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Edema means swelling caused by fluid in your body's tissues. It usually occurs in the feet, ankles and legs, but it can involve your entire body.

Causes of edema include

To keep swelling down, your health care provider may recommend keeping your legs raised when sitting, wearing support stockings, limiting how much salt you eat, or taking a medicine called a diuretic - also called a water pill.

Symptoms of Edema

The following features are indicative of Edema:
  • swelling or puffiness of the tissue
  • stretched or shiny skin
  • skin that retains a dimple after being pressed
  • increased abdominal size
It is possible that Edema shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Edema

The following are the most common causes of Edema:
  • sitting or staying in one position for too long
  • eating too much salty food
  • premenstrual signs and symptoms
  • pregnancy

Other Causes of Edema

The following are the less common causes of Edema:
  • congestive heart failure
  • kidney diseases
  • weakness or damage to veins in the legs
  • inadequate working of lymphatic system

Risk Factors for Edema

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Edema:
  • during pregnancy
  • use high blood pressure medications
  • use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • steroid drugs use
  • certain diabetes medications use
  • heart failure
  • liver disease
  • kidney disease

Prevention of Edema

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Edema. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • control blood pressure
  • eat more fiber, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables
  • exercise regularly
  • quit smoking
  • drink alcohol in moderation
  • limit salt intake
  • manage stress

Occurrence of Edema

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Edema cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Edema most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 20-50 years

Common Gender

Edema can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Edema

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Edema:
  • Physical exam: To determine the underlying cause of the edema
  • Blood electrolyte levels: To determine an overall picture of the body's chemical balance and metabolism
  • Echocardiography: To create pictures of the heart
  • ECG: To record the electrical activity of the heart
  • Kidney function tests: To evaluate how well the kidneys are working
  • Liver function tests: To evaluate how well the liver is working
  • Urinalysis: To detect and measure the compounds that pass through the urine
  • X-rays: To see the air and fluid containing areas

Doctor for Diagnosis of Edema

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Edema:
  • Cardiologist
  • Nephrologist

Complications of Edema if untreated

Yes, Edema causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Edema is left untreated:
  • increases painful swelling
  • difficulty in walking
  • stiffness
  • stretched skin
  • increased risk of infection in the swollen area
  • scarring between layers of tissue
  • decreased blood circulation
  • decreased elasticity of arteries, veins, joints and muscles
  • increased risk of skin ulcers

Self-care for Edema

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Edema:
  • Exercise regularly: Helps in pumping the excess fluid back to heart
  • Elevate affected body part: Helps in treating the condition
  • Reduce salt intake: Helps preventing edema from worsening

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Edema

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Edema:
  • Massage therapy: Helps in moving the excess fluid out of the affected area

Time for Treatment of Edema

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Edema to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Edema.

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