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The Hunger Project Bolen Report
Ohm Society
Dependent Edema Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Swelling below the knees is called "dependent edema" which means water in the body is collecting at the lowest point - usually due to gravity - it is being pulled to that location. If such a person were bedridden, for example, the fluid would collect on the side of the body usually in contact with the bed, the most "dependent" part. What this means is that fluid is not staying inside cells but is going to the space between cells. It has a differential diagnosis (meaning it could be any of these) as follows (in the order of frequency): (1) calorie overload (overeating), especially of carbohydrates such as sweets, bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, (2) kidney disease, (3) heart disease, (4) venous insufficiency. In the case of venous insufficiency the effect is not due to "dependency" but rather to the fact the venous system has lost its tone and veins have enlarged in size thus rendering part of the one way valve system unable to prevent flow of blood backward. Therefore fluid escapes from the capillary system into the space between the cells due to backward pressure.

Each of these conditions has proper treatment, but first you need proper diagnosis, then you must be in the hands of a doctor experienced in that type of problem. In the case of kidney disease, you best see an internal medicine doctor, in the case of heart disease a cardiologist for diagnosis, but usually a nutritional medicine doctor for actual treatment, in the case of calorie overload a doc who practices nutritional medicine, and in the case of a venous problem, a sclerotherapist.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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