Edema is swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in your body's tissues. Although edema can affect any part of your body, it's most commonly noticed in your hands, arms, feet, ankles and legs.
Edema can be the result of medication, pregnancy or an underlying disease — often heart failure, kidney disease or cirrhosis of the liver.
Taking medication to remove excess fluid and reducing the amount of salt in your food usually relieves edema. When edema is a sign of an underlying disease, the disease itself requires separate treatment.
Signs and symptoms of edema include:
When to see a doctor
Edema in ankle
Swelling of the foot, ankle and leg can be severe enough to leave an indentation, or "pit," when you press on the area. This swelling (edema) is the result of excessive fluid in your ...
Edema occurs when tiny blood vessels in your body (capillaries) leak fluid and the fluid builds up in surrounding tissues, leading to swelling.
Mild cases of edema may result from:
Edema can be a side effect of some medications, including:
In some cases, however, edema may be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition. Diseases and conditions that may cause edema include:
Due to the fluid needed by the fetus and placenta, a pregnant woman's body retains more sodium and water than usual, increasing the risk of edema.
Your risk of edema may be increased if you take certain medications, including:
If left untreated, edema can cause:
Preparing for your appointment
Unless you're already under a specialist's care for a current medical condition, you'll probably start by seeing your family doctor or regular health care provider to begin evaluation for what could be causing your symptoms.
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
For edema, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
What to expect from your doctor
Questions your doctor might ask include:
Tests and diagnosis
To understand what might be causing your edema, your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask you questions about your medical history. This information is often enough to determine the underlying cause of your edema. In some cases, X-rays, ultrasound exams, blood tests or urine analysis may be necessary.
Treatments and drugs
Mild edema usually goes away on its own, particularly if you help things along by raising the affected limb higher than your heart. More severe edema may be treated with drugs that help your body expel excess fluid in the form of urine. One of the most common diuretics is furosemide (Lasix). Long-term management typically focuses on treating the underlying cause of the swelling.
Lifestyle and home remedies
The following may help decrease edema and keep it from coming back. Before trying these self-care techniques, talk to your doctor about which ones are right for you.
Prescription support stockings are often used to treat swollen legs resulting from such causes as varicose veins. A stocking butler may help in putting on the stockings. ...
Last Updated: 2011-10-13
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