Why/what is he leaking?
January 5, 2009 12:39 AM   Subscribe

Why are my grandfather's legs leaking?

I know YANMD/YANAD. He's in hospital. He's being looked after, but the only explanation I can get from nurses is "he's old" and "it's a fluid build up"...

My grandfather has pancreatic cancer. He's been in hospital for a fortnight after a (possibly) unrelated fall.

His feet and legs have swollen a lot, and they've started leaking. It looks like he's sweating profusely, but it's obviously not sweat. What's happening?

He's being looked after, so I'm not after any diagnosis or great advice, I've just never heard of this before and the nursing staff either don't know what's happening or can't spare the time to explain it to me in more detail. Is this a normal part of having fluid build up in one's limbs, or is this something weird that they're dealing with?
posted by twine42 to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
Best answer: It is likely edema, accumulation of water and other fluids beneath the skin. Common in the lower extremities because of gravity.
posted by netbros at 12:52 AM on January 5, 2009

Best answer: That happened to my grandpa too when he was sick with cancer - called "weeping" edema.
posted by dreamyshade at 12:54 AM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Edema so bad that it "weeps," especially in your grandfather's position, is probably more due to his diseases than dependent edema, caused by gravity. A lot of hydrostatic edema (not due to gravity) is due to heart failure, kidney failure, or low protein levels in the blood, from cancer or malnutrition.
posted by gramcracker at 1:48 AM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Cheers guys.
posted by twine42 at 1:58 AM on January 5, 2009

Best answer: A friend of mine has this happen - badly enough at times that fluid literally drips from him. You can find some good info here or Google "lymphoedema" for more.
posted by ninazer0 at 2:01 AM on January 5, 2009

I have a close family member who experienced this. It got worse/severe so he needed to use compression bandage therapy, and compression socks, which helped the fluid not 'pool' in the lower limbs. However, as gramcracker points out, since this may not be gravity-related, such therpies might not be applicable in this situation.
posted by NikitaNikita at 11:16 AM on January 5, 2009

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