Dehydration is a common condition that can occur due to lack of presence of fluids in the body, extreme levels of sweating, etc.
It can lead to a lot of issues such as dry skin, dry lips, sore throat, weakness, laziness and many more. One of those issues is swollen feet which can be a serious problem if not cured with time.
In this article, you will get to know what swollen feet exactly is?, what are the other reasons of swollen feet and how it can be cured?
Introduction to Dehydration?
Dehydration is a condition in which it refers to loss of body fluids, especially water in a huge amount. When there is absence of sufficient water in the body that is required by it for an appropriate functioning, the condition of dehydration occurs which can be determined by a number of symptoms. Besides symptoms, it may also cause serious health issues that may vary from body to body as different bodies may have different water levels.
Water is a significant element of our body as almost all the functions performed by the body require some specific amount of water. This consists of regulation of body temperature, lubricating joints, enhancement of digestion, transportation nutrients, and elimination of waste products.
When Does Dehydration Occur?
When the body discharges or loses more fluids than it takes in, dehydration occurs. This loss of fluids can be done via sweating, urination, vomiting or diarrhea. In addition, inadequate fluid intake can also be a major cause of dehydration.
The severity of dehydration may differ from mild to severe which depends on the extent of fluid loss.
Reasons For Dehydration
There are numerous factors due to which dehydration can occur. Some of these factors are as follows :-
- Insufficient Fluid Intake: one of the main reasons for dehydration is absence of sufficient fluid intake. This can happen in case you do not provide your body with sufficient water.
- Extreme Sweating: Whenever your body sweats, there is a huge loss of water and electrolytes. This may occur while engaging in an intense or aerobic physical activity, prolonged exposure to hot weather, or in situations where sweating is at its peak like in the case of fever or certain medical conditions.
- Diarrhea and Vomiting: There are a lot of problems associated with intestine such as diarrhea, vomiting, etc. These can also lead to a huge fluid loss causing dehydration.
- Illness: There are some illnesses like fever, flu, or infections that can increase body temperature or sweating. This also adds to dehydration. In addition, there are numerous other conditions that affect our diet. Like in fever, individuals experience a loss or decrease of appetite which can lead to dehydration.
- Urinary Issues: there are certain issues which augment the production of urine or impair the body’s ability to retain water. This adds to dehydration. Some of these conditions Or problems are diabetes, certain medications (diuretics), and urinary tract infections.
- Alcohol and Caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine act as diuretics. This means that they add to the production of urine and hence leads to more fluid loss. Consumption of alcohol or caffeine in huge amounts without maintaining balance with adequate water intake can lead to a huge fluid loss in the body leading to dehydration.
- High Altitude: In situations of high altitudes, such as while mountain climbing or hiking, the body tends to lose more fluids as compared in general because of increased breathing and urination. This may also be one of the reasons for dehydration.
- Medical Conditions: There are some medical conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, and adrenal gland disorders which can highly affect fluid balance and generate the risk of dehydration.
Symptoms Of Dehydration
There are various symptoms or signs that indicate that your body is dehydrated. Some of these symptoms are as follows :-
Thirst: if you are feeling thirsty in an unusual manner or you have a long time desire to consume fluids, it means that your body is dehydrated and it needs more fluids, mainly water.
- Dry Mouth and Lips: when an individual suffers from dehydration, there is a possibility that he may experience a dry and sticky feeling in the mouth. In some situations, dehydration also affects our lips making them dry and chapped.
- Dark-Colored Urine: When you are dehydrated, the color of your urine gets changed. It gets darker such as amber or deep yellow. In some cases, there may be a decrease in the urine output.
- Tiredness: Dehydration can generate the feelings of tiredness, weakness, and reduced energy levels. Some dehydrated individuals also feel exhausted even with a very less amount of physical exertion.
- Dizziness: Dehydration can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, or a feeling of being off-balance. This can be mainly experienced when you stand up immediately.
- Headache: The other symptom of dehydration is experiencing headaches or migraines. This mainly occurs in case of extreme level of fluid loss.
- Dry or elastic skin: In certain cases, individuals dealing from dehydration feel dry and less elastic skin.
- Muscle Cramps: Dehydration can also lead to muscle cramps, mainly in the legs and abdomen area. These cramps can be unexpected or intense.
- Increased heartbeat: In severe cases of dehydration, your heart rate can increase as your body tries to recover from the insufficient levels of fluid.
- Hesitation and touchiness:- Severe dehydration can also affect your mental health causing shivering of the body. In addition, some individuals may experience hesitation or irritability. These issues affect the functioning of the brain and the individual faces issues in concentrating. Besides, it may also cause mood swings.
Can Dehydration Cause Your Feet To Swell?
Although, dehydration is not directly linked to foot swelling. Foot swelling, which has a scientific name of edema, generally occurs due to factors such as poor circulation, fluid retention, some medical conditions, or longer periods of standing or sitting.
Whereas dehydration is a condition in which the body suffers with a loss of body fluids, mainly water.
