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Edema is the medical term for swelling, which occurs when fluids gets trapped in the tissues of the body. When the body received an injury or becomes inflamed, the bodys natural reaction is to retain fluid in certain areas. It can occur anywhere in the body, but is more common in the feet, legs, hands and arms. There are different types of Edema based on the location of the body such as ankle, leg, foot and facial. It is often associated with another medical condition such as pregnancy, or a more serious complication like kidney disease.

Causes and Risk Factors of Edema

You get Edema when the blood vessels in your body, called capillaries, leak fluid to other tissues and it builds up. This can lead to the swelling of that extremity. Some common causes of include pregnancy, premenstrual signs and symptoms, an allergic reaction, obstruction of blood flow, low albumin levels, eating a large amount of salty food and sitting or standing in one position for a long period of time without moving.

Edema can also be caused by certain medications such as calcium channel blockers, estrogen medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, drugs that open blood vessels or medications for diabetes. The Edema might also be from another medication condition such as cirrhosis, congestive heart failure, kidney disease or kidney damage, problems with your lymphatic system or damages veins in your leg, also called chronic venous insufficiency. Edema can cause certain complications if you dont get medical attention, including painful swelling, trouble walking, stiffness in your joints, itchy and stretched skin, scarring, poor blood circulation and an increased risk of infection.

Signs, Symptoms and Tests of Edema

There are a variety of signs and symptoms associated with Edema, aside from the swelling. Other signs include visible puffiness underneath the skin, shiny skin, stretched skin, increased abdomen size, and dimpled skin that lasts several seconds after pressing on it. Certain body parts might show different symptoms. A very small area that has might not show any symptoms while others, such as the ankle, are more obvious and often painful. A common symptom of the foot or leg is that it becomes more difficult to walk because of the swelling and discomfort. If you are showing signs of Edema, you should call your doctor and get tests done to determine the underlying cause and begin getting the proper treatment. If you have shortness of breath or chest pain, get emergency medical attention right away. Diagnosing is usually done with a physical examination, following by a urine analysis, blood tests and x-rays of the swelling and tissues.

Treatment, Drugs and Prevention of Edema

If you experience any swelling in the body, consult a doctor immediately. While most cases lead to Edema; others could be more serious such as a blood clot. Cases of Edema range from mild to severe, and the more mild cases of swelling dont usually need any sort of treatment. Even if you suspect you have mild, you should still see a doctor and get tests performed because underlying causes or medical conditions might be involved. However, many cases of Edema go away without treatment. If you can raise the swollen limb above your heart, the swelling may go down.

For severe cases, medications are available as well as treating other causes of the ailment. Some home treatments for Edema include having the body part elevated, getting massage, wearing compression stockings if the swelling is on your leg, foot or ankle and reducing your salt intake to help prevent the condition. Regardless of how much swelling youre experiencing, get medical attention and ask for the right course of treatment if you suspect you have Edema