Question: How is a volume status assessed?
Answer: The assessment of volume status is done as a partnership between the doctor and the patient.
One of the most important things that the patient can do is weigh themselves everyday at the same time everyday, and actually record that in a written form. Because as you retain salt and water, your weight will go up, so that if your weight goes up two or three pounds a day, three or four days in a row, that really can only occur because of a retention of water or an increasing volume status.
When you come to see your physician, the physician will also do an assessment of volume status through a physical examination. So if you have swelling in your ankles, that would be a sign of increased volume status. If you have sounds in your lungs that suggest that there's increased fluid in your lungs -- the doctor can detect that by listening to the lungs. And the doctor can also look at neck veins -- the veins in your neck will increase their level of pulsation as your volume status is elevated.
So physical exam is very important, but also what you as the patient yourself can do to help the doctor assess the volume status by measuring your weight is very, very important. So it's a partnership between the physician and patient.