Published Apr 13, 2011
Could someone please explain edema caused by protein malabsorption? I'm so confused!
What does protein do in the vascular space?
Plasma protein is what causes the fluid to be pulled back into the capillary's from the tissue spaces. This is also called the capillary colloidal osmotic pressure or the pressure needed to pull back the fluid back into the vascular space. So plasma proteins act as regulators in keeping the capillary pressure in harmony.
When there is a decrease in plasma proteins, this pressure is decreased and fluid starts to build up in the tissue spaces. Plasma proteins are derived from the liver. The liver cannot synthesize these plasma proteins without certain amino acids which can only be achieved by dietary intake. With malabsorbtion, there is insufficient intake of these amino acids and it results in Edema.
Hope that helps
Think of proteins as tiny sponges that attract water from outside the blood vessels. If there are less of them (hypoproteinemia) then the extra-vascular water has no reason to move into the blood stream and it builds up causing edema.
Job well done guys, but don't you think we should be helping this individual critically think first before we just give them the answer?
ckh23, BSN, RN
I agree. I think there has been way too much of this going on lately. I wish I had found allnurses in nursing school so people could do my homework. There is a difference between helping and just giving the answer away.
JROregon, ASN, BSN, RN
Wasn't this covered in A&P?
Thank you for your help.
Yes it was covered in A & P but sometimes it is better to understand when put in "layman's" terms.
So thank you! I think I've got it but will do some further research now I have a better idea of the general concept
an2on, BSN, RN
Edema means fluid OUTSIDE of the vascular space which means fluid is in the tissues and not the blood vessels where it should be. Protein keeps fluid in vascular space like a sponge. So when you see a malnutrition person who looks fat, they actually lack protein to keep the fluid in their blood stream.
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