Heart Problems, Diseases and Water Retention

Water retention occurs in patients with heart problem or disease because of two main reasons:

  • The blood from the body to the heart backs up causing the fluid leaks into the lungs and veins.
  • The heart fails to deliver adequate volume of blood to the body. The kidneys maintain the balance of salt, potassium and acid thus when the kidneys sense a significant decreased of blood flow, it'll try to compensate the seeming loss of fluid by retaining salt and water.

Below is the most common heart problems and diseases which causes water retention.

Congestive Heart Failure

Heart Problems: Water Retention in Legs, Feet, Liver, Abdominal, LungsHeart failure develops when the heart fails to supply sufficient volume of blood into the circulation. There are many factors that can cause heart failure, such as weakening or stiffening of the heart muscle, chronic high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, development of certain diseases, etc. Common signs and symptoms of heart failure include coughing, tiredness, shortness of breath, pulmonary edema (fluid retention in lungs), weakening of the pumping action of the heart, pleural effusion (excess fluid around lungs), excessive peritoneal or abdominal fluid retention (ascites) , and water retention in ankles and legs.

There are two main categories of heart failure:

  • Systolic heart failure
    This occurs when the heart muscle becomes weak thus loses its ability to forcefully contract and pump out normal volume of blood into the circulation. The blood then retains in the lungs and veins.
  • Diastolic heart failure
    This occurs when the heart muscle becomes stiff or thicken thus loses its ability to relax and fill with normal volume of blood. The blood backs up and; as in systolic heart failure; the blood will be accumulated in the lungs and veins.

In addition, heart failure can occur at the left, right or both sides of the heart. When the heart failure is left-sided, pulmonary edema might occur due to the build-up of the blood in the vessels of the lungs. Right-sided heart failure causes abdominal fluid retention as well as water retention (swelling) in legs, feet, ankles and liver. Left-sided heart failure often causes right-sided heart failure too.

How left side heart failure cause pulmonary edema?

Pulmonary edema occurs in left side heart failure when the rich-oxygen blood, returning from the lungs, fails to reach the heart; usually caused by certain heart problems. The blood then backs up and accumulates in the lungs and veins which lead to pulmonary edema.

Cardiomyopathy disease
Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) is a variety of heart failure. It is a condition where the muscle tone of the heart is damaged thus reduces its ability to carry the oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. It is usually caused by:

  • Weakening of the heart's walls (dilated cardomyopathy)
  • Thickening of the heart's walls (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)
  • The heart failed to stretch properly (restrictive cardiomyopathy)
  • Loss or weakening of heart muscle tissue caused by ischemia (ischemic cardiomyopathy)

Eventually, cardiomyopathy will cause water retention in the lungs, swelling in the legs and abdominal.

Heart Valve Disease
Heart valve disease is disease of the heart valve. There are two types of heart valve disease:

  • Valvular stenosis
    A condition where the valve opening is too narrow due to stiff leaflets thus causes the heart need to work hard to pump the blood through it. The hardened blood flow can occur in all four valves: tricuspic stenosis, pulmonic stenosis, mitral stenosis, aortic stenosis.
  • Valvular regurgitation (insufficiency)
    A condition where the valves become incompetent (do not close tightly) thus causes some blood leak across the valves.

Heart valve disease usually cause swelling in the legs, ankles, feet and abdominal. The swelling occurs because of the decreased blood flow in the body.