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What Are the Dangers of Excess Water Retention?

by
author image Leigh Ann Morgan
Leigh Ann Morgan began working as a writer in 2004. She has extensive experience in the business field having served as the manager of a $34 million rental property portfolio. Morgan also appeared as a guest on an episode of National Public Radio's "Marketplace Money" in 2005.
What Are the Dangers of Excess Water Retention?
Discuss water retention with your doctor if you are concerned about the dangers of this symptom. Photo Credit Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Water retention occurs when fluid builds up in the body. In most cases, fluid retention does not cause serious problems. But sometimes, fluid retention causes dangerous effects on the body. Conditions that cause fluid retention include heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, kidney failure, premenstrual syndrome and preeclampsia. Discuss water retention with a physician if you are concerned about the dangers of this symptom.

Difficulty Breathing

What Are the Dangers of Excess Water Retention?
Your doctor can perform tests to determine the cause of your shortness of breath. Photo Credit monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Two types of water retention cause difficulty breathing. In cases of pulmonary edema, fluid builds up in the lungs. This makes it difficult to breathe and raises the pressure in the pulmonary artery. Prolonged pulmonary edema increases the risk for heart failure. Ascites, or water retention in the abdomen, causes the abdomen to swell. This causes fluid to put pressure on the lungs, making it difficult to breathe properly. Doctors refer to shortness of breath as dyspnea, according to Medline Plus. When fluid builds up in the lungs or abdomen, it causes this sensation. If dyspnea occurs suddenly or becomes more severe, seek medical attention. The doctor will perform tests to determine the cause of the shortness of breath.

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Skin Wounds

What Are the Dangers of Excess Water Retention?
Water retention in the feet and ankles can be caused by footwear. Photo Credit ekapong laksanapiya/iStock/Getty Images

The location of water retention determines the complications that occur. One of the dangers of water retention in the feet and ankles is skin wounds caused by friction from footwear. When footwear rubs against the skin, it causes blisters and cuts. In people with an increased risk for pressure sores, such as elderly people, these blisters may worsen. In the most severe cases, these wounds develop into foot ulcers. The American Diabetes Association recommends staying off of your feet if you develop one of these ulcers.

Chest Pain

What Are the Dangers of Excess Water Retention?
Chest pain and discomfort occurs when fluid accumulates in the abdomen or lungs. Photo Credit michaeljung/iStock/Getty Images

When fluid accumulates in the abdomen or lungs, the pressure causes chest pain and discomfort.The University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago explains that this type of water retention occurs in cases of liver disease, heart failure, heart infection and kidney disease. Some medications also cause water retention as a side effect. These medications include steroids, birth control pills, blood pressure drugs and antidepressants, according to MedlinePlus, a publication of the National Institutes of Health.

Low Sodium Levels

What Are the Dangers of Excess Water Retention?
Low sodium levels cause fatigue, headaches and irritability. Photo Credit zorattifabio/iStock/Getty Images

Sodium and water have a close relationship in the human body. Too much water dilutes the amount of sodium in the blood, resulting in low sodium levels. This condition causes fatigue, headaches, muscle weakness, nausea, irritability, restlessness and vomiting. In serious cases, low sodium levels cause confusion, hallucinations, convulsions and loss of consciousness, according to MedlinePlus.

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References

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