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Obesity and Weight Management

Water weight

07/09/2007

Question:

Dear Doctor, My husband was put into the Hospital for excess water weight in the stomach and legs, he was also anemic, so he has been in the hospital for 2 weeks and has received 6 pints of blood for his anemia to bring his count up , but it hasnt come up from 9. He also has alot of water weight and is getting bigger. When he went into the hospital he weighed242, two weeks later he is up to 265, still in the hospital on a 1800 calorie diet. He has diabeties, high blood pressure, collesteral,has had 2 heart bypass operations,both corrotted arteries done,gall bladder removed,doctors have done all kinds of tests and cant figure out what is wrong. They are running out of veins to take blood out of and I am so worried. He is 67.

Answer:

Your husband's case is too complex to provide a simple answer. The causes of anemia fall into 3 categories:

One, the bone marrow that makes the red cells isn't making enough;

Two, the bone marrow is making plenty, but the red blood cells are being destroyed as they circulate in the blood vessels; or

Three, the red blood cells are being lost from the blood vessels through leaking into the belly or other tissues or lost as bleeding.

So the doctors will look for causes in each of the 3 possible categories.

Your husband also is holding water, so-called "edema". There are many causes for edema, starting with heart and blood flow problems but also including several diseases of the liver, intestines and kidney, as well. With a medical history as complicated as your husband's, it is common for one new medical issue to set off a chain reaction, causing several problems to occur at once. It sounds as if your husband had that happen to him. Once the doctors can figure out the main problems causing the trouble, they usually can work their way through and correct the other problems.

Good luck to you and your husband in this difficult time.

For more information:

Go to the Obesity and Weight Management health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Robert D Murray, MD Robert D Murray, MD
Clinical Professor of Health Behaviors & Health Promotion
Retired Professor of Human Nutrition
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University