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How Does Water Retention Affect Joints?

Updated February 21, 2017

Water retention, also known by the medical term "oedema," is a fluid imbalance in the body. Water is an active component of our cells. When the body has too much sodium entering the blood stream, water leaves the cells and enters the bloodstream to dilute the sodium. This excess water builds up in and around tissues and joints.

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What Is Water Retention?

Water retention, also known by the medical term "oedema," is a fluid imbalance in the body. Water is an active component of our cells. When the body has too much sodium entering the blood stream, water leaves the cells and enters the bloodstream to dilute the sodium. This excess water builds up in and around tissues and joints.

Causes of Water Retention

While the most common cause of water retention in the body is excess sodium, other things also cause water to leave cells. Too much nicotine or alcohol in the bloodstream causes an imbalance, and water rushes to dilute these chemicals. Our bodily fluids adjust based on our intake of various foods and drink. Infections also prompt water to collect in a specified area of the body.

Joint Pain

As our bodies become imbalanced, excess fluid in the bloodstream accumulates in the joints. This excess fluid puts pressure on muscles and joints and causes pain. This pain is a signal that there is a problem. Water retention typically starts with the feet and ankles and can move to the hands, fingers, elbows, neck and spine.

Remedies

The best remedy for joint pain caused by water retention is drinking more water. Having enough water in the body allows the cells to retain the water they need, while flushing unwanted substances out of the body. Another step is to avoid processed and high sodium foods which are a main cause of water retention. Exercise and a healthy diet allow our bodies to maintain equilibrium and keep them operating at an efficient level.

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About the Author

A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."

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