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Kidney Diseases

Unexplained weight gain



I`m asking this for my sister. Over the past year or so she had gained a lot of weight. She says she close to gaining over 80 pounds. She a vegatarain, eats low fat or no fat foods. She does exercise on a bike, but she runs out of breath very easily now. They have run tests, but no answers. She looks swollen, not fat. Her fingers and ankles look very swollen. She`s very concerned. So are her doctors. Do you have any help to offer? She`s 41.


It seems your sister has gained significant weight over short period of time in spite of dietary modification and exercise. Usually weight gain over short period is due to fluid gain. There are number of causes for fluid retention. Some of them are due to kidney disease, or heart problems or clots or endocrine problems, to name a few. Spilling of protein in urine or heart failure can cause fluid retention. You should have your sister consult with her doctor for urine exam, blood tests for kidney disease, and if needed, tests for heart. I hope this answers your questions.

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Response by:

Ganesh  Shidham, MD Ganesh Shidham, MD
Associate Professor of Nephrology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University