A businessman (60) from Edenvale has been living like a recluse for the last six months, after gaining 200kg within just a few months.
Corrie le Grange suffers from ascites. He says he had to look up his condition on the internet because the hospitals he approached all turned him away.
Le Grange said on Tuesday that although he has the cash to pay for treatment at a private hospital he is being turned away because he doesn’t belong to a medical fund.
“I just want to know what’s wrong with me. My condition is deteriorating every day. I hardly eat a thing. The pressure of the fluid is so bad that the skin on my legs and feet is bursting. The fluid then runs out of the burst skin. I haven’t been in my kitchen for six months.”
Le Grange said he approached four private hospitals in Johannesburg for help, but all four turned him away.
“I have the money to pay for treatment, but no one wants to help me. I am now waiting for a state hospital to let me know if they have a bed available.
“I live in fear because I don’t know what’s wrong. I’m drowning in my own fluid.”
Image: Cornél van Heerden, Netwerk24
Your body and water:
Water is essential for the body. It is the medium in which all metabolic processes take place and chemicals are transported. The blood supplies all tissues with water and transports all waste products to the elimination organs, i.e. the liver, kidneys, lungs and skin.
The body’s water balance (intake and excretion) is maintained within narrow boundaries. Under normal circumstances a healthy person needs 1,5 litres (8 glasses) of water per day over and above the water contained in food.
Unless your kidneys are capable of excreting at least 0,5 litres of water per day, you cannot get rid of all your waste products.
Five to ten kilograms of water can be retained in the body before it becomes obvious. Extra moisture in the body is usually taken into the bloodstream and excreted by the kidneys. Oedema (moisture retention; dropsy) may therefore indicate heart or kidney failure.
Serious heart or liver disease and cancer can cause ascites (stomach enlarged by water). Some medications may interfere with the production of ADH (antidiuretic hormone) by the adrenals, thereby causing oedema – like for example birth control pills with high oestrogen content.
Although oedema isn’t painful it needs to be treated because it is a sign of underlying disease and may cause problems like shortness of breath. The treatment is directed at the cause.
Diuretics (dehydrating agents) can help to get rid of excess water. If it cannot be treated in any other way, ascites can be drained with a thick, hollow needle. Limiting sodium (intake of table salt, baking powder etc.) has a positive effect on most kinds of oedema with the exception of the allergic and familial.
- Dr Jan van Elfen, Beeld (1994)