Hypervolemia, also referred to as fluid overload, is an excessive increase in the volume of fluid. The excess fluid volume in the intravascular compartment is due to the excess of extracellular body water and an increase in the total body sodium content.
The opposite condition is hypovolemia, representing too little fluid volume in the blood.
Fluid is vital to have in the human body. It makes up the blood which carries nutrients and oxygen to organs, transports waste products outside our body when we urinate, and hydrates our tissues.
For instance, nearly 67 percent of total body water is in the intracellular fluid compartment, which is the fluid present in the cytoplasm of all cells of the human body.
Symptoms of Hypervolemia
- high blood pressure – presently, it is one of the most significant health problems in the world. The morbidity and mortality are related to the duration and severity. Nevertheless, early treatment and diagnosis provide a favorable clinical outcome.
- swelling of the legs and arms;
- swelling of the face;
- jugular vein distention – it is usually a sign of increased central venous pressure, which is a measurement of the pressure inside the vena cava;
- coughing and trouble breathing at night, mainly when lying flat;
- increased or slowed heart rate – the extra fluid in the body can affect the muscles of the heart, the heart rate, and may increase the size of the heart;
- shortness of breath – the extra fluid in the body can enter the lungs, making sleeping difficult (paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea) and leading to breathing difficulties.
Note – this condition can be difficult to recognize when usual symptoms of clinical congestion are not manifested during an acute congestive exacerbation.
Causes of Fluid Overload
When you consume high sodium (makes about 40 percent of table salt) foods like most salted chips, processed food, sauces, dressings, meats (especially chicken), dairy products, bread, condiments, it stimulates thirst and the subsequent water intake which contributes to volume overload.
Heart failure (also called congestive heart failure), particularly of the right ventricle, is a principal cause of fluid overload. Heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart is weakened and can’t circulate enough blood to the body’s other organs.
Intravenous therapy is the infusion of liquid substances directly into a vein. Therefore, if there is a rapid introduction of intravenous fluid, excess fluid in the blood may occur.
Vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone, is secreted by the hypothalamus (the link between the endocrine and nervous systems) in the brain and plays a major role in maintaining the fluid homeostasis by controlling urine production by the kidneys.
Although the exact mechanism of the connection between liver disease and fluid overload is not entirely understood, most theories hint at an increased pressure in the blood flow to the liver as the main problem.
Kidneys are the organs which filter waste products from the blood as well they have a vital role in managing the volume of fluid in the human body. They do this by adjusting the amount of urine production.
The treatment of this condition is directed to the correction of the underlying diseases (such as – heart disease, chronic renal disease), and sodium restriction.
The treatment also includes using diuretics, also called water pills, which are prescription medicines designed to increase the amount of sodium and water expelled from the body as urine. However, diuretics should not be prescribed to patients with chronic kidney disease. Moreover, some herbal supplements have a diuretic effect, like – corn silk, dandelion leaf, and horsetail.
Stopping or decreasing fluid administration – if you are at home, then cut down the fluid intake and if you are in the hospital, your doctor may reduce the quantity of IV fluids or restrict your fluid intake you get.
Note – it is recommended to use hypotonic 0.45% sodium chloride as maintenance fluid therapy in individuals susceptible to this condition (like those with heart disease) due to the decreased Na load.
Iatrogenic causes can be prevented when healthcare specialists are cautious with blood transfusions and IVF resuscitation particularly in high-risk populations, like – postoperative patients, elderly people, burn victims, or sufferers affected by underlying conditions, like -renal or cardiac failure.
Reduce Salt Intake
If you usually consume foods that are high in salt, like the majority of processed foods, your body may retain fluids since sodium binds to water in the body.
Therefore, a restriction of sodium is essential for the treatment of this disorder in order to return the extracellular compartment to normal.
Potassium is an essential mineral used to maintain electrolyte and fluid equilibrium in the body. Moreover, it is one of the seven vital macro minerals, along with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, chloride, sodium, and sulfur.
Electrolytes are important for preventing water retention due to the fact that they maintain a correct water balance and ensure that water is distributed evenly among tissues in the human body. The body supports a specific amount of each electrolyte since a precise proportion of each one is required for all of them to work correctly.
Humans also need this electrolyte in maintaining the health of the brain, muscle, kidney, heart, and various organs and functions. Some common low potassium signs and symptoms include dehydration, heart palpitations, swelling of glands and tissues, and severe headaches.
Banana is one of the best sources of this mineral, and a liberal intake of bananas is a good prevention for fluid overload. Other good sources of potassium include:
- vegetables – sweet potatoes, potatoes, kale, dandelion greens, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, beet greens, peppers, cauliflower, radishes, avocados, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, tomatoes, spinach, winter squash.
- legumes – Adzuki beans, peas, lima beans, white beans, chickpeas, navy beans, lentils, red kidney beans, or Great Northern beans;
- fruits – prunes, plums, apples, kiwi, oranges, mangoes, bananas, apricots, papayas, cantaloupe, watermelon, durian, or pineapples.
Hypokalemia, better known as low potassium syndrome, is commonly either an adverse effect of diuretics or antibiotics or a symptom of a more serious disorder, such as – hyperthyroidism or kidney disease, and treating the underlying condition will usually resolve this deficiency.