripheral edema, which refers to fluid retention that affects the entire body but may appear to primarily affect the extremities due to gravity. Other types are classified according to the organ or system that is affected.
Causes of Edema
Physical inactivity, standing or sitting still for an extended period of time, and excessive salt consumption are all common causes of edema.
What Happens if Edema Is Left Untreated?
Edema can cause pain, stiffness, stretched/itchy skin, scarring, poor blood circulation, and reduced elasticity in arteries, veins, and joints, as well as skin ulcers (wounds) and weeping edema in the feet, ankles, and legs.
How Is Edema Treated?
While diuretics like furosemide (Lasix) are effective at removing excess fluid through urination, they can also deplete the body of important vitamins and minerals, so a healthy diet and physician supervision are essential when using them.
How Family Caregivers Can Help Seniors Manage Edema
Caregivers should assist their loved ones in following these rules to avoid discomfort and serious complications.
Serving Healthy, Low-Sodium Meals
A low-sodium diet is important for maintaining cardiovascular health and minimizing water retention. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a daily sodium intake of no more than 2,300 mg for adults.
Assisting With Compression Therapy
Compression socks are not covered by Medicare, even if a doctor prescribes them, so work with your doctor to learn how to put them on someone else. Compression products can be difficult to put on and adjust to, but they should never be painful or uncomfortable.
Carefully Consider Massage Therapy
Lymphatic drainage can help people with lymphedema, but anyone with high blood pressure, deep vein thrombosis, or a history of blood clots should exercise extreme caution before seeing a licensed medical massage therapist.
Ensure Proper Skin Care
Even if your loved one’s edema is under control, it can still cause pain and compromise their skin’s integrity. Keep the affected areas clean, dry, well-conditioned, and protected with shoes or clothing. These injuries are not only painful, but they can also become infected quickly.
Slight elevation of the affected limb(s) above the heart can help prevent pooling and improve circulation, and it may also be beneficial at night while sleeping. There are a variety of products available to support this position, including pillows, slings, and wedges.
Get Moving, Keep Moving
Check with your loved one’s physician before starting a new physical fitness plan if they have any other conditions that prevent them from being active or require special care. The doctor may be able to recommend specific exercises to reduce symptoms.
What helps with water retention in elderly?
Chronic conditions such as heart disease and kidney disease can be managed to reduce swelling and the risk of complications, and diuretics such as furosemide (Lasix) can be used to promote the removal of excess fluid through urination in severe cases.
How do you reduce swelling in the elderly?
Ice packs, ice baths, and ice machines that deliver cold water to wraps are all effective ways to reduce swelling. Ice should be used a few times a day for about 20-30 minutes at a time to reduce swelling effectively. Pressure on an injury helps constrict blood flow and prevents excess fluid from reaching the injury.
How do you get rid of water retention and swelling?
Water retention remedies include:
- Maintain a low-salt diet.
- Incorporate potassium- and magnesium-rich foods into your diet.
- Take a vitamin B-6 supplement.
- Eat your protein.
- Keep your feet elevated.
- Wear compression socks or leggings.
- If your problem persists, seek medical help.
What causes water retention in elderly?
The most common causes of mild edema in seniors are side effects of medications for high blood pressure, steroids, diabetes, or estrogens. Other mild causes of edema in seniors could include sitting or staying in one position for too long, or eating too much salty food.
Will drinking more water help with edema?
Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day Though it may seem counterintuitive, staying hydrated helps to reduce swelling because when your body is dehydrated, it holds on to the fluid it does have, contributing to swelling.
What is the fastest way to get rid of fluid in the body?
Here are 13 easy ways to lose water weight quickly and safely.
- Share on Pinterest.
- Get More Sleep.
- Get Less Stress.
- Take Electrolytes.
- Manage Salt Intake.
- Take a Magnesium Supplement.
- Take a Dandelion Supplement.
- Drink More Water.
How do I reduce swelling quickly?
Cold Therapy Applying an ice-pack or cold compress to an injury reduces swelling by restricting blood flow to the area and slowing cellular metabolism. Cold therapy systems and ice baths are other ways to apply cold to an injury.
What medicine makes swelling go down?
Ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin, and naproxen, such as Aleve or Naprosyn, are examples of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
How do I reduce swelling naturally?
Inflammation (swelling) is a natural part of the body’s healing system that aids in the fight against injury and infection. Here are six ways to reduce inflammation in your body:
- Control blood sugar.
- Make time to exercise.
- Lose weight.
- Manage stress.
- Load up on anti-inflammatory foods.
- Cut back or eliminate inflammatory foods.
How do you stop retaining water?
Here are six suggestions for reducing water retention.
- Increase Magnesium Intake. Magnesium is an important mineral.
- Eat More Potassium-Rich Foods.
- Try Dandelion.
- Avoid Refined Carbs.
What can I eat to stop retaining water?
Increasing potassium intake by eating healthy foods like vegetables and fruits, which contain nutrients that help prevent blood vessels from leaking fluid into tissue spaces, is one way to reduce water retention. Eating potassium-rich foods rather than taking potassium supplements is recommended.
How do you tell if you are retaining water?
Fluid retention can cause the following symptoms:
- Swelling of affected body parts (feet, ankles, and hands are commonly affected)
- aching of affected body parts.
- stiff joints.
- rapid weight gain over a few days or weeks.
- unexplained weight fluctuations.
What happens if edema is left untreated?
Edema can cause painful swelling, stiffness, difficulty walking, stretched or itchy skin, skin ulcers, scarring, and decreased blood circulation if left untreated.
How do I get rid of fluid in my legs and feet?
Care at Home
- Put your legs on pillows to raise them above your heart while lying down.
- Exercise your legs.
- Follow a low-salt diet to help reduce fluid retention and swelling.
- Wear support stockings (available at most drugstores and medical supply stores).
Why do elderly people’s feet swell?
When excess fluid is pulled down by gravity and builds up in the lower body, the legs, ankles, and feet swell. This is called edema, and it’s common in older adults. It can be caused by a variety of health conditions, including heart failure, kidney disease, gout, and arthritis.