I am a 23 year old male, and I have had idiopathic hypoalbuminia for about seven years. My albumin serum level is 2-3, my iron is high, my cholesterol levels are VERY high, I have 2+ pitting edema in the legs (asymmetrical, worse in left leg) and I am generally fatigued. Tests of all my organs have come out normal, except that my spleen is slightly enlarged.
I was a vegetarian until the age of 15, when I started eating all sorts of meat. About a year later I developed this problem (or it began to show itself through pitting edema in my legs-- I have no record of my protein levels before the edema set in). Since then I have noticed that my symptoms worsen due to the following factors: sleep, salt and exercise. The latter two have an obvious effect on edema (increased salt worsens it, increased exercise improves it), but the sleep factor is curious. Too little or too much sleep can drastically worsen my water retention.
I am not overweight (5'11'', 162 pounds) and I exercise regularly (biking and waling 30+ minutes a day).
Now, after seven years of having this problem, I am very annoyed. I cannot help but feel self-concious (people have a tendency to express morbid fascination when they see my "kankles"), and I do not wear shorts due to my poor body image. Only recently have I become more open with my problem, but openness, unfortunately, is not a cure for the problem itself. Also, anyone who's had edema knows of the constant discomfort associated with the condition.
I was informed by a leading gastro-enterologist from one of the top medical universities of the US that my condition is idiopathic, but I am not content. I want to solve my problem and wear shorts in the sun, not to mention enjoy having a healthy body before middle and old age hits me with its plethora of possible conditions and diseases. So does anyone have an idea? What could I possibly have?
i was wondering if you are still around, i have had a LOT of trouble with lower leg swelling, my doctor told me from the start it was due to drinking far too much water and not getting enough protein.
it took many many months of cutting back on fluids (i was drinking a lot of water for a long time, up to 10 litres a day and essentially buggered my kidneys up badly), which was very hard as i was always very thirsty. ie a normal day for me of, eg 3 x 600ml diet drinks, approx 4 litres of water, 5 cups of green tea, the 2 or 3 cups of decaf coffee, watever it was - had to go.
in about 5 months of including protein in my diet in the form of protein shakes (i don't eat meat so its hard in that sense too) and cutting back on liquids drastically, my problem has basically disappeared.
on days when i would go without drinking fluids at all (when i was scared of the swelling), my legs would not swell at all. any liquids i did drink would simply pool in my calves, hence the swelling. come night time when i was laying down, i would go to the toilet many many times - and wee it all out.
my problem sounds similar in the protein deficiency sense, hope this has helped...
I have low protein too but it's more about low stomach acid as a cause, I take HCL for it. But it's remaining reasonably low I think still. I definetly don't drink enough liquids though. But my meat is no-beef, so my protein intake may be slightly lower than it can be.