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Swelling (Puffiness) and Chronic Kidney Disease

Swelling (Puffiness) and Chronic Kidney DiseaseSwelling, also known as edema or puffiness, which is when fluid collects in the body and causes swelling. Swelling is one of the most common problems associated with chronic kidney disease.

What is Swelling (Puffiness)?

Swellings occurs when tiny blood vessels in your body leak fluid and the fluid builds up in surrounding tissues, which causes puffiness.

How Are Swelling and Chronic Kidney Disease Connected?

Swellings is caused by small blood vessles in the body leaking fluid. The kidney’s reponse to this occurence is to retain water and sodium. When this happens the small blood vessels get a order from the brain. The order is that there extra water exsits in the body and “you”--blood vessels--release more. As a result, the fluids will deposits in the body tissues, which causes puffiness.

If you happen to be person with CKD, the swelling may affected many common body areas, such as face, legs, eyes, chest, arms, ankles etc.

In detail, swellings happens in CKD mainly through 2 ways as follows.

Kidney Impairment

Kidneys are important organs to remove the excessive water from the blood. When the kidneys are damged, the extra fluids will retain in the tissues, causing swellings in legs, faces, ankles etc. The impariment of the kidney’s function can be caused by many things, such genetic kidney disease, blockage, Kidney Cysts etc.

Protein in Urine

Kidneys filter the blood throughout the body. In normal conditions, kidneys filter out the unnecessary substances, such as waste products and excessive water and keep the useful materials stay in the blood.

However, when kidneys are diseased, the useful materials, such as protein, will be leaked out. This causes protein in urine. Protein has the natural ability to “lock” the fluids in the blood. Protein loss will cause fluids removing into tissues from blood, causing swellings.

How Does Swellings Affect CKD Patient’s Life?

Swelling can affect the legs and interfere with walking. The skin that is over the swollen tissues can also become itchy and painful. The limbs that swell due to edema can become stiff and uncomfortable.

If swellings cannot be controlled well, certain medical problem may come into light. Swelling may cause decreased blood circulation and make the blood vessels lose the elasticity and flexibility. Also, your joints or even muscle will be involved and they may becom stiff and hard.

In addition, swellings also improve the risk to develop skin ulcers.

Is There Any Suggested Treatment for Swellings in CKD?

Suggested treatment for swellings in CKD should be a multi-step approach. Both medical treatment and healthy living can help alleviate the swellings in CKD.

Chinese Herbal Medicine. Chinese Herbal Medicine is a traditional natural therapy which uses different herbs to help the human maintain a good health condition. Certain herbs help repair the damaged kidney tissues and improve kidney function.

When the impaired kidney functions are reversed, the kidneys’ filteration ability will be improved and the excessive water will be removed.

In addition, some herbs are natural diuretic which helps allevite the swellings naturually. If you have a interest, you can Get Personalized Herbs List from TCM Professor.

Herbal Tea. Besides Chinese Herbal Medicine, there are some herbal tea which shows a great alleviation for CKD patients with swellings. Take green tea as an example: green tea has been used as a diuretic in China for centuries which is very safe. It is also benefitial for high cholesterol, and infections. If you have interest in the herbal tea, you can email to for more information about this natural management for swellings caused by kidney damage.

Compression Stockings. Compression stockings are worn to prevent excess fluids from gathering in the body's limbs.

Diet Changes. Diet plays an important role in management of both swellings and kidney disease. Patients are suggested to:

- Limit sodium intake. Your doctor will recommend you to avoid prepacked highly salted foods, such as chips, instant pastas, canned vegetables, fast food etc. If you want to get the avoided food list, you can email

- Eat foods that are high in antioxidants and flavonoids to improve circulation: blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, cherries, squash and capsicums.

- Eat foods which have the natural ability similar as a diuretic, such as onion, pineapple, leafy greens, pumpkin etc.

- avoid alcohol, caffeine, tobacco etc.

- avoid refined foods, such as pastas, white bread, sugar, biscuits etc.

Healthy Living. It is benefitial to alleviate the swellings in CKD patients that patients take a regular mild exercise, such as walking, jogging etc. Another method for reducing edema is to elevate the affected limbs above the heart several times a day for 30 minutes each time.

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