I just picked this topic area because I could not find one available for unexplained problems.
I'm doing some research to try and help a friend. Her doctors have not been able to diagnose a problem she has been having that's affecting her severely.
She has explained only one main symptom: painful swelling (or bloating) of the hands, arms, and legs.
During the day, she says that her fingers are so swollen that she cannot wear her wedding ring and cannot write notes in class for more than a few minutes before the pain starts.
When she goes to bed at night, as soon as her body completely relaxes, her arms and legs start to swell up and ache. Because of this, she rarely gets any sleep. Even if she falls asleep, she is awoken by the swelling and pain shortly after.
Any clue as to what her problem may be? I am very worried about her. She is having trouble in school and at work and is becoming depressed because of this serious problem. She is currently waiting for an appointment which will be the third doctor she tries.
Edema may develop quickly or may gradually accumulate over a longer period of time. It is important to have all edema checked by a doctor so that the cause can be identified and treated. Examples of underlying causes of edema include allergies, poisons, high altitudes, diabetes, heart failure, lymphedema, malnutrition, liver or kidney disorders, lung conditions, vascular problems, glandular conditions (such as hypothyroidism), and pregnancy.
Edema is an observable swelling from fluid accumulation in certain body tissues. Edema most commonly occurs in the feet and legs, where it also is referred to as peripheral edema. The swelling is the result of the accumulation of excess fluid under the skin in the spaces within the tissues that are outside of the blood vessels. These spaces are known as interstitial spaces or compartments. Most of the body's fluids that are found outside of the cells are normally stored in two spaces; the blood vessels (where the fluids are called the blood volume) and the interstitial spaces (where the fluids are called the interstitial fluid). In various diseases, excess fluid can accumulate in either one or both of these compartments.
The body's organs also have areas between cells (interstitial spaces) where fluid can accumulate. For example, an accumulation of fluid in the interstitial air spaces (alveoli) in the lungs occurs in heart failure and is called pulmonary edema. In addition, excess fluid sometimes collects in what has been called the third space, which includes cavities in the abdomen (abdominal or peritoneal cavity) or in the chest (lung or pleural cavity). The term anasarca refers to the severe, widespread accumulation of fluid in the various tissues and cavities of the body.
Pitting edema can be demonstrated by applying pressure to, for example, the skin of a swollen leg, by depressing the skin with a finger. If the pressing causes an indentation in the skin that persists for some time after the release of the pressure, the edema is referred to as pitting edema. Actually, any form of pressure, such as from the elastic part of socks, can induce the pitting of this edema.
What causes pitting edema?
Edema is caused by either systemic diseases, that is, diseases that affect the various organ systems of the body, or by local conditions involving just the affected extremities. The most common systemic diseases that are associated with edema involve the heart, liver, and kidneys. In these diseases, edema occurs primarily because of the body's retention of too much salt (which is the chemical compound sodium chloride). The excess salt holds excess water in the interstitial tissue spaces, where the retained surplus of fluid is recognized as edema. Idiopathic (of unknown cause) edema, also sometimes called cyclical edema, occurs most often in women and just prior to each menstrual period. The most common local conditions that cause edema are varicose veins and thrombophlebitis (a blood clot with inflammation of the veins) of the deep veins of the legs. These conditions can cause inadequate pumping of the blood by the veins (venous insufficiency). The resulting increased back-pressure in the veins forces fluid to leak into the interstitial tissue spaces, where the retained excess fluid is recognized as edema
In non-pitting edema, which usually affects the legs or arms, pressure that is applied to the skin does not result in a persistent indentation. Non-pitting edema can occur in certain disorders of the lymphatic system such as lymphedema, which is a disturbance of the lymphatic circulation that may occur after a radical mastectomy, or congenital lymphedema. Another cause of non-pitting edema of the legs is called pretibial myxedema, which is a swelling over the shins that occurs in some patients with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland). Non-pitting edema of the legs is difficult to treat. Diuretic medications are generally not effective, although elevation of the legs periodically during the day and compressive devices may reduce the swelling.
For more information about pitting adema go to:
I'm writing on behalf of my sister. She had a very problematic gastric bypass surgery 2 1/2 yrs ago. She lost over 100lbs from it. A short time later, she had surgery to remove her gallbladder.
With no control of her own, she could not keep food down; even drinking fluids was a challenge. This led to additional surgery due to complications from the gastric band's placement. Her recovery process was a feeding tube for a couple months. She's regained weight (a good thing) giving her a healthier appearance. BUT!...since then, she's suffered from heavy periods, severe migraines, and this unexplained heavy bloating that causes her entire body to swell out-of-control. She can start the day looking a size 10, but by mid-day she's bloated to a 16-20. It looks like she's going to burst. The bloating leds to shortness of breath, chest pain, and severe leg cramps.
After many visits to the emergency room, doctors send her home with Lasix and no diagnosis. The medicine is not working.
Can someone please guide us to the right doctor or clinic? I'm very concerned.
I'm currently a 17 year old Biology student in England, and this looks like somethign we recently studied. It looks as though your sister could be malnourished as a result of the gastric band- it's quite a common side effect, especially as you mentioned she could not keep food down. This malnourishment can lead to lymphedema, which is where the lymph vessels, which drain tissue fluid away, are damaged or destroyed. This has the effect that the tissue fluid is beneath the skin and can cause bloating. She does need to go back to her doctor, and ask him/her about this- if it is diagnosed as lymphedema, she can practise manual lymph vessel draining, which should help her.
My father is a renal patient.But last year he had a kidney transplant after 20 years diagnose with renal failure. After a few months of transplant till now his feet or the whole hands & arms will swell or bloat. Recently he have to go check up everyday and every time i ask what the doctor say, he says just some blockage. Since im a student nurse, i really want to know exactly what is the main problem. I have learn it b4 and so far all the causes a excessive fluid. When i told my father that, he said the doctor didn't say anything about the fluid. Im really very curious and i really want to know the nursing care that i cn give to my own father.
unexplained bloating or swelling of hands, arms, and feet
... can someone tell me how this was resolved, i have a sister who is experiencing the same problems but the doctors (pains and vascular doctors) have not been able to resolve the problem. Any help would be much appreciated as im concerned deeply for my sister.
i am a 21 year old girl.having swelling in both the arms and feet.Very less pain that too when you press it..Having survical which is hereditary.And have severe pain in parietal lobe.cant find any disease or symptoms of disease.please help ASAP.
Hi! I am a 30 year old woman who has a very similar problem. Ever since I was kid I have had swollen legs and thought it was just water retention. It has been a life long problem that has always driven me crazy and even when I lost a lot of weight it was just as bad. I moved to Canada 18 months ago and shortly after it just started to get worse and worse. I gained like 99 pounds in a few months and I have tried everything. It has got so hard for me to even move let alone do anything really active. I get out of breath very quickly, start sweating heavily, can hardly breath, my arms and legs swell up till i can barely move them and my legs get sore. My temperature rises very quickly till the point I feel like I'm going to pass out from the heat. I have tried diuretics, allergy tablets and bromoline but nothing seems to work. I'm in a lot of pain after even walking shortly and feel like my ribcage is sitting on a ball of fat I feel that bloated all the time. It is actually causing me to be very depressed. I would be very grateful for any advice and perhaps ways to cure this because it is starting to severely affect my life. Thank you so much! xxx
Thank you!!! Your post was very helpful to me. My arms and hands have been feeling swollen and it is uncomfortable to sleep and it is not an all the time thing it comes and goes. Your post made me realize that it is most likely related to my menstrual cycle since other symptoms that come up around that time are present as well. THANKS!!!
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