Minor dehydration generally does not make your feet swollen. However, it is significant to note that severe dehydration can cause an imbalance of electrolytes in the body. This can affect the overall fluid balance of the body. This may affect the blood circulation of the body leading to swelling.
In addition, there are some medical conditions that can contribute to both dehydration and foot swelling, such as kidney disease or heart failure.
How To Get Rid Of Swollen Feet Caused Due To Dehydration?
In case you are having swollen feet because of dehydration, it is significant to get rid of both the dehydration and the swelling.
Below mentioned are some steps with the assistance of which you can get rid of dehydration:-
- Rehydration: Firstly, you should drink plenty of fluids, especially water. This will provide assistance in the replenishment of the fluid levels in your body. It is suggested to avoid or reduce the consumption of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages as they may be one of the reasons for augmenting dehydration.
- Elevate your feet: Elevating your feet above heart level can provide assistance in reducing its swelling. You may lie down and prop up your feet on a cushion or pillow. This enhances the flow of blood in your feet which will ultimately help in getting rid of swollen feet.
- Cool compresses: Another remedy for swollen feet is applying cold compresses or ice packs to the swollen areas as it works in an effective manner in reducing inflammation and providing temporary relief. For this, you can wrap ice or a cold pack in a thin cloth and place it on your feet for about 10-15 minutes. You may do this 2-3 times a day to get results rapidly.
- Gentle exercise: Exercise is one of the main remedies for a lot of problems related to the human body. Performing gentle exercises, such as walking or ankle rotations, can provide assistance in the enhancement of circulation and reduction of swelling. Besides, you can also engage in exercises which have been made specially for the feet such as moving your feet and ankles. It pumps fluid back up towards the heart.
- Avoid prolonged sitting or standing: It is highly recommended to not to sit or stand for extended periods, as it can worsen the swelling. You should take regular breaks to walk around or stretch your legs.
- Compression socks: you can wear compression socks or stockings as they can assist to alleviate swelling by applying gentle pressure and supporting proper circulation in the legs and feet. For this, you may get in touch with a healthcare professional to get to know about the appropriate compression level and fit for your needs.
- Balanced diet: It is significant to have a balanced diet that consists of foods rich in electrolytes, such as potassium and magnesium. These minerals act as the main elements in maintaining fluid balance in the body. Foods like bananas, spinach, avocados, and nuts are good sources of electrolytes.
- Seek medical attention if needed: If the swelling doesn’t go away, you should consult a professional as they can evaluate the underlying cause and you can get the right treatment, and rule out any potential complications.
General Reasons For Swollen Feet
Swollen feet which are also known as edema, can occur due to numerous reasons some of which are as follows:-
- Prolonged Standing or Sitting: if you stay in the same position for extended periods, such as standing or sitting, it can result in the accumulation of fluids in the feet and ankles, leading to swelling.
- Pregnancy: during pregnancy, hormonal changes and elevated blood volume can add to the retention of fluids. This can also be a reason for swollen feet.
- Hot Weather: High level of temperatures can dilate the blood vessels and lead to fluid leakage into the surrounding tissues, which can ultimately lead to swelling.
- Injury or Trauma: Sprains, fractures, or other injuries to the foot or ankle can also make your feet swollen.
- Venous Insufficiency: There are some specific conditions that impair the functioning of veins in the legs, such as venous insufficiency or varicose veins. These conditions may affect blood flow in an adverse manner, resulting in fluid accumulation and swelling.
- Lymphatic Issues: Blockage or dysfunction in the lymphatic system can lead to the accumulation of fluids, causing swelling. This condition is scientifically known as lymphedema.
- Medications: Some medications, such as calcium channel blockers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and corticosteroids, can lead to fluid retention and add to foot swelling.
- Chronic Conditions: Certain medical situations, such as heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and certain autoimmune disorders, can lead to fluid retention and swelling in the feet and even other parts of the body.
- Infections: Infections in the foot or leg, such as cellulitis, can also lead to swelling in the affected area.
- Reduced blood flow: poor blood circulation to the lower extremities, which is quite common in conditions like peripheral artery disease (PAD) or diabetes, can also add to fluid accumulation and swelling.
Should I worry about my swollen feet?
Yes, it is a serious situation. You should treat it properly as it can become more serious if not treated.
What is the connection between dehydration and swollen feet?
Dehydration can affect blood vessels. Due to dehydration, the blood vessels can contract which will reduce the blood flow and this mainly happens in the feet causing it to swell.
So, this was all about dehydration, its symptoms, reasons and remedies. In addition, dehydration can also cause swelling in feet but it is not the main cause for it. Thus, in case of swelling in feet, it is recommended to follow the home remedies mentioned above and in case your condition is severe, you should consult a professional.
Matthew Allen is a San Francisco-based blogger and writer with over 5 years of experience in the tech, productivity, and personal development space. His blog, Myreks.com, has over 1000 monthly visitors. He is also the author of the book “The Fit Tech”, which has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes.