Diabetes and Water Retention: How Are They Related?


By pH health care professionals

If you have diabetes, or if someone close to you does, perhaps you’ve noticed some swelling in the ankles where fluid has built up, causing a puffy appearance. This is typically water retention, also called edema, and is relatively common among diabetics. Let’s take a look at how diabetes and water retention are related.

What is water retention?

Water retention is a buildup of fluid in an area of the body, causing swelling, often in the ankles, feet, wrists and/or arms.

So, how are diabetes and water retention related?

The most common type of water retention is in the legs and feet (peripheral edema).

Sometimes, water retention occurs as a side effect of insulin therapy or diabetes drugs. Peripheral edema is sometimes a symptom of kidney problems or heart failure related to diabetes.

However, water retention can occur as a result of an injury, surgery, long plane rides, pregnancy, hormone changes and certain medications. But if you have diabetes, you need to be extra cautious as water retention can make it more difficult for wounds to heal.  Read here for other causes of water retention.

So, how can you be more proactive?

  • Work with a doctor. While the water retention itself may not seem to be giving you any trouble, it may be a red flag for something else, so it’s important to be proactive and tell your doctor right away about any swelling.
  • Utilize body composition testing on a regular basis. You can gauge whether your body’s fluids are out of balance even before you see significant swelling through body composition testing. It only takes a few minutes to get information that can save you time, money and stress. Be proactive.  
  • Get to the root cause of your water retention. There may be other factors including problems with the thyroid, kidneys, heart or liver. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can cause more swelling and fluid buildup.
  • Watch the salt. Having too much sodium in the diet has been known to cause water retention.

Notify your doctor right away if you experience redness and pain with swelling. This could be a sign of a blood clot.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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