Edema is swelling caused by an excessive fluid trapped in the body’s tissues. This condition typically affects your legs, feet, or ankles. However, it can also happen in your palms, face, or any other part of your body. The position of Edema provides the first hints to the root cause of the fluid accumulation to the doctor.
Edema can be caused by medication, pregnancy, or an underlying cause, most commonly heart problems, kidney problems, or liver problems. This article will teach you about the causes, types, and proper treatment of Edema.
What are the causes of Edema?
Fluid balance and regulation in the body are very complex. In conclusion, Edema occurs when tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in the body leak fluid into the surrounding tissue. The tissues swell as a result of the excess fluid.
Fluid leaking into surrounding tissues can be caused by a variety of mechanisms, including:
- An excessive force or pressure within the blood vessels.
- The fluid is drawn through the blood vessel by force outside of it.
- The blood vessel wall is weakened and cannot maintain equilibrium, resulting in fluid loss.
Any of these three mechanisms could be linked to a wide range of diseases or ailments.
Edema can be of many different types and causes, and it is frequently a symptom of another condition. Edema can be caused by many diseases and conditions, including:
Congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure occurs when one or both of your heart’s lower chambers lose their ability to effectively pump blood. As an outcome, blood can pool in your ankles, feet, and legs, inducing Edema. Inflammation in your abdomen can also be induced by congestive heart failure. This condition can occasionally cause fluid to accumulate in your lungs (pulmonary Edema), resulting in breathing difficulties.
A person with a kidney disorder may be unable to remove enough fluid and sodium from the blood. It puts pressure on the blood vessels, allowing some liquid to escape. Swelling around the legs and eyes is possible.
Nephrotic syndrome is capillaries in the kidneys that filter waste and excess fluids from the blood. It can be caused by damage to the glomeruli. A low level of the protein albumin in the blood is one symptom of this. It can cause Edema.
A variety of dietary factors can also influence the risk of Edema, including:
- malnutrition, in which Edema can occur as a result of low protein levels in the blood
- a deficiency in vitamins B1, B6, and B5
- excessive salt consumption (in individuals who are predisposed to developing Edema)
- excessive salt consumption (in individuals who are predisposed to developing Edema)
Diabetes complications include the following:
- acute liver failure
- coronary heart disease
- acute renal failure
Protein-losing enteropathy is a condition that causes protein loss in the intestine.
These complications, and also other diabetes medications, can cause Edema.
Diabetes causes retinal swelling, which is known as diabetic Macular Edema.
Conditions that affect the brain
The following are among the causes of brain swelling:
A bump on the head may cause a build-up of fluids in the brain.
A brain tumor will collect water around itself, particularly as new blood vessels form.
Brain swelling can happen as a consequence of a major stroke.
A few foods and insect bites can cause facial or skin Edema in people who are allergic or sensitive to them. Anaphylaxis can be associated with severe swelling.
Swelling in the throat can block a person’s airway, making it impossible for them to breathe. It is a medical emergency that necessitates attention immediately.
All through pregnancy, the body produces hormones that promote fluid retention and cause the body to retain more sodium and water than normal. The face, hands, and legs can swell.
The enlarged uterus can press on a vein known as the inferior vena cava when a person is resting in a reclined position during pregnancy. It can clog the femoral veins, resulting in Edema.
Types of Edema
It is most common in the legs, feet, and ankles, but it can also occur in the arms. It could indicate issues with your circulatory system, lymph nodes, or kidneys.
It happens when too much fluid accumulates in the lungs, making breathing hard. It can happen as a result of congestive heart failure or an acute lung injury. It is a serious condition that can cause respiratory failure and death if not treated promptly.
The most common cause of swelling in the arms and legs is damage to your lymph nodes, which are tissues that help filter bacteria and waste from your body. The damage could have been caused by cancer treatments like surgery and radiation. Cancer can also cause lymph node blockage and fluid build-up.
It is a severe condition in which fluid accumulates in the brain. It can happen if you take a hard hit to the head if a blood vessel becomes blocked or bursts, or if you have a tumor or an allergic reaction.
It happens when fluid builds up in the macula, which is in the center of the retina. It occurs when blood vessels in the retina that are damaged leak fluid into the area.
How to treat Edema properly?
Your doctor must determine the cause of your Edema so that it can be properly treated. Reduce your salt intake and keep your legs up when sitting to help with temporary Edema.
As you know the treatment is determined by the underlying cause of the Edema. The general principle of treatment is to overturn the forces that are not functioning perfectly:
- Increase the forces that keep fluid within blood vessels.
- Decrease the forces that cause blood vessels to leak fluid.
- Determine the source of the leaking blood vessel walls.
In a patient with a nutritional deficiency, for instance, increasing the blood protein (albumin) level can help retain fluid in the blood vessels.
Recovering traumatized tissues aids in the prevention of blood vessel fluid leakage.
The main objective of Edema treatment is to remove the excess fluid that has accumulated in the body’s surrounding tissues. A diuretic is the most commonly used treatment. Diuretics cause the kidneys to excrete excess fluid from the body, lowering the overall fluid volume in the body. Diuretics must be used with cautiousness because dehydration is a possible side effect. There are numerous types of diuretics, each with a unique mechanism of action and potency. You can get these diuretics from any pharmacy online.
Treatment is determined by the cause of the Edema, and follow-up could be very easy. It may necessitate the involvement of cardiologists, nephrologists, or other subspecialists. It is essential to keep the primary doctor informed of any treatment.
Home remedies and way of life
The following treatments may help reduce Edema and prevent it from returning. Before attempting any of these self-care techniques, consult with your doctor to determine which ones are appropriate for you.
To help move the excess fluids out, massage the affected area toward your heart with firm but not intense pressure.
If one of your limbs is affected by Edema, your doctor may advise you to wear compression stockings, sleeves, or gloves, which are usually worn after the swelling has subsided, to prevent further swelling. These garments apply pressure to your limbs to keep fluid from accumulating in the tissue.
Maintain a clean, moist, and injury-free affected area. Scrapes, cuts, and infections are more likely on dry, cracked skin. Wear protection on your feet at all times if that’s where the swelling usually occurs.
Reduce your salt intake
Follow your doctor’s advice about limiting your salt intake. Salt can cause fluid retention and exacerbate Edema.
Moving and then using the muscles in the affected area of your body, particularly your legs, may assist pump the fluid buildup back toward your heart. Inquire with your doctor about activities that can help reduce swelling.
Several times a day, raise the swollen part of your body above the level of your heart. Trying to elevate the affected body part while sleeping may be beneficial in some cases.
Untreated Edema can result in:
- stiffness and walking difficulty
- itchy, stretched skin
- ulcerations on the skin
- infection in the swelling area
- painful swelling with worsening pain
- scarring between tissue layers
- insufficient blood circulation
- arteries, veins, and joints lose elasticity
Any underlying medical condition requires medical attention to prevent it from worsening.
What you could do
- Make yourself aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you set up an appointment, ask your doctor whether there is anything you can do ahead of schedule to make preparations for tests.
- Make a list of any symptoms you’re having, even if they don’t seem to be related to the reason you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of your important medical information. Along with any other conditions for which you are being treated. List the names of any medication, vitamins, or supplements you are taking.
- Consider the questions you’d like to ask your doctor and write them down. Bring notebook paper and a pen with you to take notes details as your doctor answers your questions.